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AC Milan's Dramatic Win Propels Them to Serie A Summit

AC Milan's Dramatic Win Propels Them to Serie A Summit

AC Milan's Dramatic Win Propels Them to Serie A Summit
Ridgeciano Haps of Genoa CFC and Christian Pulisic of AC Milan compete for the ball during the Serie A Tim match between Genoa CFC and AC Milan at Luigi Ferrari Stadium on October 7, 2023 in Genoa, Italy(Image-Getty)

 AC Milan secured a dramatic 1-0 victory over promoted Genoa, propelling them to the top of Serie A on Saturday, thanks to a late strike by Christian Pulisic. The game, however, concluded in chaos as both goalkeepers were sent off, leading striker Olivier Giroud to take on the role of goalkeeper for the visiting team.

Pulisic, the U.S. international, found the net in the 87th minute with a powerful half-volley from near the penalty spot, following a brilliant assist from Yunus Musah, giving Milan the crucial lead.

However, the match took an unexpected turn when Milan's goalkeeper, Mike Maignan, received a red card for a foul on Caleb Ekuban during stoppage time. With no backup goalkeeper available, Olivier Giroud stepped into the goalkeeper's role for Milan. Fortunately for Giroud, Genoa's Albert Gudmundsson struck a free-kick against the crossbar from the edge of the box. Giroud then made an excellent save to deny George Puscas just before the final whistle.

Coach Stefano Pioli expressed his admiration for Giroud's willingness to step in, saying, "I like to think that what Giroud did is part of our mentality." He added, "We have been lucky in the last few episodes, but it is part of the mentality of a group that wants to give its best, and that makes me happy."

With this win, Milan, who now have seven victories in eight games, moved two points clear at the top of the Serie A table. Their rivals, Inter Milan, had earlier squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Bologna on the same day.

Milan had been grappling with injuries, leading Pioli to make six changes to the starting lineup compared to their previous 2-0 victory over Lazio. Notably, midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek was sidelined, joining Rade Krunic and Ismael Bennacer.

Genoa, who had previously won 4-1 against AS Roma and held champions Napoli to a 2-2 draw in September, managed to keep the game level in the first half. Pioli introduced Rafael Leao and Pulisic after the break in an effort to break the deadlock. Genoa's goalkeeper, Josep Martinez, made a fantastic save to deflect a Leao header that bounced up off the ground for a corner in the 65th minute.

In the closing minutes, Martinez also received a red card, earning his second booking following Maignan's dismissal.

Milan will face Juventus in Serie A after the international break but will be without Maignan and defender Theo Hernandez, who picked up his fifth yellow card.

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