STADIO SAN SIRO (Milan): AC Milan reignited their hopes of qualification for the Champions League knockout rounds with a bold performance that saw the Rossoneri come back from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in Group F, which now sees all four sides separated by just three points.

The visitors’ early advantage, coming through former Inter player Milan Skriniar, was immediately cancelled out by Rafael Leao, who put an end to his eight-game scoring drought before Olivier Giroud found the winner at the beginning of the second half to fire his side into third position. With five points, AC Milan are now only one off of second-placed PSG.

The whole pre-match build-up was dominated by the hostile reception given to Gianluigi Donnarumma, who returned to Milan more than two years after his departure from the Diavolo as a free agent.

The home fans had prepared bundles of banknotes with Donnarumma‘s (referred to as Dollarumma) face printed on them, which were handed out throughout the afternoon and evening outside the stadium. Inside the San Siro, they were then thrown into the pitch as soon as Donnarumma entered for the warm-up.

AC Milan’s Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic celebrate in the Champions League. [@acmilan]

Leao answers Skriniar’s early opener

PSG started with pace and conviction but it was AC Milan who claimed the first big chance of the game after six minutes. Leao was hard to handle as he dribbled down the left in his usual fashion, but his pinpoint cutback was met and sent over the bar by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The Englishman swept in another dangerous cross shortly after, but PSG immediately proved how good they were to rapidly go from back to front, as Mike Maignan was immediately tested by Kylian Mbappe.

In an extremely lively few opening minutes, the hosts ended up being punished for their naivety – Skriniar was left completely unmarked at the far post, where he popped up to easily turn home Marquinhos’ flick after a corner.

But rather than being intimidated, the Rossoneri looked inspired by all the space left by the French side to counterattack into and after Yunus Musah sent a shot straight into Donnarumma‘s hands, the hosts found a deserved equaliser to send the San Siro into raptures.

Milan produced another lethal counterattack and while Donnarumma was able to pull off a great save to deny Olivier Giroud‘s first attempt, Leao showed no hesitation in pouncing on the rebound to level the scores through a spectacular bicycle kick that was also the Rossoneri’s first goal in the current Champions League campaign.

Both sides continued to go from end to end, with every play looking like it could cause problems.

PSG’s Milan Skriniar and Kylian Mbappe celebrate against AC Milan. [@PSG_English]

Minutes before the half-hour mark, Ousmane Dembele‘s left-footed effort came off the bar and unintentionally sparked another break from the hosts but Giroud‘s shot from a tight angle only found the outside of the net.

Leao kept threatening the French side’s backline on every possible occasion, but his low drive just fizzed past the near post, sparking another round of heavy jeers for Donnarumma while he picked up the ball beyond the by-line.

Giroud earns AC Milan crucial win

A frantic opening half came to an end and made room for an equally exciting start to the second that immediately saw the hosts rewarded for their constant efforts and determination along the initial 50 minutes.

Milan‘s attack went from right to left, where Theo Hernandez picked up the ball and put in a cross that was perfectly headed home by Giroud to complete a turnaround that sparked the kind of excitement among the fans that had been lacking in recent weeks.

Olivier Giroud celebrates for AC Milan in the Champions League. [@acmilan]

A triple substitution was the response Luis Enrique opted for to try to turn the tide, with Fabian Ruiz, Kang-in Lee and Goncalo Ramos all coming in at once, but Donnarumma was tested again as he was needed to keep out Theo‘s free-kick.

PSG‘s efforts to mount a final string of attacks were frustrated by a Milan side that gradually became more cautious in their setup, covering every gap and still trying to hurt on the break, with substitute Noah Okafor forcing another great save from Donnarumma.

Lee‘s low drive against the woodwork was the only real scare PSG were able to produce and allowed Milan to eventually breathe a sigh of relief.

Milan‘s destiny is now in their own hands, as two wins in their last two Champions League games will see them progress to the knockout rounds.