Milan vs Udinese 4-2: Defending Champions Win Thrilling Opener

Here we go again! The new Serie A season has finally begun, and the Cult of Calcio remains your home for all match coverage, latest news and the best reads in Italian football. The first kickoff took place at the packed San Siro Stadium, where Milan began their title defense by hosting Udinese. Despite conceding an early goal, the Diavolo managed to pull off a rapid comeback before deciding the encounter in the second half.

Starting Lineups

Stefano Pioli unleashed a 4-2-3-1 lineup spearheaded by Ante Rebic. The Croatian was supported in attack by Junior Messias, Brahim Diaz and last season’s MVP Rafael Leao. In the absence of the injured Sandro Tonali, Rade Krunic and Isamel Bennacer occupied the double-pivot.

On the opposite corner, new Zebrette manager Andrea Sottil maintained his predecessor’s 3-5-2 formation, with Gerard Deulofeu and Isaac Success upfront. The midfield featured Jean-Victor Makengo, Wallace and Roberto Pereyra, while Brandon Soppy started as a right wingback with new signing Adam Masina on the opposite flank.

Shocking Lead

Astonishingly, Udinese needed less than 90 seconds to earn a corner kick and convert it into a goal in front of the stunned Milan supporters. Deulofeu played an exquisite cross towards the mouth of the goal, and Rodrigo Becao rose above everyone else to put his header past Mike Maignan. The Brazilian defender became the unlikely author of the inaugural goal of the 2022/23 Serie A season.

Swift Comeback

Five minutes later, Diaz tried to score the equalizer but his shot was parried away by Marco Silvestri. Davide Calabria almost pounced on the rebound but Soppy denied him with a tough challenge, and the referee decided to award the Rossoneri a spot kick following VAR review. Theo Hernandez sent the goalkeeper in the wrong direction to level the scoring amidst a chaotic start. The mayhem wasn’t over yet, as the reigning champions turned the result upside-down before the 15th mark. Some brilliant footwork from Diaz released Calabria on the right lane, and the captain picked up Rebic in the middle of the box. The latter showcased his clinical touch to open his account in the new campaign.

On Level Again

While the tempo naturally slowed down for the remainder of the first period, Udinese once again surprised Milan by pulling off the equalizer seemingly out of nowhere. Pereyra was allowed just enough space to produce a cross from the left, and the ball sailed above everyone before finding Masina who beat Messias in the air to nod the ball home. The two sides then headed towards the changing rooms with the score being 2-2.

Masina from Hero to Zero

After scoring the equalizer for Udinese just before halftime, Masina fell from grace immediately after the restart as he gifted Milan the lead with a terrible blunder. Theo sent a cross towards the back post, but instead of clearing it away the Moroccan brought it down in front of goal, allowing Diaz to score the easiest of goals.

Rebic Again

In the middle of the second period, the hosts were finally able to get a breather with a two-goal advantage. The brilliant Diaz stole the ball from Pereyra inside the visitors’ penalty box before picking up Diaz with a cheeky through ball. The Croatian made no mistake from the close-range. In the end, Milan earned their first three points of the season on the back of a thrilling encounter that saw them kickstarting their defense campaign on the right foot. 



August 13, 2022 – Serie A 2022-2023 Round 1

SCORERS: 2′ Becao (U), 11′ Hernandez (M, pen.), 15′ Rebic (M), 45’+4′ Masina (U), 47′ Brahim Diaz (M), 68′ Rebic (M)

MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Hernandez; Krunic (84′ Pobega), Bennacer; Messias (71′ Saelemaekers), Brahim Diaz (71′ De Ketelaere), Rafael Leao (84′ Origi), Rebic (71′ Giroud) (Mirante, Tatarusanu, Ballo-Touré, Florenzi, Gabbia, Adli, Bakayoko, Tonali) Coach: Pioli
UDINESE (3-5-2): Silvestri; Becao, Nuytinck, Perez (66′ Ebosse); Soppy, Pereyra, Walace (77′ Lovric), Makengo (77′ Samardzic), Masina (83′ Ebosele); Success (66′ Beto), Deulofeu (Padelli, Piana, Abankwah, Benkovic, Bjiol, Guessand, Palumbo, Nestorovski, Pafundi) Coach: Sottil
REFEREE: Mr. Marinelli from Tivoli
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Tonali (M); Added Time: 1st Half: 2′, 2nd Half: 5′
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