AC Milan started the new year on the right foot as they took down AS Roma 3-1. Milan are now just one point behind Inter Milan in the Serie A standings.
Milan have now won three Serie A games in a row against AS Roma for the first time since 1996.
“I was confident and optimistic because I saw and felt that the team had handled the break well, in terms of recovering energy and working out,” Stefano Pioli, head coach for Milan, said. “Everyone was ready to give their all.”
Roma was in playing a 10-man roster from the 74th minute on following a Rick Karsdorp red card. Gianluca Mancini’s red card (90’+4′) made it nine.
“This is an important victory which we must build on,” Pioli added.
Milan’s Olivier Giroud opened the scoring early (8′) before Junior Messias made it 2-0 soon after (17′). Tammy Abraham (40′) made it 2-1 at the break before a late goal from Rafael Leao (82′).
“I was offered the job to coach AC Milan 3 years ago,” Roma manager Jose Mourinho said after getting booed by AC Milan fans Thursday. “I thought about it for three days, but I’m so happy that I decided not to take it. I’m a professional, but there’s still space for emotion. I am passionate about Roma and I will give everything for this club.”
Special performance from Giroud after dealing with quite some adversity in the past year. Six Serie A starts (11 appearances), five goals and one assist in spite of three different injuries this season.
“I’m very happy because I played without issue and I felt great in the game,” Giroud said. “With the whole team, we did well from the start which is important. Today I’m happy I scored and I helped the team win.”
According to a post on Twitter, Messias’ rise has been nothing short of phenomenal. Just six years back, he was playing in Italy’s amateur leagues and working as a delivery driver. In the last 60 days, he not only netted a winner against Atletico Madrid, but also scored his first Serie A goal at the San Siro.
“We lost some points in the last period, so it was important to start the year well,” Giroud added. “I’m happy with the goal, I was a little unlucky on the second goal, but then Messias did well.”
AS Roma, seventh in Serie A, are back in action this upcoming Sunday, 9 January, against Juventus.
Milan will look t keep pressure on Inter as they match up with Venezia on Sunday, 9 January. Milan and Inter are scheduled for a match in early February.