By Kris Voakes at San Siro
It’s all about baby steps for AC Milan at the moment, and the 1-1 draw with Malaga on Tuesday night represented all that and more. The Rossoneri had the majority of possession, territory and chances, but it took a header from Alexandre Pato to earn them a point which puts them in a very good position in Group C.
But almost as important as the retention of second place was the continued improvement in performances – however marginal – and Bojan Krkic’s upturn in form in the last seven days has typified a mini-revival for Massimiliano Allegri’s side, which they must now carry into the coming weeks in order to get their season back on track.
The 22-year-old was written off in the summer as just the latest in a long line of one-time starlets whose career was on a downward slide that was unlikely to ever be arrested. After breaking all sorts of records as a 17-year-old with Barcelona, his fall from grace was rather startling, and resulted in him being sent out on loan for an unsuccessful spell with Roma.
|MATCH FACTS | Milan 1-1 Malaga
However, the past week has seen a shift for both the club and the player. Since going 2-0 down at Palermo last Tuesday, the Rossoneri have been a different proposition. With a little more direction, a little more dynamism, and a shape that has suited Bojan down to the ground, Milan are taking the small but significant steps in the right direction that were long overdue.
And the Spaniard has been key to that. His introduction after 52 minutes in Sicily was no coincidence, rather he was the catalyst behind the two-goal comeback, just as he was one of the stand-outs against Chievo at the weekend, and was once more prominent as Milan had Malaga thanking goalkeeper Willy for maintaining their unbeaten run in the competition.
For Bojan, it is perhaps the most promising period of his fledgling career since those early days when he was expected to follow keenly in the footsteps of Lionel Messi at Camp Nou. Yes, 218 minutes of football is a very small sample size, but perhaps those who have written him off as used goods would do well to remember that he is still young. The ability that saw him promoted so quickly through the ranks of La Masia does not just disappear overnight, and perhaps these recent performances are green chutes of hope that he could return to the heights he experienced as a 17-year-old sooner rather than later.
On his day, Bojan is probably Milan’s most talented footballer, and if he can use his recent form as a springboard to something better, then the Rossoneri can surely only benefit ahead of crunch fixtures against Fiorentina, Napoli, Anderlecht and Juventus.