AC Milan 1-0 Brescia: Early Calhanoglu goal gets Giampaolo off the mark

AC Milan beat Brescia 1-0 at San Siro through Hakan Calhanoglu's 12th-minute header to earn its first Serie A win of the campaign.

Hakan Calhanoglu's goal earns AC Milan its first win of the season.   -  Getty Images

Hakan Calhanoglu's early header was enough for AC Milan as it held off Brescia 1-0 at San Siro to collect its first victory under head coach Marco Giampaolo.

After failing to register a shot on target in its 1-0 loss to Udinese on the opening weekend of the Serie A season, Giampaolo responded by leaving out prolific scorer Krzysztof Piatek and changing Milan's system.

The Rossoneri again struggled to get going in Saturday's clash, but Calhanoglu's 12th-minute goal got it off the mark under the new boss.

Brescia, without the suspended Mario Balotelli, was unable to respond as it was joined on three points by its opponent.

Looking to avoid back-to-back losses to begin a Serie A season for just the third time in its history, Milan was ahead early on.

Read: Acerbi replaces injured Chiellini in Italy squad

An unmarked Calhanoglu sent a downward header into the bottom-left corner after being left unmarked on the edge of the six-yard, profiting from Suso's impressive play down the right.

A good chance went begging for Dimitri Bisoli to equalise eight minutes later, prodding over from close range, and Gianluigi Donnarumma produced a good save to keep out Stefano Sabelli's deflected strike.

Milan struggled to build on its early goal, with Samu Castillejo wayward from a rare attempt early in the second half.

But the host rallied late on and should have added to their tally, substitute Piatek twice being denied by Jesse Joronen in the final 10 minutes, either side of firing against the post

What does it mean? Still work to be done for Giampaolo

Giampaolo accepted he needed to make changes following the loss in Udine and leaving out Piatek for the first hour, the Poland striker having hit 22 league goals last term, was a brave decision - especially considering Andre Silva has been heavily tipped to leave.

Milan may have earned the win but it looked disjointed at times and it appears further tweaks will be needed before the new head coach stumbles upon the right system.

Suso shines after last week's shocker

Calhanoglu scored through Milan's first on target attempt of the new season and it came as a result of Suso's work.

Spanish winger Suso had a poor game at Udinese last week but he responded well and played more key passes than anyone else on the pitch, including making the decisive assist.

Castillejo struggles to get involved

Castillejo should have profited from the tweak in system but he had fewer touches than any Milan player to complete the game and squandered a promising opportunity early in the second half. He did win his fair share of aerial duels, though he was replaced late on after seemingly sustaining an injury.

What's next?

Milan travels to Verona in its first match back after the international break, while Brescia has a home meeting with Bologna.

Key Opta Facts

- AC Milan has won each of its three Serie A meetings against Brescia with an aggregate score of 5-0.
- Of the four shots on target attempted by AC Milan in this match, three were fired by Piatek from the 85th minute onward.
- Hakan Calhanoglu has scored three goals in his last five Serie A appearances, as many as he had netted in his previous 36.
- AC Milan has found the net in nine successive Serie A home games for the first time since September 2017.

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