We start with a win, just as the last season ended. AC Milan beat Bologna by two goals to nil thanks to Ibrahimović's brace at San Siro, as they kicked of their 2020/21 Serie A campaign with three points. The Rossoneri got off to a good start and kept up their great performance for over an hour; Pioli's side were full of life, trust, confidence from their post-lockdown form and recorded an important win. They were organised and hungry, and roundly deserved to win. The Diavolo bagged goals either side of half time and the game finished with the same scoreline as the Europa League qualifier in midweek - meaning they also, thanks to Donnarumma's good work between the sticks, have kept two consecutive clean sheets. It was a test of maturity and quality, alert and with very few risks - though some did in fact creep in as the game wore on and the players grew tired. As if he ever needed to, Zlatan showed that he is a true champion: as a technical and charismatic leader, he scored both goals and generally dictated play throughout the game. Serie A debuts for both Tonali and Díaz are worth mentioning too. The Diavolo gets started with three points, as we eagerly await the next fixture. In only a few days' time, Thursday at 20:30, Bodø/Glimt come to San Siro for a tie in the third round of Europa League qualification. It's a straight knockout game and is not to be missed. Onwards we go.
TAKE A LOOK: THE GALLERY FROM AC MILAN V BOLOGNA
The Rossoneri stuck with their tried and tested 4-2-3-1 system, but immediately found themselves under pressure as Soriano picked up the ball in the box and put his effort past the post. The Rossoneri weathered the initial storm and grew into the game. Ibrahimović showed brilliant close control before he got his shot away, which was not far wide of the left-hand upright (12'); in the 14th minute, Çalhanoğlu's diagonal ball from the edge of the box was not far wide. Chances began to flow and became increasingly clear-cut; Rebić smartly played a disguised pass across the face of goal, but Gabbia was not quite on the same wavelength and couldn’t steer it home (26'). Two minutes later, Bennacer’s effort in front of a virtually open goal after a corner flew over the bar. In the 35th minute, AC Milan got themselves in front; Hernández put in a delightful cross and Ibra rose highest in the box to power home a towering header. AC Milan in the lead at half time. Zlatan was a central figure after the break too. Saelemaekers played in Zlatan, but Skorupski dealt with the Swede’s ensuing shot (46'). In the 51st minute, the Rossoneri doubled their lead from the spot; Bennacer - fouled by Soriano - won the penalty, Zlatan stepped up and Zlatan scored. Ibrahimović could have had a hat-trick after the hour mark as he rounded the goalkeeper but couldn't keep his shot down from a tight angle. AC Milan continued to push for a third. The ball sat up just right for Hernández, who took on the shot from some way out, but Skorupski managed to get a finger to it and tip it over the bar (76'). Gigio was called into action late on, denying both Skov Olsen and Sansone. Bologna threatened again as Santander hit the post. The Rossoblù found themselves down to ten men after Dijks picked up a second yellow card (88'). The final whistle blew and it ended 2-0.
AC MILAN 2-0 BOLOGNA
AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjær (72' Duarte), Gabbia, Hernández; Kessie (77' Tonali), Bennacer (86' Krunić); Castillejo (46' Saelemaekers), Çalhanoğlu (72' Díaz), Rebić; Ibrahimović. Subs: Tătărușanu, A. Donnarumma; Kalulu, Laxalt; Paquetá; Colombo, Maldini. Coach: Pioli.
BOLOGNA (4-2-3-1): Skorupski; De Silvestri, Danilo, Tomiyasu, Dijks; Schouten, Domínguez (57' Skov Olsen); Orsolini (57' Sansone), Soriano (80' Svanberg), Barrow (83' Vignato); Palacio (80' Santander). Subs: Da Costa; Bani, Denswil, Mbaye; Baldursson, Poli; Juwara. Coach: Mihajlović.
Referee: La Penna from Roma 1.
Goals: 35' and 51' pen. Ibrahimović (M).
Booked: 18' Domínguez (B), 40' Castillejo (M), 74' Tomiyasu (B), 86' Krunić (M), 89' Gabbia (M).
Sent Off: 88' Dijks (B).
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