Milan doesn't shine but Pulisic is enough to sink Empoli: overtaking Juventus


By John

Milan-Empoli 1-0
NET: 40' pt Pulisic.
MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan 6; Calabria 6, Thiaw 6, Tomori 6.5 (18' st Kalulu 6), Hernandez 6; Bennacer 7, Reijnders 6 (17' st Musah 6); Pulisic 7.5 (18' st Chukuweze 6), Loftus-Cheek 6.5, Okafor 7 (45' st Adli sv); Jovic 5.5 (28' st Giroud sv). On the bench: Mirante, Sportiello, Gabbia, Kjaer, Terracciano. Coach: Pioli 6.5.
EMPOLI (3-4-2-1): Caprile 6.5; Ismajli 5 (42' pt Bereszynski 5.5), Walukiewicz 5.5, Luperto 5.5; Gyasi 5, Fazzini 5.5 (10' st Kovalenko 6), Maleh 5.5, Pezzella 5 (10' st Cacace 6); Zurkowski 5 (31' st Cancellieri sv), Cambiaghi 5.5; Niang 5.5 (31' st Right 5.5). On the bench: Berisha, Perisan, Bastoni, Ebuehi, Caputo, Cerri, Shpendi. Coach: Nicola 5.5.
REFEREE: Sacks of Macerata 6.
NOTE: overcast skies, pitch in good condition. Booked: Fazzini, Reijnders, Zurkowski, Pezzella, Cancellieri. Corners 11-4 for Milan. Recovery: 2'; 4'

Milan didn't shine but took home the three points against Empoli thanks to a narrow victory (1-0 for the Rossoneri at the Meazza). Pulisic decides the match at the end of the first half, thanks to a left-footed shot deflected by Luperto. The hosts start on the attack and in the 5th minute they shoot with Pulisic himself, with Caprile making a diving save. The American often breaks down the right and puts in at least three inviting balls which his teammates almost miss. The pace is not high and the Rossoneri don't find any space until the 40th minute, when they manage to find the advantage. Bennacer verticalizes for Okafor, who escapes behind Ismajli and serves as a pick-up for Pulisic, who impacts with his left foot and finds the fortuitous deflection from Luperto who deceives Caprile for the Rossoneri's lead. Initially annulled due to Okafor's offside at the start, the goal was validated after the intervention of the VAR. It was the decisive episode of the match: teams in the changing rooms at 1-0. The Tuscans come out of their shell at the start of the second half and try to raise the center of gravity, but without managing to worry Maignan. The first real chance of the second half only came in the 29th minute, when Loftus-Cheek started from midfield, reached the edge of the area and shot with his left foot but Caprile was attentive and saved in the corner. Three minutes later, Okafor delivers an interesting cross from the left to the far post which Calabria arrives at, but heads it high. In the 38th minute, newly introduced Destro came close to equalizing by hitting the post with his head but the action was thwarted by an early offside by the Tuscan. The attacker tries again in the 42nd minute, when he goes to jump all alone with his head into the area, collecting a corner from the left but his shot, from an excellent position, is weak and central. The final forcing of Davide Nicola's men does not produce further dangers to the opposing defense and the result will no longer change. The last chance will be for Chukuweze, who tries with a left foot from the edge in full recovery but Caprile blocks his way. This gives Stefano Pioli's team three fundamental points in the Champions League race.