Italian Recap: Surprise Dest Start in Milan Stinker

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Sergiño Dest’s surprise start for AC Milan didn’t go as hoped as the Rossoneri were demolished by Lazio, while Weston McKennie and Juventus earned a point against Atalanta in a wild draw over the weekend.

Lazio 3 – 0 AC Milan

AC Milan put up what was by far their worst performance of the season on Tuesday night, suffering a heavy shut-out defeat against fellow Lazio, with Sergiño Dest earning a start in place of injured left back Theo Hernandez.

Perhaps distracted, intimidated, or simply starstruck by the emergence of rumors that none other than Christian Pulisic might be headed to Milan, the Rossoneri lineup did their best impression of a hungover, Sunday-afternoon pub team that forgot about their 11am kickoff before ordering the last five rounds of shots the evening before.

It could be argued that Dest was one of the least stinky turds in head coach Stefano Pioli’s pile on Tuesday, however with starting right back Davide Calabria also appearing to join Hernandez on the physio’s table, the American could be in for a starting role in the defense for the foreseeable future by pure necessity.

In Tuesday’s 90-minute outing, he was, by the numbers, hardly a disaster, completing 77% of his 35 passes, creating one chance on the attack, successfully completing three of four dribble attempts, making ten recoveries and winning six of nine duels. However, debate will largely center on his possible culpability on Lazio’s second goal.

Lazio needed only four minutes to open the scoring, with Mattia Zaccagni charging up the left side and sliding a short pass towards the penalty spot before Calibria or Ismael Bennacer could close the space, for a simple, side-footed shot by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to the lower left corner for the lead.

Milan were dealt a personnel blow in the 24th minute after central defender Fikayo Tomori went down with an apparent muscle injury, and was replaced by Simon Kjaer.

Seven minutes before the half, Lazio’s Pedro turned Dest around with smart pass that allowed Adam Marusic to round the American with a clear line on the keeper. While Marusic’s attempt was blocked at the near post by Ciprian Tatarusanu, Mattia Zaccagni rushed in to put it away from close range.

The hosts added a third against their hapless visitors midway through the second half, this time thanks to Pierre Kalulu tripping up the streaking Pedro in the area. Luis Alberto struck his spot kick perfectly to the top of goal for the 3-0 lead.

Lazio twisted the knife once more with 15 minutes remaining in regulation, with Alberto slipping a short side-footed pass forward to Felipe Anderson for a simple finish that beat Tatarusanu at the right post.

Adding one final insult to injury, the Rossoneri saw their captain and starting right back Davide Calalabria go down in a bad collision with Lazio sub Toma Basic in the 91st minute, with what appeared to be some kind of painfully severe lower leg injury.

The loss extends Milan’s winless streak to five games across all competitions, although they still miraculously occupy second in the Serie A standings. They return to action on Sunday with a home game against Sassuolo.

Juventus 3 – 3 Atalanta

Weston McKennie as a 90-minute man for Juventus on Sunday evening in their wild, high-scoring draw against visiting Atalanta.

The American was once again platooned out on the right wing by head coach Massimiliano Allegri, and played the full 90 minutes with relative success. While taking no shots, he did create one chance, completed 85% of his 40 passes amidst his 67 total touches, won his only tackle, blocked one shot, made two clearances and five interceptions, and won one of his two duels.

Atalanta’s on-fire forward Ademola Lookman opened the scoring within the first five minutes, taking Jeremie Boga’s pass on the right side of the area, confusing his marking defender with some fancy footwork, and powering his shot between Wojciech Szczęsny’s grip and the near post.

In the 25th minute, Ángel di Maria pulled the Old Lady even from the spot, when Éderson was found, after a VAR review, to have tripped up Nicolo Fagioli just inside the area. Arkadiusz Milik then put the hosts ahead nine minutes later, powerfully connecting with Fagioli’s cross from seven yards, sending the team into the locker room with a narrow lead.

La Dea began the second half even more brightly than they did the first, with a slick display of passing deep in the Juventus end on the opening possession ending with Joakim Mæhle slotting from the left to the lower far corner.

Lookman then added another for the guests in the 53rd, again served up by Boga, this time with the Marseille-born Ivorian international sending in a cross that the former RB Leipzig striker headed home.

However, the game was set to end of even terms, as a 65th-minute free kick from 21 yard out was slightly back-heeled by di Maria to Danilo, who struck it through the remainder of the Atalanta wall for the final equalizer.

Taking their new points deduction into account, Juventus end the weekend in tenth place, an ocean away from any European spots. They are back in action on Sunday with a home game against Monza.


Andrija Novakovich and Gianluca Busio both started for Venezia in their 1-0 home loss to Südtirol on Saturday. Novakovich was forced out moments before the half with injury, while Busio played the full game in the team’s midfield. Tanner Tessmann played the final 23 minutes plus added time in the midfield. The loss drops Venezia to 18th place, three points from safety.

Anthony Fontana was nowhere to be found for Ascoli’s 1-1 draw at SPAL Ferrara on Saturday.


David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

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