02 October 2020 AC Milan sweat all shirts to overcome the playoffs and reach the group stage of the Europa League: in Vila do Conde, a location outside Porto, the Rossoneri 'die and are reborn' several times against Rio Ave (1-1 to 90 ', 2-2 at the end of extra time with a draw in the 122nd minute!) Before coming off the spot on the twelfth penalty (10-11).
Crazy and endless race, luckily it ended well.
The first half does not take off, really bad and emotionless.
The Rossoneri try to play the match but can't find any gaps, and when they find them, the last step is missing.
Portuguese very careful in defense, to the detriment of the offensive phase.
Without success, two attempts on a free kick from Hernandez and Calhanoglu, at 41 'Carlos Manè tries from distance but Donnarumma blocks easily.
The race is anything but simple: Pioli's team has to increase the laps trying to make the greatest technical rate weigh.
Said and done.
Brahim Diaz enters, a good initiative of his is blocked in a corner kick and Milan pass: he beats Calhanoglu, the ball lands on the feet of Saelemaekers who hits the center from the edge with a precise low shot (51 ').
Rossoneri decidedly more lively and aggressive, in the 70th minute the Turkish Calhanoglu went close to doubling again on a free kick (slightly deflected).
Instead the exact opposite happens, with Rio Ave impacting the first blaze (72 '): Piazon serves the rushing Geraldes, whose right-footed blow under the crossbar gives Donnarumma no escape.
Chills in the recovery on Santos' jab that ends up side by side.
We go to extra time and the Portuguese overturn the result sensationally: badly Kjaer and Kessie, Gelson Dala bags with a left crossed from a very tight angle (91 ').
Milan, tired, feel the blow: Kieszek opposes Theo Hernandez, Gabbia head does not frame the mirror.
It seems over, but at the last breath a hand ball by Borevkovic (second yellow card and expulsion) sends the Rossoneri to the spot: a very heavy penalty, but Calhanoglu is not wrong (122 ').
Incredible epilogue to penalties, where everything and more happens.
After the first 5 penalties all scored, we go to the bitter end (in between three errors on each side) up to the 12th pitch, an endless series that decrees AC Milan's very painful success (euphemism) thanks to the realization of Kjaer and the final parade of Donnarumma on Santos.
But what a thrill.