Stefano Pioli’s rampant Milan side extended their former president Silvio Berlusconi an unpleasant homecoming gift on Saturday evening. The reigning Serie A champions thrashed debutants Monza 4-1 at the Stadio San Siro to catch table-topping Napoli temporarily.
Berlusconi, who acquired the ownership of Milan in 1986 and turned them into one of the most successful clubs in Europe, let alone Serie A, returned to the San Siro as a foe. The former Italian Prime Minister purchased Monza in 2018 and helped the Biancorossi claim top-flight status for the first time in history.
As their president, Berlusconi attended Monza’s first-ever Serie A showdown against Milan. However, it wasn’t an eventful evening for the visiting side by any stretch of the imagination. It all started with Brahim Diaz’s sublime deadlock-breaker in the 16th minute to hand Pioli’s team an early lead.
Following his sensation solo goal against Juventus, the Spaniard put on another show at the San Siro. When it looked like Milan would take a narrow lead into halftime, Diaz hammered the ball into the roof of the net with a world-class finish to double the hosts’ advantage on the stroke of the interval.
Monza flew out of the traps after the restart in pursuit of an all-important opener. But a lack of idea in the front third made Milan’s bid to hold onto their two-goal cushion a lot easier. Instead of cutting short their deficit, the visitors found themselves three goals behind midway through the second half.
Summer signing Divock Origi got off the mark in Serie A with a stunning strike from the edge of the box. The Belgian striker painted his maiden league start for Milan with flying colors as he received a pass from Junior Messias and struck home with a powerful attempt. It wasn’t the end of this high-scoring contest.
Only five minutes after Origi’s screamer, Filippo Ranocchia slotted home a phenomenal long-range free-kick to pull one back for Monza. Inspired by the Italian’s set-piece masterclass, Raffaele Palladino’s men went all-out-attack, moving forward in numbers. Unfortunately for them, Ciprian Tatarusanu had his day, pulling off several key saves to prevent the drama.
After Monza wasted a couple of clear-cut chances, Milan punished them through second-half substitute Rafael Leao. Theo Hernandez took advantage of the visitors’ sloppy reaction in the middle of the park before assisting the Portuguese ace for the killer blow.
While Milan caught Napoli until their trip to the Stadio Olimpico to take on Roma on Sunday night, Monza remain stuck in the bottom half the Serie A table.