AC Milan Women were dominating during the first half on the match against Pink Bari, outing a pacey, precise, and inspired performance, especially by newcomer Hasegawa, to score 5 goals and settle the game even before the halftime whistle. Besides the three points that make them even with the table leaders, this victory, and the performance itself, could be a powerful statement that the rossonere have what it takes to beat Juventus next round.
Line-up and the Japanese worldclass
Surprisingly, Ganz fielded an unusual midfield with Bergamaschi as left winger, Rask as regista and Hasegawa, in her league debut, instead of Veró, as left midfielder alongside Grimshaw and this game proved him right. While Rizza, deployed as right winger, and Rask tend to sit back, Grimshaw, Hasegawa and Bergamaschi had room to stay forward, pressing high in the field which was crucial to the rossonere dominance. Add this the element of surprise provided by the support runs from and accurate long passes by Spinelli. Bergamaschi broke the deadlock at minute 7 of the game after a quick exchange of passes in front of the Sassuolo’s área. Soon enough, Hasegawa and Grimshaw took the game by hand. The Scottish, although, struggling a little with lack of pass accuracy again, managed to give two assists, to both Giacinti and Dowie’ goals, at the 21th and 23th minutes respectively. The Japanese, however, rose to the occasion and make the most of it with good passes, runs and, most important, bagging a brace with a venous set-piece at the minute 31 and a beautiful touch that sends ball over Myllyoja at the minute 61.
Conceding from set pieces all over again
Although Milan had a masterpiece performance in the first half, after the halftime break the whole team reduced the pace, allowing Pink Bari to even advance their lines and made Piazza, who replaced Korenciova in a halftime substitution, see more of the ball than her predecessor. Things were going fine with the defenders playing safely and elegantly until the barese got a corner and Helmvall converted it, once again proving that this team must practice defensive positioning on set pieces more. At the 88th minute, after a beauty of long pass by Rask, Giacinti found the back of the net and gave final numbers to the match.
Giving the reserves some playing minutes
With the match decided, Ganz gave some minutes to Piazza, Conc, Kulis and Tamborini, who have not made such impact on the game. Francesca Vitale came on after Spinelli colliding with teammate Piazza and also had no trouble keeping the pugliese at bay.
Juventus on our minds
Milan have now 39 points and sits second in the table, after managing, so far, to win 13 out of 14 league games. This only defeat was against Juventus at the San Siro, and next week they face each other at the Vinovo in a game that has the potential to be a decisive one for the scudetto race whether Milan snatch the win and manage to sit level on 42 points with the biaconere.