What a comeback! Thanks to a fantastic second-half display, AC Milan ran out 3-2 winners against Hellas Verona at San Siro this evening. It seemed like it wasn’t going to be the Rossoneri’s night, with the team having got out of the starting blocks at a very slow pace. However, after falling two behind following goals from Caprari and Barak (the latter from the penalty spot), the Rossoneri displayed a brilliant reaction after the break. Giroud’s header was decisive, a finish that got the Diavolo back into it. With the wind in their sails, Coach Pioli’s men then had the required energy and momentum to overcome a very tough Verona side. The changes made tonight were key, with Leão and Castillejo making big impacts in particular. Indeed, Rafa provided the assist for the first goal, while Samu won the penalty for the equaliser. The latter then played in the ball that Günter sent into his own net to make it 3-2 to the Rossoneri.
After Inter’s defeat to Lazio (the Nerazzurri now sit five points behind the Diavolo) and ahead of Juve v Roma, AC Milan’s seventh league victory was a vital one, especially given how it came about. The Rossoneri, who found their ferocity after a subdued start, can now smile at the fact that, for one night at least, they are currently top of the table on 22 points. It means they can sleep well, enjoy their Sunday and prepare in the best possible way for the return of Champions League football: at 21:00 CEST on Tuesday 19 October, the Diavolo will take on Porto away from home.
CHECK OUT THE GALLERY FROM AC MILAN v HELLAS VERONA
It was a first start at San Siro for Maldini; Giroud returned, with space also allowed for Ballo-Touré. It was an uphill start as, after a dangerous shot by Ilić, Hellas Verona opened the scoring in the 7th minute: Veloso's header took the defence by surprise and set up Caprari, who knocked it powerfully past Tătărușanu. AC Milan reacted immediately with a Maldini chance (set up by Rebić) that was fired over the crossbar in the 9th minute. It got even worse in the 21st minute, when Romagnoli fouled Kalinić in the box, triggering the referee to give the penalty: from the spot, Barak shot low into the corner to double the visitor’s lead. From then on, there were scattered attempts to get back into it: Calabria shot over the bar in the 27th minute, Saelemaekers’ shot was too central in the 30th minute, while on 41 minutes, Ballo-Touré missed the target. Meanwhile, Rebić picked up an injury, with Leão having to come on in his place. Half time.
The second half began with Krunić and Castillejo replacing Maldini and Saelemaekers. At the beginning of the half, Calabria and Leão tried their luck, but the yellow and blue wall stood firm. Giroud broke the resistance in the 59th minute after some great play from Leão on the wing: neat dribbling and an inch-perfect cross set up Olivier who planted a powerful header into the back of the net. The tempo changed at San Siro: in the 64th minute, Giroud came close with a header and in the 69th minute Leão just missed the frame of the goal with a curling effort. Another penalty was awarded in the 73rd minute, this time for a foul in the area by Faraoni on Castillejo: Kessie was ice cold from the spot and made no mistake, bringing the sides level. A deadly one-two from the Diavolo, as they completed the comeback in the 78th minute: A left-footed cross from by Castillejo was met with a lopsided kick by Günter which left Montipò stranded. Tătărușanu produced saves on Barak and Simeone near the end, as AC Milan saw the game out with professionalism. Full time.
AC MILAN 3-2 HELLAS VERONA
AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): Tătărușanu; Calabria, Tomori, Romagnoli, Ballo-Touré; Kessie, Bennacer (77' Ibrahimović); Saelemaekers (46' Castillejo), Maldini (46' Krunić), Rebić (36' Leão); Giroud (82' Tonali). Subs: Jungdal; Conti, Gabbia, Kalulu, Kjær; Pellegri. Coach: Pioli.
HELLAS VERONA (3-4-2-1): Montipò; Casale, Günter, Ceccherini (46' Šutalo); Faraoni, Veloso (60' Tameze), Ilić, Lazović (79' Cancellieri); Barak, Caprari (60' Simeone); Kalinić (63' Lasagna). Subs: Berardi, Pandur; Çetin, Magnani; Bessa, Hongla, Rüegg. Coach: Tudor.
Referee: Prontera from Bologna.
Goals: 7' Caprari (HV), 24' pen. Barak (HV), 59' Giroud (M), 76' pen. Kessie (M), 78' o.g. Günter (M).
Booked: 5' Ceccherini (HV), 25' Kalinić (HV), 38' Casale (HV), 54' Veloso (HV), 81' Ballo-Touré (M).
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