AC Milan made it two wins out of three in Serie A as they edged out a 1-0 win over Hellas Verona at the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi.
Mariusz Stepinski saw red inside the opening 45 minutes for the home side which gave Marco Giampaolo’s side a boost, however they went in level at the break after a lacklustre opening half.
Nonetheless, a second-half penalty for a handball on a Hakan Calhanoglu strike gave Krzysztof Piatek the chance to step up and score the winner, though he later saw a goal ruled out via VAR.
Davide Calabria also saw red for a high challenge in the final few moments of the game for an adjudged clothesline on Matteo Pessina.
The result sees Milan move up to sixth in the table; level with Napoli and Torino above on six points and three behind Inter heading into next week’s Derby della Madonnina.
The Rossoneri found themselves on top in the opening stages and had a spell of pressure in the opening five minutes which resulted in three corners; the best of which was flapped away by Verona keeper Marco Silvestri.
Gianluigi Donnarumma was then called into action in the eighth minute when he cut out a low cross from Miguel Veloso, saving a tame follow-up attempt from Mattia Zaccagni.
Just after the quarter hour mark Lucas Paqueta was the subject of two nasty chop downs from the opposition; the first a hand to the face 20 yards out and the second a scything tackle on the half way line to prevent a counter-attack.
A moment of controversy came 20 minutes in when new signing Marius Stepinski went in with a high boot on Mateo Musacchio which left stud marks on the Argentine’s ear. After VAR consultation, a red card was rightly awarded to Hellas’ new signing, who came from rivals Chievo.
Ten-man Verona had a good chance to break the deadlock on the counter though as Valerio Verre brought the ball down in space but hit his touch and volley comfortably over the bar.
The remained of the first half ticked away and Marco Giampaolo made an important change at half time as Lucas Paqueta made way for Ante Rebic; who came on for his Rossoneri debut.
Suso took matters into his own hands less than three minutes into the second half, curving an effort from 25 yards just far of the far left post.
Substitute Rebic had a huge change to break the deadlock 55 minutes in when he ghosted around the back to latch on to a Suso cross, however the Croatian scuffed his effort with only the keeper to beat.
Moments later Milan came even closer through Davide Calabria as the full-back launched a sweet volley towards the far corner that cannoned back off the post.
Not long after it was Hellas’ turn to hit the post as Verre latched on to a cross at the far post which he almost snuck past Donnarumma at the near side.
The game was open at this point, and Suso drew a save from Silvestri with his shot from the edge of the box on the hour mark.
Milan were award a penalty in the 65th minute as a shot from Hakan Calhanoglu was clearly blocked by Gunter, and Piatek stepped up to slam the spot kick home and score his first goal of the season.
After Milan started to dictate the game from that point, there was even more controversy inside the final ten minutes as Piatek stabbed home a rebound to seemingly make it 2-0, however VAR ruled that he had kicked the ball out of the goalkeeper’s hands.
The drama wasn’t done there, as in the final few seconds of the game Calabria was shown a red card for a hand in the face of the Matteo Pessina (who was offside in the build up), but the free-kick was fired wide at the second attempt.