December 4, 2022

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AC Milan begin Serie A title defence with victory over Udinese

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Milan recovered from conceding just two minutes into their Serie A title defence to beat Udinese 4-2 at San Siro on Saturday.

The opening game of the season in the Italian top flight for the Rossoneri saw a penalty from Theo Hernandez, two goals from Ante Rebic and another from Brahim Diaz guide them to three points, despite conceding twice to the visitors through Rodrigo Becao and Adam Masina.

New signings Charles de Ketelaere and Divock Origi were named on the bench for Stefano Pioli’s side, with the former introduced for the final 20 minutes and the latter for the final seven in front of their new fans.

It was a losing start for new Udinese head coach Andrea Sottil, though he will have been buoyed by his team’s ability to keep Milan honest in a game that was more open in the first half than Pioli would have liked.

It was far from an ideal start for the hosts as Udinese took the lead in just the second minute when Becao headed a Gerard Deulofeu corner in at the near post.

That advantage did not last long though as a VAR check led to a Milan penalty being awarded on 10 minutes after Brandon Soppy was judged to have fouled Davide Calabria, with Hernandez calmly dispatching the spot kick.

The champions were in front just four minutes later when neat play from Diaz gave Calabria the chance to cross to Rebic, who swept the ball past Marco Silvestri.

Deulofeu made a mess of a chance when in on goal, but Udinese were level just before half-time when two more former Watford players combined, with Roberto Pereyra crossing for Masina to head in at the far post.

If Milan made a slow start in the first half, Udinese managed to trump it in the second as Nehuen Pereza and Masina made a mess of a Hernandez cross from the left, allowing Diaz to prod the hosts back in front just 34 seconds after the restart.

Diaz had been a thorn in Udinese’s side all game, and won the ball inside the opposition’s box on 68 minutes before squaring to Rebic to lift his finish into the roof of the net to seal the win.

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