Leao acrobatics seal another AC Milan win as AS Roma’s dismal start goes on

AC Milan and AS Roma's respective starts to this Serie A season couldn't be any more different, and Stefano Pioli's Rossoneri made relatively light work of the Lupi in the capital.


STADIO OLIMPICO (Rome): AC Milan continued their perfect start to the season as they earned a 2-1 win over AS Roma to leave the Giallorossi winless after three Serie A games.

A packed Olimpico was introduced to new blockbuster signing Romelu Lukaku before kick-off, but any excitement from the Belgian’s presentation soon wore off as the hosts were outclassed by a slick Rossoneri outfit for an hour.

Olivier Giroud put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot early on and Rafael Leao‘s acrobatic overhead finish early in the second half deservedly doubled their advantage.

Fikayo Tomori was dismissed on the hour mark for a second yellow card and Lukaku‘s subsequent introduction finally put some life into the Lupi attack, but Leonardo Spinazzola‘s injury-time goal wasn’t enough to spark a comeback.

Stefano Pioli‘s side head into the international break with three wins from three and an 8-1 aggregate score, in stark contrast to Roma‘s paltry return of one point.  

Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring for AC Milan away at AS Roma. (Photo: AC Milan)

It didn’t take long for the game to come alive, as a neat one-two sent Ruben Loftus-Cheek through on goal and he was caught by Rui Patricio while chasing down the rebound on an initial shot that was saved, resulting in a penalty being awarded from a VAR review.

Giroud stepped up and cooly dispatched his spot kick into the top corner in front of a furious Curva Sud, taking his tally to three converted penalties in the last two games and four overall for the season.

The lead was no more than the Rossoneri deserved for a controlled start as they dominated possession and created the better chances, going close once more when Patricio stuck out an arm to divert a Christian Pulisic volley over the bar from close range.

Andrea Belotti in action for AS Roma. (@OfficialASRoma)

Milan looked slick and confident on the ball in stark contrast to a Roma side that struggled to string several passes together and lost Houssem Aouar to injury during the first half to be replaced by skipper Lorenzo Pellegrini, who had been surprisingly benched.

Some boos rang out at the break after a half where Roma failed to notch a shot on target, but the second period didn’t start promisingly as within two minutes Leao had doubled Milan‘s lead with a wonderful bicycle kick into the bottom corner.

Rafael Leao celebrates for AC Milan. (Photo: AC Milan)

Roma were handed a lifeline with half an hour to play when Tomori was shown a second yellow for an accumulation of fouls – a risk he had been running before the booking arrived.

The numerical advantage spurred life into Roma as Stephan El Shaarawy‘s shot was beaten away by Mike Maignan, and Mourinho then turned to Lukaku with 20 minutes to go despite the Belgian having yet to train with his new team-mates.

The striker immediately made his presence felt as he got a shot away that flew over the bar with his first touch, and his hold-up play and movement in the final third made Roma look far more threatening.

Romelu Lukaku in action with AS Roma. (@OfficialASRoma)

Fellow substitute Spinazzola reduced the deficit late on with a heavily deflected strike from the edge of the box, but Milan managed to survive a stoppage-time siege to escape with three points.

Lukaku‘s impact will give Roma fans at least one thing to be optimistic about after their poor start to the season, while Milan continue to look mightily impressive as the early Serie A pace-setters.


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