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Benevento 2 AC Milan 2: Goalkeeper Brignoli scores to deny Gattuso

Benevento snatched their first ever point in Serie A in extraordinary fashion thanks to an injury-time equaliser from goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli, denying Gennaro Gattuso victory on his debut as AC Milan coach.

The league’s bottom club had lost all 14 games this season prior to Sunday’s clash but snatched a 2-2 draw right at the death at their Ciro Vigorito home, leaving Gattuso and his Rossoneri players stunned.

Milan had won only two of their previous nine Serie A games heading into the encounter and looked short on confidence in the early stages of Gattuso’s first game in charge since succeeding Vincenzo Montella as head coach.

Giacomo Bonaventura got the breakthrough for the visitors before half-time but they were deservedly pegged back by George Puscas before the hour mark.

The goal had Benevento fans dreaming of a first point in Italy’s top flight until Nikola Kalinic struck six minutes later, but Alessio Romagnoli’s red card gave the home fans a glimmer of hope of a famous result.

The opportunity looked to have passed them by until the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time, when Brignoli’s brilliant header sent the crowd into raptures and dealt another blow to Milan’s Champions League ambitions.

Gattusso started with a 3-4-3 set-up that saw Bonaventura and Suso playing off Kalinic in attack, with Andre Silva surprisingly consigned to the substitutes’ bench.

It was Kalinic who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening quarter of an hour, drawing a good save from Brignoli in the Benevento goal before Suso aimed the rebound straight at his gloves.

Benevento missed a clear chance to break the deadlock when Vittorio Parigini headed wide at the far post from a Marco D’Alessandro cross, and they were made to pay seven minutes before half-time.

Bonaventura’s header from Franck Kessie’s cross was glanced on by Kalinic and cleared off the line, but the former Atalanta man stooped to nod the rebound into the bottom-right corner and put Milan ahead.

It was harsh on Benevento given their first-half display but they hit back only five minutes after the restart, with Puscas turning home the rebound after Gaetano Letizia saw a thumping volley from the edge of the box saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Six minutes later, luck was again on Milan’s side. Having been awarded a corner when it looked as though Benevento should have had a goal kick instead, the visitors took full advantage of some slack marking, with Kalinic rising unchallenged to nod in Bonaventura’s cross.

Benevento heads were bowed but they soon began to threaten a second equaliser, with Donnarumma called upon to save well low to his left and keep out D’Alessandro’s low drive from just inside the penalty area.

Milan’s task became more difficult when Romagnoli earned a second booking for a lunging challenge that brought down Letizia but the visitors defended stoutly, led by captain Leonardo Bonucci, as Benevento pushed forward in the closing stages.

They looked to have done enough until the fifth added minute at the end of the match, when Danilo Cataldi’s free-kick from the left was steered superbly by Brignoli into the bottom-right corner, leaving Gattuso shell-shocked as the home dugout went wild.

KEY OPTA STATS

– Bonaventura has ended a series of nine games without scoring in Serie A – his last goal before today’s had been on January 29th vs Udinese.
– Prior to today, AC Milan had won each of the six games in which they scored first in Serie A this season.
– Kalinic has ended a run of 421 minutes without a league goal.
– Puscas’ goal was the first conceded by AC Milan from a set-piece in this season (excluding penalties).
– Only Hellas Verona (4) have collected more red cards than AC Milan (3) this campaign.

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Sacked Montella hopes Gattuso fares better at AC Milan

Vincenzo Montella says it was an honour to coach AC Milan and hopes his successor Gennaro Gattuso can improve the team’s fortunes.

Montella was sacked on Monday and replaced with Primavera boss Gattuso following a terrible start to the Serie A campaign.

Backed by new Chinese ownership, Milan spent big in the off-season, signing Leonardo Bonucci and Andre Silva as part of a major overhaul of the playing squad.

Montella has not been able to get the best out of his expensively assembled group, with the Rossoneri sitting seventh in the table, already 11 points outside the Champions League qualification places.

And the patience of the hierarchy has now run out, leaving the former Fiorentina and Sampdoria coach to wish his successor well.

“Coaching Milan was an honour, working with this group even more so,” he said.

“I thank the fans for their support, [managing director Marco] Fassone and [sporting director Massimiliano] Mirabelli for this opportunity and my staff for supporting me throughout.

“I hope Rino [Gattuso] takes Milan back where they belong.”

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AC Milan 0 Torino 0: Pressure on Montella intensifies after dour draw

Vincenzo Montella’s position as AC Milan head coach looks set to come under further scrutiny after his side laboured to a 0-0 draw with Torino at San Siro.

Failure to score means that the Rossoneri have now gone four home league games without hitting the back of the net – a run which has seen them fall 18 points behind Serie A leaders Napoli.

Nikola Kalinic hit the post early on as Milan started promisingly, while Andre Silva was guilty of a glaring miss in the first half.

Torino goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu was in inspired form the second period, twice denying Kalinic and then Suso in a breathtaking few minutes.

Milan travel to Benevento next weekend as they look to kick-start their faltering season, but whether Montella will be in charge remains to be seen.

Milan’s recent home troubles were nowhere to be seen in a blistering opening 10 minutes, which could easily have seen them two goals up.

Kalinic should have opened the scoring after just four minutes, but he rushed his shot from just inside the penalty area and clipped the outside of the post.

Suso then whipped a superb free-kick towards the top corner from fully 30 yards, which Sirigu did wonderfully to claw away for a corner.

The hosts continued to look threatening going forward and Silva squandered a glorious opportunity to open his Serie A account for the club midway through the half.

The Portugal striker, who has scored eight goals in this season’s Europa League, stretched to meet Cristian Zapata’s teasing cross eight yards out, but inexplicably sent his effort wide of Sirigu’s left post.

Suso saw a dangerous left-foot effort well held by Sirigu at the start of the second period as Milan continued to do all the pressing.

The unlikely figure of Leonardo Bonucci then made a surging run out of defence, which resulted in him drilling an effort into the side netting.

Sirigu produced a magnificent double save after 66 minutes to deny Kalinic, first pushing away his powerful header and then springing up to block his follow-up effort with his legs.

He followed this moments later with another smart save to repel Suso’s low drive from the edge of the area as Milan belatedly cranked up the pressure.

Torino offered next to nothing in an attacking sense, but only superb interventions from Gianluigi Donnarumma and Riccardo Montolivo denied them all three points with five minutes remaining.

The Milan goalkeeper got down well to save Andrea Belotti’s initial header and then Montolivo threw himself in the way of substitute Iago Falque’s goal-bound follow-up.

Perhaps fittingly, though, the final word went to the outstanding Sirigu, who magnificently tipped over substitute Hakan Calhanoglu’s fierce drive at the death.

Key Opta stats:

– AC Milan failed to score for four Serie A home games in a row for the third time in their history (previously in December 2007 and April 1984).
– Milan failed to score against Torino after scoring at least one goal in the previous 13 league games vs the Granata.
– Torino have won only one of their last nine Serie A matches (D5, L3).

– Milan have collected only 20 points so far, nine fewer than after 14 matchdays in the last campaign.

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AC Milan axe Adidas sponsorship deal early with Puma

MILAN FASHION TWEAK AC Milan axe Adidas sponsorship deal early with Puma set to take over from next season
Rossoneri have ended decades-long deal with German suppliers by announcing they will be siding with rivals Puma

But under new ownership, the club have decided to find a more profitable kit deal with Adidas’ traditional rivals Puma.

Puma also make kits for Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and the Italian national team and have a top reputation.

But sentimental fans will be sad to see the agreement with Adidas go, given the Rossoneri have won the Champions League and three Scuddettos in their jerseys.

AndAC MILAN have torn up their decades-long agreement with Adidas early – with Puma set to be their new kit suppliers.

The Rossoneri have been with German kit manufacturers Adidas since 1998, but also had them during their successful era in the early 90s.of course stars like Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten have all starred in the red and black stripes under the Germans’ logo.

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AC Milan 0 Genoa 0: Bonucci sees red as 10-man Rossoneri fight for point

Leonardo Bonucci’s reckless first-half sending off forced AC Milan to battle for a 0-0 draw at home to struggling Genoa on Sunday.

The Rossoneri were left with 10 men for over an hour following Bonucci’s elbow on Aleandro Rosi and the disadvantage proved too great an obstacle in their bid for a first Serie A victory in four matches.

Instead, under-fire manager Vincenzo Montella will come under greater pressure for failing to guide his side past a team that has now won only one of nine in the league.

Milan had carried the weight of three successive domestic defeats into the contest and their task was only made more difficult by Bonucci’s moment of madness, with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) involved in dismissing the captain.

And an air of frustration at San Siro almost turned to anger when Andrea Bertolacci, on loan at Genoa from Milan, curled agonisingly wide of the post.

The home survived that scare but lacked the resources to create a clear-cut chance for a winner, leaving Montella seemingly on the brink of the sack.

Milan started on a positive note with Hakan Calhanoglu, who missed the derby defeat to Inter through suspension, heading wide from Giacomo Bonaventura’s cross.

Fabio Borini then gave Mattia Perin his first work in the sixth minute, the goalkeeper forced to push a clever low effort around his near post.

That early momentum waned, however, and Milan’s frustration boiled over in the 25th minute when Bonucci was given his marching orders.

The Italy defender was looking to attack a free-kick when he bloodied Genoa wing-back Rosi with a stray elbow to the face. After consulting with the VAR, the referee deemed the incident worthy of a straight red card.

Montella immediately strengthened his defence by withdrawing Calhanoglu for Alessio Romagnoli and, after Gianluigi Donnarumma held a firm Luca Rigoni header, the 10 men responded well to keep scores level at the break.

Sent out on loan by Milan, Bertolacci came within inches of burying the knife into his parent club as his curling effort from the edge of the area drifted around the right post.

Both goalkeepers were being tested more regularly by the hour mark as Perin claimed a dangerous free-kick at one end, while a diving Donnarumma watched Miguel Veloso’s shot whistle wide.

Franck Kessie single-handedly brought about the hosts’ best chance of the second half by carrying the ball from defence to attack, but the dynamic midfielder passed up options inside and instead drove his finish the wrong side of the near post.

Big-money signing Nikola Kalinic should also have done better when Suso spotted him unmarked in the penalty area, only for the Croatian striker’s touch to evade him at the critical moment.

Genoa did have one final opportunity to turn their numerical advantage into a second straight league victory but, after striding clean through on goal, substitute Gianluca Lapadula lost his feet and was hauled in by Cristian Zapata.

Next up for Milan is a visit to in-form Chievo on Wednesday before they return home to face champions Juventus next weekend.

Key Opta stats:

– AC Milan drew against Genoa in Serie A for the first time since November 2013: three wins and four losses over that period.
– Milan have failed to score in three of their last five league games against Genoa.
– The Rossoneri have not found the net in three of the last four Serie A matches after they scored in the previous 21.
– Genoa have gained at least a point in two Serie A matches in a row for the first time since last March (W1 D1).

– Milan have failed to score in two consecutive Serie A home games for the first time since September 2012.

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The Milan resurgence in process

AC Milan had one of their busiest transfer windows ever recently. With a £200million+ spending spree that saw them bring in over ten players, the club is announcing to their domestic rivals that they are no longer messing around.

The Italian side was one of the biggest clubs in European football just some years back, but a combination of mismanagement and poor decision-making on the part of the board led to years of decline that they are now trying to end.

It was only ten years ago that AC Milan defeated Liverpool 2:1 to lift the UEFA Champions league, now a new initiate into the world of football would struggle to know the name, let alone appreciate the greatness that was once AC Milan.

Inter Milan were also European champions recently, more recently than AC Milan actually, as they won the UEFA champions league in 2010 under Jose Mourinho. However, since the Portuguese tactician left the side, they have experienced a change in fortune for the worst. Recently though, things seem to be looking up for them. They put out a great performance in the derby match and won dramatically against their fierce city rivals.

The Suning group, a Chinese investment group took charge of Inter Milan in 2016, and in 2017, AC Milan ended Berlusconi’s tenure with a transfer of ownership to Li Yonghong. Li Yonghong has introduced some enthusiasm to life in Milan with his ambitious moves, and the transfer war chest he provided Marco Fassone and Vincenzo Montella gives the impression that he has great plans for the club.

So far, however, the transfer activities haven’t exactly translated to great performances on the pitch, and questions are already being asked of Montella. The side has won just four out of the eight games they have played so far, losing the remaining three. For a side that brought in ten new high class players last summer, that is well below par.

Inter Milan with seven wins and one draw is currently doing much better than their city rivals, but only after bringing in Luciano Spaletti, their third manager within the space of a year.

It is not looking good for Vincenzo Montella and the club may already be thinking of a replacement to bring out the value of the investments in players; whatever they decide, Milan has to find its feet fast.

Huge football fans who have been watching football for a while would really want to see a resurgence of two of Italy’s biggest football clubs. It would especially be great to see one of them break the stranglehold of Juventus on the domestic league and bring back the days of old!

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AC Milan snatch dramatic injury-time victory over Rijeka

AC Milan lost a 2-0 lead at the San Siro but found an injury time goal to earn a 3-2 win over Croatian champions Rijeka in the Europa League.

Rijeka made a bright start at the San Siro and missed a great chance to take a shock early lead.

Warning bells had sounded for Milan after two minutes when Misic shot from the edge of the box, but his effort was deflected at Gianluigi Donnarumma.

And a minute later the visitors should have led when a sharp move saw the ball worked to Heber inside the area but he scuffed wide.

Hakan Calhanoglu fired a free kick into the wall as Milan, beaten by Sampdoria in Serie A at the weekend, started to find some rhythm.

And they were in front with 14 minutes gone when Andre Silva struck, making room for himself inside the area after cutting in from the left and arrowing a finish past Simon Sluga.

But Rijeka, as they had shown in that bright opening, were not going to lie down and could have levelled in the 26th minute when Jakov Puljic forced Donnarumma into action.

As the half drew to a close, Milan raided forward once more, Silva winning the ball from Marko Vesovic but denied the chance to add a second when Josip Elez got in a challenge.

Rijeka started the second half in the same positive way they had begun the first, but Heber steered wide after a low ball into the area and Bradaric saw an effort stopped by Donnarumma.

And they were made to pay once more when, after 53 minutes, Milan struck again as a corner fell for defender Mateo Musacchio to score from close range.

Milan seemed set to control the rest of what had been a low-key second half — but with six minutes remaining, things changed when substitute Maxwell Acosty halved the deficit.

Leonardo Bonucci failed to get enough power on his attempt to steer the ball back to Donnarumma and, although Acosty’s touch was heavy, the ball span in as the keeper came to meet him.

And with a minute of normal time remaining Alessio Romagnoli was adjudged to have fouled Matic Crnic inside the penalty area and, although Donnarumma got a hand to the strike, Elez converted from the spot.

It seemed Milan would be denied but, deep into added time, Patrick Cutrone steered home the neatest of finishes to break the visitors’ hearts.

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AC Milan 2 SPAL 0: Penalty double seals comfortable win for Montella´s side

Penalties from Ricardo Rodriguez and Franck Kessie were enough to help AC Milan ease past SPAL 2-0 at San Siro. Milan were scarcely tested by their visitors and will be disappointed that their dominance was not rewarded with a more flattering scoreline.

Rodriguez scored his first goal for the club after Nikola Kalinic had been hauled down in the box in the first half, while Kessie converted from the spot after he’d been felled by Felipe in the 61st minute.

Vincenzo Montella’s side have now won three straight games in all competitions following their 4-1 humbling at the hands of Lazio, and will be full of confidence ahead of this weekend’s trip to Sampdoria.

SPAL, meanwhile, will need to put in a much improved performance if they are to get anything out of in-form Napoli’s visit to the Stadio Paolo Mazza on Saturday.

SPAL looked bright in the early stages, but Milan soon found their stride.

The first opening went to Rodriguez, who skewed his half-volley from the edge of the area over the crossbar, before Andre Silva had his goal-bound shot blocked after impressive work down the right by Kessie.

Kalinic, fresh from his brace against Udinese at the weekend, then had a long-range drive deflected into the hands of SPAL goalkeeper Alfred Gomis.

Gomis was called into action again in the 19th minute to push over Ignazio Abate’s strike from inside the area. Cristian Zapata did well to meet the resulting corner, but his header flashed narrowly over the bar.

The hosts’ breakthrough came in the 25th minute when Gomis clipped the ankle of Kalinic after he had spilled Rodriguez’s shot. Rodriguez drilled the penalty into the bottom corner to register his first goal for the club following his move from Wolfsburg.

Silva then had a whipped shot from distance well kept out by the overworked Gomis.

Milan started the second period with the same verve that characterised their play in the opening 45 minutes and they nearly doubled their advantage four minutes after the restart.

Rodriguez’s teasing cross from the left was met by the desperate lunge of SPAL defender Bartosz Salamon, whose interception arrowed into the side netting.

SPAL then had their first sight of goal just a minute later when Federico Mattiello met Manuel Lazzari’s cross, but Leonardo Bonucci was able to hack his header away as it flashed across the face of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal.

Normal service was resumed shortly after, though, as yet another Milan attack resulted in a second penalty. Kessie this time was brought down by Felipe in the area, and the Ivorian slotted the spot-kick past Gomis.

The second goal killed the game as a contest, with Milan content to see out the final 30 minutes at a pedestrian pace.

Key Opta stats:

– AC Milan have gained 12+ points from the first five Serie A games for the first time since 2003/04, when they lifted the trophy.
– SPAL have lost their last three Serie A games 2-0.
– SPAL have failed to score in six of their last seven league appearances.
– Milan have found the net in 21 consecutive Serie A meetings for the first time since March 2009.

– Milan scored two penalties in the same Serie A game for the first time since January 2010, against Genoa.

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AC Milan 2 Udinese 1: Kalinic double opens account for new club

Nikola Kalinic’s first goals for AC Milan were enough to secure a 2-1 win over Udinese at the San Siro.

The signing from Fiorentina twice demonstrated predatory instincts to beat his marker and score from close range and had a third ruled out for offside as Milan return to winning ways in Serie A after last weekend’s 4-1 humbling at Lazio.

Kevin Lasagna cancelled out the Croatian’s first goal with a fine finish, and had earlier seen a goal ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee (VAR) system.

Udinese had chances to claim a point in the second half through Seko Fofana and Andrija Balic, but Milan held firm to secure their third league win of the season.

Vincenzo Montella’s side will be looking to make that four when SPAL visit the San Siro on Wednesday. Udinese, meanwhile, face Torino in midweek as they target just a second win of the Serie A campaign.

The hosts started with real purpose and should have been ahead in the eighth minute. Davide Calabria broke down Udinese’s left and pulled the ball back for Suso, but the Spaniard could only whip his shot over the crossbar from 12 yards.

Milan were almost made to pay for that profligacy just a minute later, but they were spared by the VAR system. Lasagna latched onto a clinical throughball to roll the ball past Gianluigi Donnarumma, but his celebrations were cut short after the officials decided he had strayed into an offside position.

Technology was used again in the 18th minute to deny Milan the opener. Kalinic’s header from a corner crashed back off the post and was stabbed towards goal by Leonardo Bonucci from close range, but was hacked away before the whole ball could cross the line.

Minutes after being denied by the woodwork, Kalinic did get on the scoresheet as he beat his marker to bundle home Calabria’s cross from close range.

Milan’s advantage did not last for long, though, as Lasagna took full advantage of an inexplicable pass across his own area by Alessio Romagnoli to drill a left-footed strike past Donnarumma.

The goal did little to dampen Milan’s attacking instincts and they reclaimed the lead after 31 minutes. Kalinic got on the end of Franck Kessie’s header from a corner to prod home from almost on the line.

Milan twice came close to scoring their third in the early stages of the second half, but Giacomo Bonaventura’s audacious overhead kick just screwed wide and Romagnoli’s header was repelled by Simone Scuffet.

Udinese nearly pulled level for the second time after 63 minutes, but Donnarumma was equal to Fofana’s fierce drive. Soon after substitute Balic saw a looping header arc agonisingly over the Milan goalkeeper’s bar.

Milan squandered opportunities through Calabria and substitute Hakan Calhanoglu to extend their advantage, while Kalinic was denied a hat-trick after the VAR system was once again used to rule out his late strike.

Key Opta stats:

– Kalinc has scored his first Serie A brace since December against Sassuolo.
– In total, 27 of Kalinic’s 29 Serie A goals have come from inside the box.
– This is the first AC Milan’s win against Udinese after three Serie A clashes with a draw and two losses.
– AC Milan have picked up 9+ points after four Serie A MDs for the first time since the 2006-07 season (10 points).

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Austria Wien 1 AC Milan 5: Calhanoglu and Silva lead brilliant Rossoneri to victory

Hakan Calhanoglu and hat-trick hero Andre Silva starred as AC Milan bounced back from their first defeat of the campaign with the 5-1 thrashing of Austria Wien in their Europa League Group D opener.

The Rossoneri shot out of the blocks in Vienna as Calhanoglu netted the opener before twice laying on first-half goals for Silva, who completed his treble after the break, with substitute Suso adding a fifth.

Vincenzo Montella’s men had made a bright start to the season, with six straight wins including Europa League qualifiers, but that run was halted in spectacular fashion with a 4-1 Serie A loss at Lazio on Sunday.

However, returning to the full draw of European competition after three years away, Milan hit their stride again here with a dominant display.

Wien simply had no answer for Calhanoglu or the movement of forward pair Silva and Nikola Kalinic – making his full Rossoneri debut – in a one-sided opening 45 minutes, but they did muster a response shortly after the restart with Alexander Borkovic’s header.

Silva’s third – his fifth of the campaign – followed, however, and Suso arrived from the bench to instantly add his own name to the scoresheet, capping a fine win.

Only a smart low Osman Hadzikic stop kept Calhanoglu from opening the scoring with Milan’s first attack after he had ghosted onto the end of Ignazio Abate’s cross.

But the Turkey international did not have to wait long to break the deadlock, leading a counter and trading passes with Kalinic before blasting a strike across Hadzikic into the top-right corner.

And Calhanoglu was quickly involved again to tee up the second. Refusing to give up on Franck Kessie’s pass, the former Bayer Leverkusen man scooped the ball away from Abdul Mohammed to slip in Silva for a cool finish.

Gianluigi Donnarumma was almost caught out by Christoph Monschein’s touch from a Raphael Holzhauser free-kick, but yet another Calhanoglu-inspired break soon led to the third goal before the 20-minute mark.

Another wonderful pass picked out Silva on the run, with Kalinic this time peeling away to create a distraction, and Hadzikic was easily beaten again.

Wien kept the visitors out until the interval, though, and then, after testing Donnarumma through Lee Jin-Hyun, hit back with a stooping Borkovic header.

Kalinic and Calhanoglu each then fired efforts off target, but it was Silva, receiving a cute Kessie pass, who restored the three-goal lead and earned the matchball with Milan’s first European hat-trick in almost 11 years.

Suso – Kalinic’s replacement – had been on the pitch for just over a minute when his long-range blast deflected off Mohammed and over Hadzikic for the fifth and final goal.

Key Opta stats:

– The last time AC Milan scored 5+ goals away from home in European competitions was in October 1993, against Copenhagen.
– The Rossoneri have scored 15 goals over the five Europa League matches they have played this season, conceding only one in the process.
– Hakan Calhanoglu has both scored and delivered an assist for the third time in European competitions: the previous two were for Bayer Leverkusen in 2015 (vs BATE Borisov) and 2015 (vs CSKA Moscow).

– Suso netted his first goal in Europa League, he already featured in this competition, with Liverpool back in 2012-13.