AC Milan were far from their best but Sandro Tonali’s late goal secured victory for them at Verona.
Milan went in front after nine minutes after a typical burst into the area from Rafael Leao and his flicked centre was deflected in off the chest of Miguel Veloso.
Verona looked much better than a third-bottom side in Salvatore Bocchetti’s first game in charge after taking over from Gabriele Cioffi and deservedly got back on level terms when Koray Gunter’s effort was deflected past his goalkeeper by Matteo Gabbia.
The hosts went closest to taking the lead with Gunter unable to nod home from close range and substitute Roberto Piccolo seeing his header come back off the bar.
With nine minutes remaining the Rossoneri sealed a victory, which lifts them up to third in the table, when Ante Rebic slid a ball from the right flank perfectly in front of Tonali who calmly slotted home.
What champions do – It was probably Milan’s worst performance of the season, including their 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, and they should have been at least a goal down before Tonali’s late intervention. However, this side showed us last season the character they have and, in fairness, they were pressing consistently before the goal game. It remains a worry how they will score enough goals to retain their title as on night’s such as this when Rafael Leao was unsually quiet, after creating their opener, they lack creativity and potency. That said, In a season where their rivals at the top Napoli, Atalanta and Lazio have not experienced winning titles recently the Rossoneri’s battling qualities may keep in the touch.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Koray Gunter (Verona) – He was a commanding presence in defence and a threat at the other end too. Putting in crosses from the left flank and scoring their equaliser. Still his first thought will be how he managed to avoid putting his side in front when he got too far in front of Simone Verdi’s cross and could not bundle the cross home.
Verona: Montipo 7; Hien 6, Gunter 8*, Magnani 7; Faraoni 6, Veloso 7, Tameze 7, Depaoli 6; Hrustic 6, Verdi 6; Henry 7
Subs: Piccoli 6, Djuric 6, Hongla 5, Kallon 6, Cabal 6.
Milan: Tatarusanu 6; Kalulu 6, Gabbia 6, Tomori 7, Theo Hernandez 7; Adli 6, Tonali 7, Krunic 6; Brahim Diaz 6, Giroud 6, Rafael Leao 6.
Subs: Pobega 6, Rebic 7, Bennacer 6, Origi 6, Thiaw 7.
9′ GOAL FOR MILAN! They hardly attacked up to this point but went in front as Leao raced into the area then flicked a dangerous cross into the six-yard box which was put into his own net by the unfortunate Veloso.
11′ SO CLOSE TO A SECOND FOR MILAN! Again on the break, Giroud is played in by Diaz and dinks the ball over the keeper but inches wide of the post.
20′ GOAL FOR VERONA! A deflected goal at the other end as Gunter drove a ball towards the far post and Gabbia looking to block the ball, or perhaps get out of the way it’s not clear, flicks the ball past his own keeper.
45+1′ VERONA SHOULD BE IN FRONT! Gunter at the back post is found by Verdi’s cross after a short corner but from two yards out he heads the ball back across the goal. Veloso puts the rebound over the bar.
57′ OFF THE BAR! Veloso with a fine cross and Piccoli’s header comes back off the bar. Then from the follow up, Gunter hits a tremendous volley which lands on the top of the net.
81′ GOAL FOR MILAN! Tonali slots home with his left foot after a fine ball from the right flank from Rebic. It has been coming but still feels harsh on Verona.