It was a perfect start for AC Milan in America with Maurizio Ganz's squad beating Japanese side Tokyo Verdy Beleza 3-1 to kick off the Women's Cup 2022 tournament. The win has earned the Rossonere a place in the semi-final and will face hosts Racing Louisville FC. A first-half goal from Martina Piemonte and a double from debutant Swedish striker Kosovare Asllani after the break sealed the win for the girls.
It was an excellent performance from the Rossonere who controlled the game and went close several times against a tactically and technically strong Tokyo Verdy Beleza side; Thomas in particular having some good chances. The American tour continues with the semi-final against Louisville that is set to be played in the night between Wednesday and Thursday. AC Milan will also play at the weekend a third game against either Mexican side Club América or Megan Rapinoe's OL Reign.
The game started off in fast fashion with both sides having chances early on: AC Milan's Thomas went close before Giuliani saved well from Hiwatari's attempt. The Rossonere took a well-deserved lead just before the half-hour mark whilst on top in the game. On 29 minutes, Fusetti won the ball back and played in Captain Bergamaschi, who then slid the ball through for Martina Piemonte who struck home nicely with her left foot scoring the first goal of the tournament. But Tokyo didn't lie down and missed a great chance to equalise through Ueki after 38 minutes, but her shot flew just over the bar. The half ended with AC Milan in control though without giving up any other dangerous chances.
After an early chance for the Japanese side after the break, Thomas had a great chance but her right-footed attempt just brushed the post on 52 minutes. The Rossonere insisted, playing some nice football, and doubled the lead on 64 minutes with debutant Kosovare Asllani's first goal in an AC Milan shirt. A low cross from Thomas on the right was met by the number nine who slotted home from a few yards out. In the closing stages, the third arrived, again through Asllani getting her second; Thrige's cross was cleared by the Japanese defence but the ball fell to the Swede who played a one-two with Rubio and dinked the ball over the on-rushing keeper. One minute later, the Japanese side found a consolation goal through Shimizu but the girls saw the game out comfortably to take their place in the semi-final.
AC MILAN 3-1 TOKYO VERDY BELEZA
AC MILAN (3-4-3): Giuliani (46' Babb); Mesjasz, Guagni, Fusetti; Soffia (25' Thrige), Mascarello (46' Rubio), K. Dubcová, Tucceri Cimini; Thomas (70' M. Dubcová), Piemonte (59' Asllani), Bergamaschi (59' Adami). Subs.: Beka; Árnadóttir, Carage; Vigilucci. Coach: Ganz.
TOKYO VERDY (3-5-2): Tanaka; Muramatsu, Iwashimizu, Miyagawa; Shimizu, Kanno, Nishikawa (46' Matsuda), Kinoshita (55' Kimura), Kitamura; Hiwatari, Ueki (70' Sakabe). Subs.: Kurosawa, Nishimura; Horiuchi, Utsugi; Kobayashi. Coach: Takemoto.
Goals: 29' Piemonte (M), 64' and 81' Asllani (M), 82' Shimizu (T).
Booked: 73' Iwashimizu (T).
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