AC Milan extend winning run with comfortable victory over 10-man Lecce

By Sports Desk April 06, 2024

AC Milan extended their winning Serie A run to five matches with a routine 3-0 home victory over 10-man Lecce.

Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud gave the Rossoneri control inside the first 20 minutes at San Siro, before the visitors had Nikola Krstovic dismissed just before half-time.

Rafael Leao wrapped up a comfortable success in the second half as Milan consolidated second place with seven matches of the season remaining.

It was a chastening afternoon for Lecce, whose survival hopes had been boosted by four points and two clean sheets from Luca Gotti’s first two matches in charge prior to this contest.

The visitors were the first to threaten, with Joan Gonzalez firing just wide with a low shot from the edge of the area in the third minute.

However, the hosts opened the scoring three minutes later when Pulisic received the ball from Samuel Chukwueze and found the corner of the Lecce net with a powerful left-footed shot from 20 yards.

Goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone saved a Pulisic close-range header soon after, before Leao’s 11th-minute effort was deflected wide for a corner by defender Lorenzo Venuti, following a good run by Chukwueze.

It was 2-0 in the 20th minute when Giroud’s flicked header from Yacine Adli’s corner went in at the far post.

Lameck Banda and Alexis Blin both tried their luck for Lecce – who fought back from two goals down to claim a point when the teams met in Puglia in November – before Gonzalez headed against the crossbar in the 29th minute.

However, the visitors’ hopes of an unlikely repeat were further damaged a minute before half-time when striker Krstovic was dismissed for a high boot on Chukwueze.

Lecce’s afternoon was summed up by the 57th-minute incident which saw Milan increase their lead to 3-0.

Pontus Almqvist went down in the penalty area under a strong challenge from Theo Hernandez but play was waved on and within seconds Leao had received an incisive through-ball from Adli and provided a cool finish through Falcone’s legs for a goal which was allowed to stand after a VAR check.

Hernandez struck the crossbar for Milan in the 64th minute, before Almqvist and fellow substitute Santiago Pierotti brought good saves out of Mike Maignan inside the final 15 minutes.

However, there was no further scoring and Milan were able to see out a comfortable victory – the ninth time in the last 10 meetings they have won this fixture, with the other drawn.

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