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Christian Pulisic scores only goal as AC Milan edge past Empoli

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Mar 2024

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Christian Pulisic struck in the first half to help AC Milan move up to second in Serie A with a 1-0 victory over Empoli at the San Siro.

Pulisic grabbed the only goal of the game five minutes before the break with a first-time effort which was initially given offside. The assistant referee thought Noah Okafor had mistimed his run, but a VAR check ruled him to be onside.

Empoli sensed blood in the second period and had chances to equalise through Nicolo Cambiaghi and Mattia Destro, but Milan hung on to claim back-to-back wins.

The hosts were first to come closest to an opener when former Chelsea man Pulisic found space in the box but fired straight at Elia Caprile with five minutes on the clock.

Milan made most of the running in the first period with Okafor cutting in from the right and letting fly, only for Caprile to gratefully dive right on to the ball.

The hosts opened the scoring five minutes before the break when Okafor broke the line and fed a pass through to Pulisic, with his deflected effort wrong-footing Caprile before eventually being given by VAR.

Cambiaghi weaved his way into the area and his deflected effort needed to be tipped behind by Mike Maignan for Empoli’s first effort on target after 56 minutes.

Milan continued to come forward in search of a second though, Samuel Chukwueze was next to come close when he tried to curl into the bottom corner, but was blocked behind for a corner.

The best chance of the second half fell for the home side when Ruben Loftus-Cheek came forward and, after a couple of step-overs, his powerful shot was well saved by Caprile to stop Milan from putting the game to bed.

Another effort fell for Milan but they failed to take it, Okafor was the producer once again with a cross at the back post, but Davide Calabria could not guide his header on target.

Empoli remained a threat on the counter and were keen to punish Milan’s profligacy, Bartosz Bereszynski twisted and turned in the area, but his low ball into the box was cleared by Yunus Musah.

Milan were treading on thin ice and the visitors came within inches of an equaliser when Cambiaghi headed onto the post with seven minutes remaining.

With the game creeping towards the final minute, Empoli almost snatched a point when a corner found Destro free inside the area, but his header was straight at Maignan as Milan held on for victory.

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