Milan had strengthened themselves with some promising new arrivals in the summer – and sent some of them straight into the race for the Serie A start in Bologna. One of them – an ex-Dortmund player – outshone the rest.
Milan coach Stefano Pioli, who last recorded a 4-2 win over Novara FC in the dress rehearsal, relied directly on some new forces at the start of the season. Loftus-Cheek and Pulisic, who came from Chelsea FC, were also in the starting eleven, as was Reijnders (Alkmaar).
And lo and behold: They all knew how to convince, pushed collectively with familiar greats such as the retained Rafael Leao and the still hungry Giroud at the age of 36. However, not without having to survive a dicey situation in the opening seconds: The outsiders, coached by Thiago Motta, had the 1:0 after only a few seconds. Defender Lykogiannis was in on the act and thundered the ball against the crossbar from long range.
An early lead would have been worth its weight in gold for the underdogs after their recent 2-0 win over Cesena in the first round of the Coppa Italia.
Giroud and Pulisic finish strongly
But the score remained 0-0, which, as mentioned at the beginning, highlighted the Rossoneri’s strength more and more. With fast and technically high-quality combinations, the FCB was sometimes finely outmanoeuvred.
Goal(s) included: It all started in the 11th minute. After a precise Pulisic cross on the left to the baseline, Reijnders scratched the ball inside, where the highly experienced Giroud successfully shot in from an acute angle for 1:0.
Ten minutes later, Pulisic and Giroud played a brilliant one-two with many opponents before the US American, who played for BVB between 2015 and 2019, headed into the top left-hand corner.
Three points and no goals conceded to start
The rest is quickly told: Milan mostly relaxed with 2-0 behind them, while Bologna’s men could hardly come up with anything worth winning in droves
With a few exceptions: Lykogiannis did not fire accurately enough from a promising free-kick (45th), Ndoye only hit the left far post from an acute angle (60th) and Aebischer despaired of AC keeper Maignan (61st). On the other side, Rafael Leao missed the 3:0, also only hitting the post (90th).
And so Milan finally bagged a deserved 2-0 to start Serie A. Next up: FC Bologna have their next challenge next Sunday (18.30) at Juventus Turin. Milan, meanwhile, host FC Torino on Saturday (20.45).