Giroud savours return to goals as Milan fight back against Verona

By Sports Desk October 16, 2021

Olivier Giroud was relieved to get back among the goals as Milan fought back to beat Hellas Verona 3-2 at San Siro on Saturday.

The Rossoneri looked to be heading for a first defeat in 30 home Serie A meetings with Verona when Gianluca Caprari and Antonin Barak put them 2-0 up before half-time.

Giroud headed in just before the hour mark to spark Milan's revival, with Franck Kessie levelling the scores from the penalty spot before a late decisive own goal from Koray Gunter.

The result put Stefano Pioli's men top of the table ahead of Napoli's clash with Torino on Sunday.

In scoring his third goal in his first two Serie A home games, Giroud matched a feat only previous reached by Oliver Bierhoff, Alexandre Pato, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Bacca since 1994-95.

The former Arsenal and Chelsea striker, who had missed four of Milan's previous five games, admitted it had been a long time coming to be back on the scoresheet.

"I've waited a long time for this moment. I missed the competition," Giroud, who last scored in the win over Cagliari in August, told DAZN.

"In the first half, we didn't do well but the reaction was important. I don't feel 100 per cent yet but I am growing and I feel more free.

"This victory is a joy. I can't wait to go and celebrate with my team-mates. In the first half, there was a lack of nastiness and quality. We could only do better in the second half, and that's what we did."

Pioli was left delighted with the endeavour shown by his side in the second half as they now prepare for a key Champions League group game with Porto on Tuesday.

"My team believe in what they do and put their soul into everything," he told DAZN.

"We tried to play from the back but they were very aggressive in the first half. They took away our space and often left us with just the long ball. We were not very dynamic and we suffered.

"The best thing about this group is to see everyone involved. The credit doesn't go to me, but it's the air we breathe. The boys put individuality aside to put themselves at the service of the team.

"We should enjoy this game but prepare for Porto. We've recovered some players and we've lost some. The more rotations there are, the better we can do." 

Related items

  • Uruguay star Suarez unapologetic to Ghana over 2010 handball: 'I didn't miss the penalty' Uruguay star Suarez unapologetic to Ghana over 2010 handball: 'I didn't miss the penalty'

    Luis Suarez feels no need to apologise for his handball against Ghana 12 years ago, as he hopes to propel Uruguay into the World Cup last 16.

    Having taken a point from their opening two matches in Qatar, Uruguay must beat Ghana on Friday to progress from Group H.

    However, the game at Al Janoub Stadium is something of a grudge match - at least from the point of view of Ghana supporters.

    While the Black Stars coach Otto Addo insisted Ghana will not be out for revenge, Suarez has been a hugely unpopular figure in the African nation since he handled on the line to deny Dominic Adiyiah a goal in extra-time of a World Cup quarter-final tie in 2010.

    Suarez was sent off, but Asamoah Gyan hit the crossbar from the resulting spot-kick, with Uruguay going on to progress to the semi-finals by winning the penalty shoot-out.

    The former Liverpool and Barcelona star has never considered apologising, though.

    "I don't apologise for that," he said in a press conference. 

    "I did the handball, but the Ghana player missed a penalty, not me.

    "Maybe I could apologise if I injured the player, but in this situation I was sent off, the ref said penalty – it's not my fault, because I didn't miss the penalty.

    "It's not my responsibility to score the penalty."

    When it was put to Suarez that Ghana, who could go through with a point, might be even more motivated if he plays in what could well be his final World Cup game, the 35-year-old suggested an obsession with revenge is unhealthy.

    "I haven't thought about this. I don't know what people are saying or if they want revenge," he replied.

    "The players who might play tomorrow might've been eight years old back then, will they be motivated? Some people might call me the Devil.

    "We beat Portugal in 2018, have you heard Portuguese people saying they needed revenge because we lost?"

    Suarez also referenced the incident involving Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 World Cup, when the Uruguay forward bit the Italy defender on the shoulder.

    "What I did to Chiellini, I made a mistake, but afterwards we played together in the Champions League and shook hands," he added.

    "You can't focus on the past and revenge, that can be counter-productive."

    Uruguay coach Diego Alonso said: "For us it's a defining match and that's what matters, I don't know if Ghana will want revenge, we respect them and we will try to be better to be able to qualify."

    His counterpart Addo, meanwhile, reiterated Ghana's minds are not fixed on revenge.

    "This is what I wish from every player, to do all they can to get to the semi-final of a World Cup. Maybe sacrifice themselves. This is my perspective," he said.

    "It was very sad what happened in 2010, but we can't change it. In general, it is about perspective," Addo said.

    "If the same incident had happened the other way round people would have talked about it, so for me it is not a big topic. We are going into the match like any other."

  • France file complaint to FIFA over disallowed Griezmann goal France file complaint to FIFA over disallowed Griezmann goal

    France have filed a complaint to FIFA over the decision to disallow Antoine Griezmann's late goal in Wednesday's shock 1-0 World Cup loss to Tunisia.

    Griezmann thought he had cancelled out Wahbi Khazri's strike when he volleyed home in the eighth minute of stoppage time at Education City Stadium.

    However, after the celebrations had died down, referee Michael Conger ruled out Griezmann's goal for an offside infringement.

    The Atletico Madrid forward was adjudged to have been offside when firing in from Aurelien Tchouameni's pass, which took a deflection off a Tunisian defender.

    However, the French Football Federation (FFF) believe the officials were wrong to disallow the goal as play had already restarted when VAR intervened, which is prohibited.

    "We are writing a complaint after Antoine Griezmann's goal was, in our opinion, wrongly disallowed," said a widely released statement from the FFF on Wednesday. 

    "This complaint has to be filed within 24 hours after the final whistle."

    Khazri's superb strike at Education City Stadium ended reigning world champions France's nine-game unbeaten run in the competition stretching back to the 2014 quarter-finals.

    However, the result ultimately meant little in the context of Group D as France still went through in top spot and Australia claimed second place with a 1-0 win over Denmark.

    Should France be successful with their appeal and the scoreline is changed to 1-1, the final points tallies in Group D will change but not the positions of any of the four sides.

  • Nuno Mendes sidelined but will stay in Qatar as Portugal continue World Cup quest Nuno Mendes sidelined but will stay in Qatar as Portugal continue World Cup quest

    Nuno Mendes looks set to miss the rest of the World Cup but will stay with Portugal in Qatar, coach Fernando Santos has announced.

    The Paris Saint-Germain left-back seemed set to be an important member of the Portugal team in Qatar, but a thigh injury has scuppered hopes of being a fixture in the side.

    Mendes was not involved in the opening 3-2 win against Ghana but started against Uruguay on Monday, only to be substituted just 42 minutes into that game and replaced by Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro.

    He left the field in tears, and that seems likely to be his only involvement in the tournament, with Guerreiro the obvious choice to be Portugal's starter at left-back against South Korea on Friday and thereafter, with the team's place in the knockout stage secured.

    The 20-year-old was also troubled by a thigh problem in the weeks leading up to the tournament but returned to the PSG starting line-up for two games before joining up with his national side.

    Santos said: "He will continue to stay with us here in Qatar because that's what the players wanted. The club allowed him to come here because it was important to him.

    "He wanted to stay here with us, this really reflects the spirit of the team and how united we all are.

    "I feel sad about those who won't be able to play, but it has to encourage me and the other players, because we have to make up for those who aren't there."

    A statement from the Portuguese federation, the FPF, read: "The international Nuno Mendes, after carrying out tests, was considered unavailable for the work of the national team by the health and performance unit of the FPF. 

    "The player suffered a muscle injury in his left thigh during the game between Portugal and Uruguay. Nuno Mendes will remain part of the national delegation in Qatar, where he will begin the recovery work."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.