Serie A Week 3 - 15 Sep 2019 (19.45 UK)
Verona 0 - 1 Milan
Piatek pen 68 (M)
Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi

Krzysztof Piatek ended his goal drought with a penalty, but Milan were made to work very hard in order to break a Verona side down to 10 men for 70 minutes.

Marco Giampaolo had Lucas Biglia back from injury and moved Lucas Paqueta into a more advanced trequartista role supporting Suso and Krzysztof Piatek. Ante Rebic and Theo Hernandez were on the bench, while Hellas were still unbeaten and gave Mariusz Stepinski his debut following a deadline day move from Chievo.

Milan had a notoriously poor record with Verona, losing two of their last five Serie A meetings.

It was an aggressive start from the hosts, Valerio Verre nodding a Marco Davide Faraoni cross over the bar. Hakan Calhanoglu slipped to spark a counter, with Gianluigi Donnarumma alert on both the Faraoni cross and Mattia Zaccagni’s acrobatic follow-up.

However, Verona ruined a promising situation with a moment of madness from Stepinski. The debutant was booked for a very high boot on Mateo Musacchio, but after viewing it again on VAR and seeing the stud marks on the defender’s ear, the referee opted for a straight red.

For the second time in three games, Hellas were down to 10 men within the opening half-hour. However, they fought back for a 1-1 draw with Bologna in Week 1 and showed they were more than happy to scrap in difficult circumstances.

In fact, Verre nearly gave Verona a shock lead with a magnificent solo effort. He caught a long Rrahmani ball, juggled it with his first touch and volleyed the second just wide of the near top corner.

Milan kept the ball for long periods, but with very little incision or pace, as only hopeful Suso or Franck Kessie snapshots were charged down.

Ante Rebic replaced Paqueta for the second half, making his debut after a deadline day two-season loan move from Eintracht Frankfurt, swapping with Andre Silva.

Suso curled off target with his usual left-foot routine, but the first real chance was on 57 minutes when Davide Calabria’s chest and volley from the edge of the box bounced off the far post.

However, moments later 10-man Verona had the exact same result, with Verre’s first time strike that took a strange swerve and smacked the upright to Donnarumma’s left.

The first shot on target away from home for Milan this season was a tepid Suso attempt smothered by Silvestri.

A breakthrough arrived when Gunter had his hand raised and charged down Calhanoglu’s strike for a penalty. Piatek stepped up and converted into the near bottom corner, despite Silvestri going the right way, for only his second goal in 10 Serie A games. The Pole did not celebrate with his usual ‘Pistolero’ routine, instead going up to the camera and putting a finger in front of his lips to silence someone.

Piatek did celebrate in more traditional fashion when he slid in after Silvestri spilled a Calhanoglu shot, but it was disallowed using VAR because the goalkeeper had his hands on the ball at the moment of contact.

The drama still wasn’t over, because in the final seconds of stoppages, Calabria brought down Pessina right on the edge of the box and was sent off. VAR confirmed the contact was outside the area, albeit by millimetres. Veloso’s free kick hit the wall and Darko Lazovic drilled the rebound just wide with the last shot of the game.

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Verona: Silvestri; Rrahmani (Tutino 78), Kumbulla, Gunter; Faraoni, Amrabat, Veloso, Lazovic; Zaccagni (Di Carmine 78), Verre (Pessina 66); Stepinski
Milan: G Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Calhanoglu; Suso, Paqueta (Rebic 46); Piatek
Ref: Manganiello

Sent off: Stepinski 21 (V), Calabria 94 (M)