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Brahim Diaz plays key role as Milan beat Roma

AC Milan v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Cottini/Getty Images

Real Madrid loanee Brahim Diaz played his first game of 2022 today as Serie A resumed for the first time since before Christmas.

Today’s matchup between AC Milan and AS Roma had the potential for a loanee showdown: Brahim Diaz vs Borja Mayoral. Unfortunately Mayoral tested positive for COVID-19 today, and has to sit out for now. Of course, Mayoral is not a regular under Jose Mourinho this season, so there was no guarantee he’d play in this game to begin with.

But we got Brahim starting in his usual 10 role, which is usually a fun experience.

Brahim floated between the lines, per usual, and was an important piece in Milan’s offense. Brahim was available as an outlet wherever his team needed him in all channels on the pitch, and linked up well with both wings — particularly Theo Hernandez on the left.

This was an ideal game for Brahim to play in, partly because Roma’s defensive compactness was non-existant. They gave away a lot of space between the lines, and allowed Milan to do whatever they basically wanted while making defensive mistakes in the process.

Milan went up 2 - 0 within the first 17 minutes. Olivier Giroud scored a penalty after a Tammy Abraham handball in the box, and Junior Messias capitalized on a horrendous Roger Ibañez giveaway shortly after. Milan cruised to a 3 - 1 win without much difficulty.

In the second half, Diaz had two good chances: One beautiful strike from outside the box which hit the cross bar in the 52nd minute, and a left-foot curler that went just wide from the right in the 68th minute.

Milan iced this game comfortably in the second half, especially once Roma went down to 10 men in the 74th minute (and eventually 9 men in the 94th minute).

In 87 minutes on the pitch, Brahim had 49 touches, two shots, two completed dribbles, and drew three fouls.

Later tonight, Alvaro Odriozola plays his first game of 2022 as Fiorentina take on Udinese.