AC Milan's summer preparations end with a victory, as they win 2-1 against Panathinaikos at Stadio Nereo Rocco in Trieste in the fourth and final match of the $ACM Fan Token European Summer Tour 2021. A narrow win for the Rossoneri, who were excellent in both phases of the game for 60 minutes and were only pegged back in the final moments due to a defensive mistake. A positive and substantial performance, which is certainly a good omen ahead of the season opener scheduled for Monday 23 August at 20:45 CEST, when the Rossoneri will be travel to Marassi to face Roberto D'Aversa's Sampdoria.
The star man of the evening in Trieste was certainly Olivier Giroud, scorer of a splendid brace in the first half: First a left-footed volley from Tomori's long pass, then a precise header on a Calabria cross, to the delight of the Rossoneri fans present in the stands. Other positives were the performances of Saelemaekers and Rebić, who were continually incisive down the two flanks, as well as Tonali in the middle of the field and for the central defensive pair of Kjær and Tomori.
CHECK OUT THE PICTURES FROM THE GAME
The Rossoneri were very proactive from the off, with Giroud supported by the previously unused trio of Saelemaekers-Leão-Rebić. It was the latter who proved dangerous going forward in the 5th and 8th minutes with some good runs. AC Milan's prolonged possession was rewarded in the 15th minute when Tomori launched a long ball from midfield in the direction of Giroud, who struck home a left-footed volley to give the Rossoneri a well-deserved lead. After the 1-0 goal, the game slowed down, and Maignan had to be attentive in the 25th minute to keep out an effort from the right by Chatzigiovanis. The Rossoneri came close to doubling their lead in the 34th minute when a deflected left-footed strike from Rebić touched the post. On 41 minutes, Saelemaekers tried his luck from outside the area, and two minutes later it was 2-0: A cross from the right wing by Calabria, Giroud met the ball with his head and nodded it into the net.
Calabria was also at the heart of the first chance created in the second half: His cross from the right in the 50th minute found Rebić, who hit it cleanly but only found the post. From there on, AC Milan continued to create opportunities. In the 53rd minute Saelemaekers again linked up well with and set up the Rossoneri number 2, with Dioudis keeping him out with some great reflexes. On 58 minutes, Hernández progressed greatly down the wing, setting up Giroud in the centre: Olivier's left-footed shot, however, hit the post. After many substitutions on both sides, the Greeks scored their goal in the 76th minute through Ioannidis who took advantage of a mistake by Tătăruşanu. The last Rossoneri chance came in the 85th minute with a right footed shot from outside the box by Krunić that grazed the post.
AC MILAN 2-1 PANATHINAIKOS
AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan (70' Tătăruşanu); Calabria (70' Kalulu), Kjær (60' Romagnoli), Tomori (60' Gabbia), Hernández (70' Ballo-Touré); Tonali (60' Pobega), Krunić (86' Capone); Saelemaekers (70' Castillejo), Leão (60' Bennacer), Rebić (60' Díaz); Giroud (60' Maldini). Subs.: Plizzari. Coach: Pioli.
PANATHINAIKOS (4-2-3-1): Dioudis (84' Xenopoulos); Sideras, Kotsiras (75' Sánchez), Juankar (84' Chatzitheodoridis), Vélez (84' Šarlija); Chatzigiovanis (46' Ngbakoto), Mauricio, Villafáñez (46' Ayoub); Macheda (46' Ioannidis). Subs.: Christogeorgos; Athanasakopoulos, Bouzoukis, Serpezis, Xavier; Kampetsis. Coach: Jovanović.
Referee: Chiffi from Padova.
Goals: 16' and 43' Giroud (M), 76' Ioannidis (P).
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