Krzysztof Piatek finished off a Lucas Paquetá move and Gianluigi Donnarumma performed heroics, as Milan lead Roma at the break.
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There was only one point separating these teams in fifth and fourth respectively going in, but the Giallorossi were in crisis after a 7-1 Coppa Italia quarter-final defeat to Fiorentina midweek. Bryan Cristante and Steven Nzonzi were suspended, with Cengiz Under, Diego Perotti and Juan Jesus injured, so Daniele De Rossi had his first start in three months, Patrik Schick and Alessandro Florenzi stepped into the supporting trident. Gennaro Gattuso’s confidence was high, though, as they beat Napoli 2-0 in the Coppa on Tuesday with new buy Piatek bagging a brace. Cristian Zapata, Pepe Reina, Mattia Caldara, Lucas Biglia and Jack Bonaventura were still on the treatment table.
It was a strong start from the hosts, as Lorenzo Pellegrini’s volley was charged down by Ricardo Rodriguez, then Gianluigi Donnarumma’s gloves were stung by an Edin Dzeko snapshot.
However, Milan’s two January buys combined to create the opening goal. Lucas Paquetá robbed Pellegrini, squirmed away to pull back from the by-line and Krzysztof Piatek got between centre-backs to tap in at the near post. It was his third goal in two starts for the Rossoneri.
Zaniolo controlled the ball with his right boot and smashed the angled drive with his left, but Donnarumma got down so quickly for a crucial one-handed reaction save.
Donnarumma performed an extraordinary double save on the stroke of half-time, first clawing Schick’s header out of the far bottom corner, then rushing off his line to parry the Dzeko follow-up with his legs from point-blank range.
Roma 0-1 Milan (Half-Time)
Piatek 26 (M)
Roma: Olsen; Karsdorp, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; De Rossi, Lorenzo Pellegrini; Schick, Zaniolo, Florenzi; Dzeko
Milan: G Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Paquetá; Suso, Piatek, Calhanoglu
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