AC Milan managed to get their first away win of the season as they won 2-1 against Sampdoria despite going down to 10 men early in the second half.
The first goal of the game came in just the sixth minute as Junior Messias latched onto a ball that made its way to the far side of the box, finishing past Audero with a low drive that he might have wanted to keep out.
There was a big moment in the opening minute of the second half when Rafael Leao was given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card for a high boot, and Filip Djuricic levelled ten minutes later with a header.
The VAR crew did excellently to spot a handball after an Olivier Giroud header from a corner and a penalty was awarded, with the Frenchman converting from the spot and that would prove to be the deciding goal as Milan drew joint top with Napoli.
Stefano Pioli made three changes to the starting line-up compared to the team that drew with Red Bull Salzburg in midweek as Simon Kjaer came in for Fikayo Tomori, Tommaso Pobega came in for Ismael Bennacer and Junior Messias took the place of Alexis Saelemaekers.
The first big chance of the game came in the third minute, as a counter-attack led by Charles De Ketelaere saw the Belgian feed Rafael Leao, who carried the ball inside the box before seeing his effort blocked behind.
Sampdoria provided a reminder of the threat they pose not long after as Theo Hernandez did brilliantly to block a shot from a cross and then as the ball rebounded back to Sabiri, he shot over the bar.
The opening goal came in the seventh minute and it was Milan who got it with a devastating counter. The ball was fed to Leao on the left wing and he burst through his two markers before feeding Giroud, who cut a ball back into the box that eventually found Junior Messias, and the Brazilian tucked it in at the near post to make it 1-0.
Milan thought that they had doubled their advantage midway through the first half when a cross from Leao hit the shoulder of Charles De Ketelaere and went in with Audero stranded, but on replay they decided there was an offside in the build-up against Giroud and the goal was chalked off.
The game became scrappy in the lead up to the halfway point, but Sampdoria kept trying to carve an opening through their set pieces and Caputo should have perhaps hit the target with a near post flick from a free-kick that looped wide in the end.
Theo Hernandez would have hoped to do better just over four minutes before the break when a corner found its way to Leao who crossed to the far side of the box for the Frenchman, who volleyed his effort well over.
There were two big chances for the Rossoneri to double their advantage right before half time and both fell to Giroud. The first saw Audero make an excellent save from the striker’s shot after a cut-back from the left, and the second saw Giroud fire wide at the near post from Leao’s feed when he really should have done better.
There was a big blow for Milan in the opening stages of the second half as Leao was given a second yellow card for what the referee deemed to be dangerous play after the Portuguese winger attempted to score through an overhead kick.
In the 58th minute, Sampdoria made their man advantage count as they drew on level terms. A cross from Augelo on the left flank was met by the head of Djuricic who glanced it past Mike Maignan at the near post, and VAR deemed it to be onside despite the replays suggesting a very marginal call.
Straight after the goal, the decision was made to bring off Junior Messias in place of Fikayo Tomori to add a bit of defensive protection.
Audero made a fantastic save to keep his side on terms when Giroud laid a ball back to Pobega who then found Theo Hernandez, when the ball looked like it was dipping in under the crossbar.
Right on the midway point of the second half, Milan got the chance to get themselves back ahead as the referee Fabbri awarded a spot kick. VAR did well to pick up a handball from a corner after Giroud had headed goalwards, and the Frenchman then took on the responsibility from 12 yards, finishing with a confident penalty.
In the 71st minute, De Ketelaere came off for Ismael Bennacer with the obvious intention of switching to three centre-backs and three central midfielders.
The home side had penalty shouts of their own with 14 minutes left on the clock as Simon Kjaer jockeyed a ball through to Maignan with a bit of added physicality, though nothing was awarded.
Shortly after, Tommaso Pobega made way for deadline day signing Aster Vranckx who made his debut.
Sampdoria were inches away from getting themselves back on level terms, but Maignan first made a save to deny Gabbiadini with a low shot, and then on the rebound Verre arrived but he hit the post from a tight angle, before Maignan again denied Gabbiadini.
That would prove to be the last major chance of the game as Milan managed the final moments well to earn a vital win that moves them back level on points with Napoli.