Hellas Verona 1-3 AC Milan: Theo, Pulisic and Chukwueze net as second is solidified

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan made it five wins in a row across all competitions as they emerged 3-1 winners against Hellas Verona at the Stadio MarcAntonio Bentegodi on Sunday afternoon.

It was Theo Hernandez who got the opening goal of the game moments before the half-time interval as he took advantage of a couple of lucky ricochets to find himself one on one with the goalkeeper, who he poked the ball past.

Christian Pulisic got the second early in the second half as he had the simple job of tapping into an empty net when Noah Okafor’s shot was saved into his path, though Noslin’s rocket of a shot made things nervy again.

It was Samuel Chukwueze who killed off the game with a beautiful volley off the bench to get his first Serie A goal, and the Rossoneri move three points above Juventus after they dropped points against Genoa.

Stefano Pioli made four changes to the team that beat Slavia Praha in the Europa League on Thursday night. Pierre Kalulu made his first start in 140 days alongside Fikayo Tomori, Tijjani Reijnders and Ismael Bennacer came into the midfield while Noah Okafor led the line.

Milan had the first big chance to take the lead inside four minutes, and it fell to Tomori. Rafael Leao was brought down on the break and Theo Hernandez whipped in a brilliant free-kick that the English defender got on the end of but side-footed it wide of the far post.

Pioli’s side had the better of the opening 15 minutes without a doubt as the left-sided duo of Leao and Theo Hernandez looked particular bright, but they were unable to fashion clear-cut chances when inside the final third as Verona stood firm.

Montipò was called into action in the 19th minute when a corner from the right was flicked on by Tomori and volleyed fiercely by Okafor. The attempt was dipping under the bar, yet the Verona goalkeeper stuck out a hand and tipped it onto the woodwork.

The crossbar again came to Verona’s rescue, this time to deny Christian Pulisic. Theo’s central pass was dummied by Ruben Loftus-Cheek allowing the American to latch onto it and thunder a shot against the frame of the goal, with the ball actually hitting the underside of the bar but bouncing to safety.

Verona had odd moments where they threatened, such as in the 26th minute when Duda worked the ball out to the right for Noslin, who entered the area and tried to find the far corner but dragged it wide.

The Rossoneri continued to push for the opener and Okafor wasn’t a million miles away from getting it when he latched onto Pulisic’s feed inside the box and struck the near side-netting.

Just over a minute before the break, Milan finally took one of their chances. There was an element of fortune about it as Theo got to the byline and just about kept the ball in play, taking advantage of a ricochet to then poke the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper from close range.

Pioli elected to make a change at the break, with Kalulu making way for Matteo Gabbia, and it emerged from the broadcast feed that the Frenchman had sustained a knee sprain.

After a cagey opening to the second half, Milan doubled their advantage as Christian Pulisic got his 12th goal of the season in all competitions. Okafor was the one who did all the work though, winning possession back off the defender and sprinting through before seeing his shot parried into the path of the winger who tapped into an empty net.

The home side had to push to try and get back into the game and a nice cross from the right by Centonze should have probably been buried by Noslin at the far post, yet the ball went high over the crossbar.

Noslin made up for that miss by scoring a screamer to halve the deficit. A cross was not properly cleared and both Reijnders and Loftus-Cheek were unable to stop the forward lashing a half-volley from just outside the edge of the box, which nestled just inside the post with Maignan at full stretch.

A couple of changes then followed, with Olivier Giroud and Yunus Musah the players brought on in place of Pulisic and Loftus-Cheek.

Leao really should have restored Milan’s two-goal advantage with 20 minutes left on the clock. Giroud did an excellent job to hold the ball up and then send the Portuguese winger through on goal, yet when it looked easier to finish than miss he somehow fired wide of the post.

Another substitution followed as Okafor – who had been moved out to the right wing after Pulisic came off – was removed in favour of Samuel Chukwueze.

Chukwueze’s first real impact off the bench was to score the goal that finally killed the contest, and what a goal it was. A corner from the left was cleared to the Nigerian on the edge of the area and he hit it first time on the volley into the far corner past a diving Montipo.

Simon Kjaer also came on in the closing stages and Maignan went down holding his groin after making a late save, so we await further details on his condition. However, Milan saw out the remainder of the game without much drama.


Tags AC Milan Verona Milan


  1. Lol, wtf is wrong with Leao? Was he fallen asleep that he can’t even score a simple goal?

    Outside that, we played well and could killed the game if Leao scored.

    1. You kidding? Players miss sometimes. Leao was working hard all game, which is nice – even in 82nd minutes he was making defensive blocks and challenges well into our half to disrupt play.

  2. First half was the best performance in ages, because of:
    1. Playing a mobile striker
    2. Playing 2 CBs who don’t just pass to each other then attempt to bypass the midfield with a failed long ball.

    Please keep Okafor at CF and just a shame Kalulu got injured

      1. Okafor had a good game. Moved around a lot had plenty of shots in target and set up the seeding goal.

        Not sure what metric you’re going by. Goals scored only?

        1. Can’t type for s**t today.

          “ Okafor had a good game. Moved around a lot had plenty of shots on target and set up the second goal.”

  3. Solid match even though Verona also had “its moments”! We received a few yellow cards today, but I still think that sometimes we lack a little firmness in duels. I’m happy for Chuck and his first goal in the league. Even today, the fact that we have the best right defender in the world was confirmed. Theo must get a new improved contract and stay with us for the rest of his career. Amen !

  4. Really good game and result. Okafor looked very good in the press; not quite as tactically astute as Giroud in terms of closing passing lanes, but obviously much more natural ability to cover ground. Really stopped Verona getting play with the ball.

    Hernandez man of the match for me, he kept disrupting lines by making huge forward runs that Verona weren’t covering. Stupid yellow card though.

    Hard work across the pitch and everyone fighting for each other,

    Verona’s goal made us very nervy, but it was such a low xG chance it wasn’t really representative of any defensive lapse.

    Great to have Chukwueze on the score sheet too, and the team looked delighted for him.

    Anyone know why Pulisic looked so upset to come off? Hoping he’s not injured, but resting him makes a lot of sense.

    1. I was curious about Puli’s reaction too actually. That’s what I thought, maybe he has a knock or something. But he wasn’t limping when he came off. Not sure what that was about.

      1. He’s very hard on himself and wants to be on the field every minute(though he’s also realistic about his injury history).

        I’m guessing that he was upset about the post and a few poor crosses, especially one just a few minutes before coming off.

        I’m also guessing that he felt like he was getting yanked out because he didn’t do enough, defensively, to kill off the opportunity that became the Verona goal only a few minutes earlier.

        1. Pulisic was angry because he was watching the opponent score 2m away and did/could do nothing to prevent it. Though the goal was 100% Benny’s fault as he made a poor clearance while Gabbia was behind him ready to clear it out properly. Also RLC wasn’t defending properly there but it seemed Pulisic was still angry about it and I can understand why.

    2. I think he missed the chance Leao set up for him and then Verona scored so he was angry 1. For not scoring the chance, 2. That it could have cost us the game of Verona equalized and 3. he was not on the field anymore to influence the game. Usual stuff from protagonists. Don’t see anything wrong there tbh. I’m glad he reacted like that. Shows he cares alot

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