Theo for Brahim, Saelemaekers for Hernández: Two great goals that helped AC Milan to overcome a tricky Venezia side, and to record their fourth win in the opening five league games. It ended 2-0 at San Siro, much to the delight of the nearly 30,000 Rossoneri fans who can celebrate the team returning to the top of Serie A, at least for one night. The victory was earned near the end of a match that was largely dominated but proved tricky on occasions, and which will provide Coach Pioli with several positive indications ahead of the upcoming matches with Spezia, Atlético Madrid, and Atalanta.
The man to steal the headlines is undoubtedly Brahim Díaz, who scored his first career goal at San Siro to unlock the match with just over 20 minutes left on the clock. Much like the second goal, it came about thanks to the excellent impact made by the substitutes: Theo Hernández first rose to the fore with an assist for our number ten, then wrapped up the game with a lovely second goal assisted by fellow substitute Alexis Saelemaekers. There were also gracious performances from Leão on the left and Kalulu on the right, while Tonali again proved his worth at pulling the strings in midfield. Other noteworthy moments included a first start for Fodé Ballo-Touré as an AC Milan player and a first appearance with AC Milan for Pietro Pellegri.
CHECK OUT THE GALLERY FROM AC MILAN v VENEZIA
Coach Pioli made a number of changes, with Kalulu and Ballo-Touré named in the starting line-up for the first time this season. Chances were at a premium early doors, with AC Milan controlling matters and trying to break through an attentive Venezia defence. Rebić had the Rossoneri’s first attempt in the fourth minute, while the same player failed to steer Tonali’s corner on target after 24 minutes. There was a big opportunity with 31 minutes on the clock: Kalulu burst down the right, played a one-two with Rebić and skimmed the far post with an angled drive. AC Milan were starting to push now. In the 36th minute, Leão made his way into the box from the left and rolled the ball across, but Venezia managed to clear. Then, seconds later, Florenzi sent a glancing header wide from Kalulu’s delivery.
AC Milan immediately went on the attack after the break. In the 50th minute, Tonali shinned wide from the edge of the D. Two minutes later, Rebić knocked the ball down down for Díaz, who volleyed over. Stefano Pioli shook things up just before the hour mark, bringing on Hernández, Tomori and Saelemaekers. The Rossoneri finally took the lead in the 68th minute, when, from six yards out, Díaz finished off Hernández’s volleyed cross after the Frenchman had been picked out by Bennacer’s lovely ball over the top. Pioli’s men went on the hunt for a second, with Mäenpää beating away Hernández’s 77th-minute free kick from distance. The Rossoneri put the game to bed after 82 minutes: Saelemaekers played in Hernández with a smart pass, and the latter then smashed the across the goalkeeper to make it 2-0. Saelemaekers then had the final opportunity of the match as he fired over with his right foot from distance. Full-time.
AC MILAN 2-0 VENEZIA
AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Kalulu, Gabbia (58' Tomori), Romagnoli, Ballo-Touré (58' Hernández); Tonali, Bennacer; Florenzi (58' Saelemaekers), Díaz (80' Kessie), Leão; Rebić (73' Pellegri). Subs.: Jungdal, Tătăruşanu; Conti; Castillejo; Maldini. Coach: Pioli.
VENEZIA (4-3-3): Mäenpää; Ebuehi (73' Mazzocchi), Caldara, Ceccaroni, Molinaro; Peretz (52' Črnigoj), Vacca (80' Tessmann), Busio; Aramu, Forte (52' Henry), Johnsen (73' Okereke). Subs.: Neri; Modolo, Schnegg, Svoboda; Bjarkason, Heymans, Kiyine. Coach: Zanetti.
Referee: Pezzuto from Lecce.
Goals: 68' Díaz (M), 82' Hernández (M)
Booked: 25’ Forte (V), 76' Caldara (V)
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