AC Milan strengthened their case for a top-four finish on Wednesday as they beat struggling Torino away from home.
The Rossoneri maintained the three points cushion over Juventus with a big win that did their inferior goal difference a world of good. Goals from Franck Kessie, Brahim Diaz and a double from Theo Hernandez ensured that the visitors got off to a strong start before Ante Rebic scored a twelve-minute hat-trick late in the game to complete the rout.
Here are four talking points from the truly one-sided affair at the Stadio Olimpico di Torino.
AC Milan show no nerves
With three games to play in Serie A, the fight for the top-four remains intense and is bound to go down the wire.
Napoli’s win yesterday meant that Milan headed into Wednesday’s game knowing that only a win could give them a chance to play Champions League football next season.
With fellow top-four rivals Atalanta and Juventus in action at the same time there were expected to be under pressure. However, the visitors responded to the pressure in a truly big team fashion, tearing apart a sorry Torino side. Turin side, who are fighting to avoid relegation, were totally overpowered and outclassed by a highly motivated AC Milan.
They controlled the game from the start, showing no nerves or anxieties. Even when their host tried to frustrate them by putting all men behind the ball and hoping to break on the counter, Milan stuck to their game and eventually went home with a huge win.
Big win puts Milan in the top-four driving Seat
Surely, Pioli’s 3-0 win over Juventus in their last outing has done a massive job in the psychology of this side as they now play with much more belief and purpose about them.
Wednesday’s big win has now put them in the driving seat of their top-four destiny.
They are now three points ahead of Juventus, who are in fifth place with just two games to play. And with three wins and three clean sheets from their last three league games, no one can bet against them sealing a top-four finish this season.
Ante Rebic turns up in style
What a game Ante Rebic had!
The Torino players would still be wondering what they could have done to contain the Croat, who was in unstoppable form on Wednesday night.
The attacker scored a well-taken hat-trick on the night. But the beautiful part of his performance was his all-around involvement.
Before he got on the scoresheet, the 27-year-old had assisted Theo Hernandez with a sumptuous through-ball in the 62nd minute for Milan’s fourth goal of the night. And when he was presented with an opportunity to get on the scoresheet, he took it with aplomb and, in the process, scored his first hat-trick for Milan.
Franck Kessie and Theo Hernandez Crucial for Milan
When the time for Milan’s season awards comes, two names are sure to make the grade—Franck Kessie and Theo Hernandez.
Rebic may have grabbed the headline with a much-deserved hat-trick, but Franck Kessie was arguably Milan’s best performer. The Ivorian ran the show in midfield with aplomb and could have had at least two goals if he had taken his chances. His assist for Diaz displayed his all-around importance to the team.
Meanwhile, Theo Hernandez, who scored two goals in the night, continued to show just how important he is to the attacking setup of this team. The defender took his tally for the season to seven goals and five assists with his performance on the night. In just 79 appearances, the Frenchman has been involved in 15 goals and 13 assists for Milan, a record some strikers cannot match.