Christian Pulisic
photo: IMAGO / Giuseppe Maffia

Italian Recap: Pulisic Wows in AC Milan Debut

5 minutes, 46 seconds Read

Christian Pulisic put in a man-of-the-match performance to start off his new life with AC Milan on a high note, while Tim Weah and received praise for his half of action in a big Juventus victory.

Bologna 0 – 2 AC Milan

Christian Pulisic made an immediate impact for AC Milan in their Serie A opener on Monday night, helping to set up their opener then scoring their second goal in a convincing road win over Bologna.

If there was any question whether the American’s pre-season form was merely a fluke or a sign of things to come, his performance for the Rossoneri, arguably the best amongst the 32 players who took the field in the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, went a long way to give a definitive answer to the latter.

Starting on the right side of Stefano Pioli’s three-man front-line, the USMNT star was effective during his 73 minutes of play, scoring on his only shot of the game, playing a key role in their other goal, setting up a pair of additional chances, beating opponents on both of his attempted dribbles, and generally standing out as Milan’s most dangerous threat.

Yunus Musah missed the team’s season opener, as he was forced to serve a one-game suspension held over from his final game for Valencia in La Liga, due to UEFA regulations.

Despite enduring a minor scare in the opening seconds when Bologna left back Charalampos Lykogiannis struck a long-distance shot off the crossbar, Milan were quick to take the advantage with one of their multiple Chelsea refugees Olivier Giroud doing the honors in the 11th minute.

Pulisic notched the hockey-assist, lofting a diagonal ball from the upper right edge of the penalty area towards the endline on the far side, where Tijjani Reijnders deflected it back to the far corner of the six-yard box.

Giroud took advantage of his pair of marking defenders losing their focus, and snuck in for an easy, one-timed finish just inside the near post.

Ten minutes later, Pulisic opened his Italian scoring account with a chance set up with a beautiful interplay with Giroud. The Frenchman headed a ball from the deep to his right, where former Chelsea player Ruben Loftus-Cheek flicked it onwards to his American teammate.

Pulisic then proceeded to cut inwards to avoid a trio of Bologna keepers, before playing a short give-and-go with Giroud, finally striking his 18-yard shot on the run amidst a crowd of defenders to the left side of Lukasz Skorupski’s goal.

Remarkably, this was his first goal in domestic league play since early-October, 2022, when he netted against Wolves in Premier League action.

Several minutes later, he set up both of his former Chelsea teammates for near-misses in rapid succession; his diagonal cross from the right flank to Giroud in the 28th minute saw the Frenchman force Skorupski into a one-handed save, then Loftus-Cheek headed his corner moments later a bit wide, and Rafael Leao’s off-balance follow-up was wide of the mark.

Bologna did manage to stop the bleeding following that short spurt, and did enforce a more evenly-matched flow of the game for the remainder, despite failing to really put any pressure on Milan’s goal.

With 17 minutes later and the game well in hand, Pioli opted to give Pulisic the rest of the night off, replacing him with fellow new arrival Samuel Chukwueze for the remainder, with the team easily closing out the 2-0 victory.

Pulisic and Milan are back in action on Saturday when they welcome northern rivals Torino, in a game which should also see Musah make his Serie A debut.

Udinese 0 – 3 Juventus

Timothy Weah started in the midfield for Juventus, helping Juventus to run away from their hosts Udinese in the opening 45 minutes, before being replaced by Weston McKennie due to a minor ankle injury in their curtain-raising win on Sunday evening.

Weah started on the right side of Massimiliano Allegri’s five-man midfield, doing his part to keep Udinese from making any headway, as left-sided players Federico Chiesa and Adrien Rabiot along with forward Dusan Vlahovic did most of the damage.

During his 45 minutes of play, he had just 19 touches, completed nine of his 12 passes and was not directly involved in any chances, however helped to corral play to the left side for the three-goal half, before departing at the half as a precautionary measure.

Chiesa already got the scoring underway inside of two minutes, receiving Vlahovic’s short pass from the left following an Udinese turnover, and hitting his low shot to the lower left corner for the 1-0 lead.

Vlahovic then made it 2-0 just before the 20-minute mark, firing to the left side of goal after Alex Sandro’s attempted short cross from the left of the area struck Festy Ebosele’s hand.

Rabiot then added a third in the third minute of added time, heading in Andrea Cambiaso’s cross from the left side at the far post to effectively wrap up the victory before the break.

McKennie came on for Weah after the break, putting in a solid 45-minute shift as the Bianconeri looked to play out the final half without incident. He did set up fellow substitute Samuel Iling-Junior for a header that was just high in the 73rd minute, but the scoreline held until the final whistle.

The Old Lady are back in action on Sunday when they host Bologna.

Venezia 3 – 0 Como

Tanner Tessmann and Gianluca Busio both earned the start on Sunday as Venezia opened their new Serie B season with a resounding victory over Como.

Both Americans put in strong performance in the midfield, with Tessmann managing one shot and generally running the shot from the heart of the field over 90 minutes, and Busio taking two shots and creating another pair of chances during his 81 minutes on the field.

Andrija Novakovich did not suit up for the hosts, ahead of an expected transfer within the division.

Nicholas Pierini was the star of the first half for Venezia, finishing a frantic counter-attack in the 19th minute for the lead, then tracking down a through-ball from Dennis Tørset Johnsen just past the half-hour and striking a low finish to the right corner.

Joel Pohjanpalo then finished the scoring shortly into the second half, breaking free in the right side of the area to strike a low, near-post shot as the Como defense protested unsuccessfully for an off-side call.

The victory puts Venezia atop the division after their first game, and they will try to keep the momentum going when they host the other joint-first team Cosenza on Saturday.

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David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

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