Wednesday September 2 2020
Paqueta impressive in Milan friendly

Milan fought back from 2-0 down to beat Novara 4-2 in their first pre-season friendly, with Lucas Paqueta’s brace, Diego Laxalt and Davide Calabria goals.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was in the starting XI of Stefano Pioli’s 4-2-3-1 formation, although clearly there were none of the players currently away on international duty.

It was a game split into three 20-minute periods, as they only just started training.

Serie C side Novara scored two goals in the space of three minutes, at the 10th and 13th, with Marco Bellich first nodding in a deflected corner, then firing in from inside the penalty area.

Ibrahimovic was essential to the equaliser, combining with Paqueta to set up the Brazilian’s right-foot finish into the corner.

Laxalt got the equaliser for 2-2 during the middle 20-minute spell, meeting an intelligent pull-back from the by-line by summer signing Emil Roback.

Paqueta was involved in the third goal as Milan took the lead in the third ‘half’ of the friendly test, as his effort ricocheted off the woodwork and into the path of Davide Calabria for a tap-in.

Roback almost repeated the exact same assist he provided for Laxalt, dribbling past three players to reach the by-line, but this time nobody was ready to meet it.

The 17-year-old Swede also put the ball in the net on an Ismael Bennacer pass, but only after he was flagged offside.

Nonetheless, Milan’s influence was growing and Paqueta completed his brace with an impressive first-time finish on Laxalt’s cross.

Milan 4-2 Novara

Bellich 10, 13 (N), Paqueta 25, 57 (M), Laxalt 31 (M), Calabria 47 (M)

Milan: A Donnarumma; Kalulu (Bennacer 40), Duarte; Theo; Laxalt; Kessie, Calabria; Halilovic (Bellodi 20), Paqueta, Tonin (Robach 20); Ibrahimovic (Capanni 40)