For Round 19 of Serie A action, Milan traveled to the capital of Italy to take on Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.
Gianluigi Donnarumma started in goal once again ahead of Diego Lopez and the rest of the keepers in the squad. It was his 11th straight start for the rossoneri and on Saturday, he continued to prove why he is deserving of this spot, making several key saves early on in the first half when things looked to be faltering for Siniša Mihajlović’s troops.
Roma and Milan played to a 1-1 draw as both sides exchanged quality, yet spoiled halves. In the first half, Rudi Garcia’s men controlled the tempo of the match, applying constant pressure from the opening whistle. German defender Antonio Rüdiger, who was highlighted in our pre-match article as a player to focus on, found the back of the net in the 4th minute. The on-loan center-half from Stuttgart broke free, darted towards the back post and headed the chance past Donnarumma who could do little with the attempt. Though the giallorossi were more dominant in the first half, they could not tack on anything additional as they squandered a few opportunities to sink Milan and any hopes they had of coming away with a favorable result.
A rejuvenated Milan came out of the tunnel for the second half and flipped the game on it’s head from the jump. The red and black club, like we’ve seen many times this season, typically play their best football once Mihajlović rips into the squad in the locker room at the break. Last night, they did more of the same as Milan grew more confident and began creating chance after chance as the half progressed. Eventually, it was the Slovakian Juraj Kucka who pulled his club level at the 50 minute mark, pouncing on a header and putting it past the outstretched Roma keeper Wojciech Szczesny. Despite controlling the second half, Milan could not find the match winner and had to settle with just the one point.
Milan has experienced a roller coaster-type season thus far. There have been few constants in the side, and the goalkeeping of Gianluigi Donnarumma has been one of them. On Saturday, the 16-year old (yes, it’s still shocking after three months) proved to be most valuable for Milan, making a handful of key saves in the first half. His performance in goal was the reason Milan were able to get one point, and possibly three if they managed to capitalize on a few of the 17 total shots they took.
Nigerian youngster Sadiq Umar, who started as the club’s striker, was the first to test Donnarumma, but the 6 foot 5 inch Italian denied him the opener with a superb save.
Antonio Rüdiger, as mentioned before, beat Donnarumma to open the scoring in the 4th minute but the teenager recovered and denied the Roma defender a second with a snapping near post save.
Even after conceding the goal, not once did we see a shaken Donnarumma. Earlier this season, “Gigio” started in goal at Juventus Stadium opposite his idol Gianluigi Buffon and did not seem fazed by the atmosphere around him. For younger players like Donnarumma, venues like the those in Turin, Rome and Milan can be intimidating which speaks volumes to how composed he is with such little time under his belt in top-flight football.
The Italy U-21 keeper made a total of four saves on Saturday, which can be seen in the video below.
Through eleven starts in Serie A this season, Donnarumma has the following stats attributed to his name, via transfermarkt:
-5 wins, 4 draws
-9 goals conceded in 990 minutes
-3 clean sheets
Gianluigi Donnarumma was called upon to bail out the Milan defense on several occasions against Roma and he did just that, making him our focus for this fixture’s Performance Evaluation.
For more performance evaluations like this, follow us on Twitter or “like” our page on Facebook. This is our second post in collaboration with Serie A Scouted (@SerieAScouted). For a tactical analysis on Roma-Milan, visit serieascouted.wordpress.com.