Hernández goes solo in type of George Weah to take Milan some extent from title | Collection A

Rafael Leão held his head in his palms, however this was no gesture of despair. The Portuguese ahead had simply watched his Milan teammate, Theo Hernández, rating the objective that might put them inside some extent of claiming the Scudetto, sealing a 2-0 win over Atalanta. He ought to have been celebrating however wanted to cease for a second and attempt to fathom what he had simply seen.

Theo had set off from the left nook of Milan’s penalty space moments earlier than. When the ball ran to him from a sliding problem by Rade Krunic on Jérémie Boga, he claimed it and took off, transferring inside to shed one opponent after which accelerating away from one other as he crossed midway.

Berat Djimsiti got here haring throughout from the precise, however Theo jagged left and triggered the defender to collide with one other teammate, Marten de Roon, on the sting of their 18-yard field. José Luis Palomino, the final defender, backed away, a bedazzled bystander to an unfolding second in soccer historical past. Theo fired again throughout his physique and into the underside proper nook of the online.

It was not, couldn’t be, the deciding objective on this season’s title race, not with Inter nonetheless in touching distance and ready to play away at Cagliari later that night. If Milan do seal the deal, although, this would be the spotlight that will get performed each time their triumph is remembered for many years to come back.

Parallels have been instantly drawn with the enduring “coast to coast” objective scored by George Weah in opposition to Verona in 1996. They scored at reverse ends of the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, however he and Theo had began their runs from close to similar positions, masking as many yards in roughly the identical period of time. Heck, even their names virtually rhyme.

Or maybe evaluating Theo to Weah was not taking issues far sufficient. Milan’s goalkeeper, Mike Maignan, posted an Instagram story afterward insisting that “Not even Messi has carried out this”. hyperbole? Oh, just a bit. And who may motive that to a gaggle who stood on the verge of ending Milan’s 11-year title drought?

They’re 15 video games unbeaten within the league, and this was their fifth consecutive win. They have been speculated to have the harder run-in than Inter, with video games at Lazio and ‘Deadly’ Veronaand residential matches in opposition to Fiorentina then this Atalanta facet – each chasing European qualification of their very own.

This Theo Hernández fella is unreal! 😱

Runs by the whole Atalanta squad and slots dwelling Milan's second.

Is that the objective that seals the title? 🏆 pic.twitter.com/z6MsbhrSsO

— Soccer on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) Might 15, 2022

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This Theo Hernández fella is unreal! 😱

Runs by the whole Atalanta squad and slots dwelling Milan’s second.

Is that the objective that seals the title? 🏆 pic.twitter.com/z6MsbhrSsO

— Soccer on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) Might 15, 2022

This weekend’s opponents may need taken a step again from latest seasons, falling out of the Champions League locations after three straight third-place finishes, however they continue to be harmful opponents for anybody: the fourth-most prolific crew within the league. Milan had not crushed them at dwelling for eight years. Stefano Pioli’s first recreation in opposition to them after taking cost of the Rossoneri in 2019 resulted in a 5-0 defeat.

On Sunday, Milan struggled at first to search out methods by Atalanta’s intentionally congested midfield. As an alternative, within the second half, they bypassed it, Junior Messías lifting a go excessive for Leão, who headed it down and ran by to slide a side-foot end by the legs of Juan Musso for the sport’s opening objective.

Play ought to have been stopped earlier than he ever had an opportunity to shoot. Milan had gained possession with a foul, Pierre Kalulu bringing down Matteo Pessina from behind. A number of gamers appeared to hesitate, anticipating a whistle, however none got here and Fikayo Tomori did effectively to remain alert at that second, spreading the ball out to Messías to start the transfer.

Atalanta discovered their greatest likelihood in between Milan’s two targets, Duván Zapata heading off course after getting in entrance of his man at a nook. He has not been the identical since sustaining the primary of a collection of muscle accidents in December, scoring simply as soon as in his final 12 appearances in contrast with 12 in 19 beforehand.

He’s solely the most recent in a protracted line of strikers, nonetheless, to be thought by a Milan protection that has stored 17 clear sheets on this Collection A season, and 11 because the begin of the calendar 12 months. Pioli’s crew are at the beginning very exhausting to interrupt down.

Among the many many putting statistics of this Serie A season is the truth that the highest scorer for the league leaders – Leão – has simply 11 targets. No person else is in double figures. Milan have discovered totally different heroes in numerous moments, from Theo to Sandro Tonali, Oliver Giroudand Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Inter's Argentine forward Lautaro Martínez scores his side's third goal in the 3-1 win over Cagliari.
Inter’s Argentine ahead Lautaro Martínez scores his facet’s third objective within the 3-1 win over Cagliari. Photographer: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Pictures

The Swede didn’t get on to the pitch on Sunday, however he did crack the entrance window of the crew bus because it arrived earlier than kick-off, thumping too exhausting in acknowledgment of the ocean of ​​followers who waited to greet it at San Siro. Requested whether or not this might have been Ibrahimovic’s final likelihood to play right here, Pioli stated “I hope not”, leaving the door open for one more contract renewal past this summer time.

He couldn’t afford to indulge the Swede, or another participant, on Sunday with a title on the road. Even at full time, Pioli knew the job was not but carried out, telling reporters he had proven his gamers a video of Kobe Bryant by which the five-time NBA champion insisted a playoff collection was not completed regardless of his crew main by two video games to none .

Inter wouldn’t give them a straightforward passage. Later that night, Serie A’s reigning champions gained 3-1 at Cagliari, pushing the title race to the ultimate weekend. Their supervisor, Simone Inzaghi, identified that he gained a Scudetto below related circumstances as a participant in 2000, when Juventus suffered a 1-0 defeat at Perugia that allowed Lazio to leap forward by a single level.

“Sassuolo are a wonderful crew,” he noticed of Milan’s ultimate opponents. “We wish to play out all of our probabilities, in soccer you possibly can by no means quit.”

Cagliari 1-3 Inter, Milan 2-0 Atalanta, Napoli 3-0 Genoa, Bologna 1-3 Sassuolo, Roma 1-1 Venezia, Udinese 2-3 Spezia, Verona 0-1 Torino, Empoli 1-1 Salernitana

Monday Sampdoria v Fiorentina, Juventus v Lazio

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Serie A outcomes

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Cagliari 1-3 Inter, Milan 2-0 Atalanta, Napoli 3-0 Genoa, Bologna 1-3 Sassuolo, Roma 1-1 Venezia, Udinese 2-3 Spezia, Verona 0-1 Torino, Empoli 1-1 Salernitana

Monday Sampdoria v Fiorentina, Juventus v Lazio

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His misfortune is to run into rivals with the identical mindset. “As I set off, I informed myself, ‘I am taking this all the best way to the top’,” stated Theo Hernandez as he sought to clarify his solo strike. “It is a very powerful objective of my life.”

One so good that a few of his personal teammates have been unable to have fun, shedding themselves within the second as an alternative. Leão had his head in his palms on Sunday. Milan maintain the future of the Scudetto in theirs as they head into the ultimate weekend.

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