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HomeSportsGenoa 0-1 AC Milan (Oct 7, 2023) Game Analysis - ESPN

Genoa 0-1 AC Milan (Oct 7, 2023) Game Analysis – ESPN

A late strike by Christian Pulisic earned AC Milan a 1-0 win at promoted Genoa that put them on top of Serie A on Saturday, but the game ended in chaos as both keepers were sent off and striker Olivier Giroud went in goal for the visitors.

United States star Pulisic netted in the 87th minute with a half-volley from near the penalty spot after he was brilliantly set up by USMNT teammate Yunus Musah to give Milan the lead.

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The goal was Pulisic’s fourth in Serie A for Milan since his summer transfer from Chelsea.

But the three points were hanging by a thread as the game took a chaotic turn when Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan saw red for a foul on Caleb Ekuban late in stoppage time and Giroud took his spot in goal.

Luckily for the Frenchman, Genoa’s Albert Gudmundsson crashed a free kick against the bar from the edge of the box and Giroud then brilliantly denied George Puscas just before the final whistle.

Christian Pulisic celebrates with Olivier Giroud after scoring AC Milan’s winner against Genoa.

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“I didn’t expect to experience these kinds of emotions at the other end of the field,” Giroud said with a smile and still wearing Maignan’s jersey. “But it’s very important to have made these saves.

“I think I’m one of the tallest in the squad … so naturally I went in goal. I liked going in goal when I was a kid too. But it was a really special emotion when I made the save, almost like a goal.”

Milan, who earned their seventh win in eight games, moved two points clear at the top of the table after rivals Inter Milan threw away an early two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Bologna earlier Saturday.

“I like to think that what Giroud did is part of our mentality,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli told DAZN.

“Pulisic wanted to go in goal and perhaps he had already done it, but I told him that he was too short.

“We have been lucky in the last few episodes, but it is part of the mentality of a group that wants to give its best and that makes me happy.”

Milan have struggled with injuries and coach Stefano Pioli made six changes to the starting lineup that beat Lazio 2-0 last weekend, with midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek joining Rade Krunic and Ismaël Bennacer on the sidelines.

Genoa, who in September won 4-1 against AS Roma and held champions Napoli to a 2-2 draw, managed to stay on level terms in an even first half, before Pioli introduced Rafael Leão and Pulisic after half-time as he sought to break the deadlock.

Genoa keeper Josep Martínez pulled off a great save to tip a Leão header that bounced off the ground aside for a corner in the 65th minute.

Martinez also received a red card in the final minutes when the Spanish player collected his second booking.

Milan will be without Maignan and defender Theo Hernández, who picked up his fifth yellow card, when they host Juventus next in Serie A following the international break.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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