Italian champion AC Milan turned an early one-goal deficit into a 4-2 win over Udinese at San Siro on Saturday, ensuring a winning start to their campaign in an electrifying Serie A opener.
Two goals by Croatia international Ante Rebic plus strikes by Theo Hernandez and Brahim Diaz helped the Rossoneri to recover from their early shock after Udinese defender Rodrigo Becao put the visitors ahead 90 seconds into the game.
The Brazilian defender, who nodded in a corner from a tight angle, netted for only the fifth time in Serie A at the start of his third season in Italy. Three of his goals have come against Milan and all three were headers.
Milan equalised in the 11th minute through a penalty from Theo Hernandez, after the referee pointed to the spot following a VAR review when captain Davide Calabria was fouled by Udinese defender Brandon Soppy.
Four minutes later the home fans found their voices again, after Rebic made it 2-1 with a powerful first-time shot, but Udinese defender Adam Masina’s diving header stunned the home crowd as the visitors levelled just before halftime.
One minute into the second half midfielder Brahim Diaz again put Milan ahead after a fatal mistake by the Udinese defence.
Diaz rifled in the ball from close range after Hernandez sent a cross into the box ad it bounced off Masina.
The goal fired up Udinese, but Rebic smashed another shot past keeper Marco Silvestri into the top left corner in the 68th minute to give the hosts breathing space and match his tally of two goals in the whole of last season.
Udinese, which finished 12th last season, was the last side to score against Milan at the San Siro before the champion went on a run of five home games without conceding a goal to clinch the title.
Udinese hosts Salernitana next Saturday and Milan travels to Atalanta on Sunday.
Inter Milan scrapes through
Dumfries winner gives Inter last-minute 2-1 win at Lecce
Denzel Dumfries scored a last-gasp winner to give Inter a 2-1 win at Lecce in their first Serie A game of the season.
The ball bounced off Dumfries’s chest into the net in the fifth minute of added time after striker Lautaro Martinez had collected a Nicolo Barella corner.
Romelu Lukaku started his second stint at Inter with a bang by scoring a brilliant header two minutes into the match.
The Belgian striker, who was instrumental in Inter’s title-winning 2020-21 campaign, returned to the club on a season-long loan from Chelsea less than a year after becoming the Premier League club’s record signing.
Lukaku smashed the ball into the net after Matteo Darmian deflected a superb cross from defender Federico Dimarco.
Forward Assan Ceesay, however, made a fool out of Inter’s defence by skilfully scoring an equaliser for Lecce in the 48th minute from a tight angle.
While Inter dominated possession, they spurned a host of chances throughout the game.
Midfielder Barella tried to find Lukaku in the middle of the box with a long-range pass in the 36th minute but Lecce midfielder Alexis Blin rushed out to stop him.
Barella had previously tried to reach striker Lautaro Martinez with another long pass in the eighth minute which was intercepted by Lecce goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone.
Lautaro, the club’s top scorer last season, had the chance to head home a clean cross from Alessandro Bastoni in the 70th minute but the header went just wide of the left post, to the Argentina international’s disappointment.