Hellas Verona 0-1 AC Milan: Piatek on target as Calabria sees red

AC Milan struggled to break down the 10 men of Hellas Verona until Krzysztof Piatek buried a second-half penalty.

Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek scored the only goal of the game.   -  Getty Images

Krzysztof Piatek scored his first Serie A goal of the season to help 10-man AC Milan secure back-to-back victories in a 1-0 win over Hellas Verona, which also had a man sent off in a tempestuous clash at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.

Rossoneri boss Marco Giampaolo restored Piatek to the starting line-up after dropping him from his previous teamsheet and he tucked away a second-half penalty to ensure the visitor claimed all three points from a bruising encounter.

Verona had Mariusz Stepinski sent off after 21 minutes for a dangerous challenge but the newly promoted side matched Milan for long periods and caused Giampaolo's defence plenty of problems.

Milan is improving as the season progresses and, after failing to register a shot on goal in its 1-0 defeat at Udinese on the opening day, it created ample opportunities to score here as Suso took up his role as creator in chief.

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But the chance that mattered most was Piatek's spot-kick, and the 24-year-old, who scored nine league goals last season, opened his account for 2019-20 before Davide Calabria was dismissed in second-half stoppage-time.

Milan was on the back foot early on as Gianluigi Donnarumma made a double-save, parrying Marco Faraoni's cross away from goal before claiming Mattia Zaccagni's overhead kick in both hands.

Verona was on top when Stepinski caught Mateo Musacchio on the ear with a high challenge that earned him a straight red card following a VAR review.

But the 10 men continued to press and Valerio Verre fired over the crossbar in spectacular style when he controlled a long pass and volleyed with exceptional control.

Substitute Ante Rebic should have broken the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half but he mistimed his shot and Suso's weighted cross went to waste.

Davide Calabria thundered a volley onto the post from 30 yards as Milan heaped pressure on its host, which hit the post itself through Verre before a handball in the box by Verona defender Koray Gunter presented Piatek with a chance from the penalty spot that he lashed into the bottom corner of the net.

Piatek had the ball in the net again when Marco Silvestri spilled Hakan Calhanoglu's shot and he slid in to poke it over the line, but after a VAR review the referee judged a foul had been committed.

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There was more late drama as Calabria caught Matteo Pessina with his arm as the substitute headed towards the box. The Milan full-back was sent for an early shower but Verona's Miguel Veloso and Darko Lazovic missed chances to grab a late, late equaliser.

What does it mean? Giampaolo's men improving

Two wins from its first three outings of the season is a reasonable start for Milan, which is starting to gel in attack and is cutting out mistakes at the back.

Suso so important

Milan functions best when Suso is on form and he was its attacking lynchpin here, dictating play and constantly probing at a resolute Verona defence.

Paqueta hooked after quiet half

Lucas Paqueta was ineffective in attack in the first half and Milan improved substantially after he was replaced by Rebic.

- Milan must attack better, admits Giampaolo -

AC Milan coach Marco Giampaolo reflected on "issues" to deal with in his side after watching them beat Verona 1-0 in a game that left him determined to improve the Rossoneri attack.

Giampolo pointed to Verona's packed defence as a significant factor in his side's struggle for goals and also took a swipe at his predecessor, Gennaro Gattuso, by saying that his side had not yet learned to play as a collective.

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"The team is working well, finding its balance and I know there are some strengths and weaknesses, but I work to improve the individuals and the team," Giampaolo told Sky Sport Italia.

"Everyone has strengths and weaknesses; there is no perfect side. I like the effort and passion we put into the game, but errors can happen.

"A team that defends with 10 men in their final third are difficult to break down. Verona played their honest defensive game and we were constantly pushing forward. We didn't do it perfectly and of course there is plenty to work on and improve, but the victory helps us to work.

"I won't just brush the dust under the carpet; I know full well we need to improve and there are issues we have to deal with."

"We must be honest. I don't hide. This team is trying and is accustomed to playing as individuals, whereas I must get them working in the service of the collective. We must learn to attack better, that is true," the manager concluded.

What's next?

The Milan derby is next up for Giampaolo's men as it aims to be the first side to take points from Inter this season, while Verona takes on champion Juventus in Turin.

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