AC Milan began their title defence in the ideal fashion as they beat Udinese 4-2 in front of a crowd of over 70,000 at San Siro.
Things started in a dreadful manner for Milan as Rodrigo Becao stung Milan for the third time with a near post header from a corner, but Theo Hernandez converted a penalty and Ante Rebic scored from inside the area to make it 2-1.
The Rossoneri conceded at the worst possible time when Adam Masina’s header ensured the sides went in level at the break, though Brahim Diaz scored just after the interval and Rebic scored a second from seven yards out to put the game to bed.
There were some debuts late in the game as Charles De Ketelaere and Divock Origi each came off the bench, and in the end it was a fitting result to mark the occasion at San Siro.
Stefano Pioli decided not to field any of the new signings in his starting XI, with the main stories being that Sandro Tonali missed out through injury with Rade Krunic taking his place, and Olivier Giroud was not fit enough to start so Ante Rebic lead the line.
It took just 90 seconds for Milan to fall behind, and it was Rodrigo Becao who again struck in matchday one. The Brazilian centre-back was not marked at a corner and he rose highest at the near post to glance past Mike Maignan.
Milan had a huge chance to level the game four minutes later as Brahim Diaz found space down the right side of the box to fire a low shot that was fired at Silvestri and parried into a dangerous area, with Davide Calabria adjudged by the referee – after a VAR consultation – to have been wiped out by Soppy.
Theo Hernandez was the man who took on the responsibility from 12 yards, and after a wait of almost two minutes the Frenchman despatched the spot kick sending Silvestri the wrong way with a confident penalty.
The second goal came not long after the leveller, and this time it was Ante Rebic on hand to fire home from the penalty spot. However, this time it came after a flowing move down the right flank that ended with Calabria cutting the ball back to the Croatian, who finished first time with confidence.
There were numerous flare-ups during the first half as both sides took exceptions to some rough but not malicious tackles that went in, and the referee had a hard time staying on top of the game, with Krunic and Becao each seeing yellow for an altercation.
Milan became wasteful towards the back end of the first half, as both Bennacer and Leao wasted good chances to put in a cross from the right and left flanks respectively, sailing the ball over the head of everyone in the box.
In he final minute of four added at the end of the first half, Udinese got themselves level. A ball from the right wing from Pereyra was put into a dangerous area, and Masina made a run at the far post that allowed him to steal a yard on Messias and nod past Maignan to make it 2-2.
It took just 30 seconds for Milan to retake the lead in the second half, and it was Brahim Diaz who got his first goal since 25 September 2021. A cross from Theo Hernandez on the left side was not dealt with by Silvestri and both Nuytinck and Perez got in a mix-up at the far post, with the ball ricocheting into a dangerous area for Brahim Diaz to stab home from a couple of yards out.
The game then once again descended into a midfield battle, with both teams aiming to get supremacy as the visitors looked to get a foothold in order to manufacture an equaliser while Pioli’s men were happy to wait and pick off on the break.
The next shot on goal came just after the hour mark when a free-kick around 25 yards out was whipped with some pace and dip by Theo Hernandez, however it fizzed over the bar and ultimately didn’t trouble Silvestri.
Moments later it was nearly 4-2 as Silvestri had to be at his most attentive to react when Messias whipped a hopeful ball from the right flank towards the run of Leao, who only just missed making contact with his outstretched leg.
In the 67th minute the advantage was doubled, and it was thanks to the endeavour of Messias and Brahim Diaz on the right side of the box. They put Perez under pressure near the byline and he surrendered the ball, with the Spanish playmaker rolling the ball into the path of Rebic who tucked into top corner for his second of the game.
A triple substitution followed from Pioli, as he brought Charles De Ketelaere, Alexis Saelemaekers and Olivier Giroud on in place of Brahim Diaz, Messias and Rebic, who all left to a standing ovation.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Leao could have put the game to bed when he cut inside onto his left from from the right side of the penalty are, yet the Portugal international fizzed his effort just over the bar.
Two more changes came inside the final 10 minutes as Divock Origi and Tommaso Pobega came on in place of Leao and Krunic.