It was not an impressive performance from Serie A champions AC Milan as they scraped a last-gasp victory over Fiorentina.
Milan got the points with Rafael Leao after 90 seconds and a chaotic Nikola Milenkovic’s own goal in stoppages.
This was a game full of chances at both ends. Still, the champions did what they had to do to get the job done despite having almost an entire squad as Olivier Giroud and Theo Hernandez returned from suspension. In contrast, Rafael Leao returned to the starting lineup after being rested for the midweek draw with Cremonese.
The Viola went into the game on the back of five consecutive wins between Serie A and the Conference League. Despite the absence of Riccardo Sottil, Nico Gonzalez, and Gaetano Castrovilli, while Giacomo Bonaventura pulled out in the warm-up, they gave Milan a run for their money.
It was a rewarding sendoff for Ivan Gazidis as CEO of Milan.
With barely 90 seconds into the match, Milan got the first goal. Giroud knocked down the ball that sent Rafael Leao running. The Portuguese swept it into the far bottom corner with the inside of the right boot.
Ciprian Tatarusanu stopped Milan from making it two when he used his knee to deny Arthur Cabral from close range.
The visitors almost equalised when Cristiano Biraghi’s cross-shot smashed against the near post after Barak had turned Fikayo Tomori.
They eventually equalised after dominating possession. Barak, who replaced Bonaventura due to an injury in the warm-up, turned Pierre Kalulu, and his finish took a deflection off Malick Thiaw to squirm under Tatarusanu.
After a crucial block from Pierre Kalulu on Biraghi, Nikola Milenkovic did the same on Sandro Tonali.
Later in the match, Lorenzo Venuti made an acrobatic goal-line clearance when Brahim Diaz dinked it over Pietro Terracciano. Theo Hernandez was ready to ensure the ball crossed the line.
Terracciano was again called into action in the second half as he made a desperate save from point-blank range on Giroud. The goalie met the low Kalulu ball from the right, while Leao’s strike got deflected wide.
A reaction fingertip save from Tatarusanu prevented Kalulu from scoring an own goal as Luka Jovic sold him a dummy, then Giroud’s acrobatic volley flashed wide.
After Leao missed a sitter on 77 minutes when the ball fell kindly for him from 14 yards, the game saw actions from both ends as it was wide open.
Milan would eventually get the three-point late in the stoppages as Aster Vranckx whipped in a cross from the right, which evaded Ante Rebic and Terracciano but bounced in off Milenkovic.
Written by Oladipupo Mojeed