Christian Pulisic netted one and helped set up another in Milan’s hard-fought 2-0 win at Bologna on Monday in which the USA star made a big impression.
The 24-year-old is looking to give his club career a jump start at Milan after being sold by Chelsea and he was key to Stefano Pioli’s side claiming the points in their opening match of the season.
Pulisic played the defence-splitting pass which led to Olivier Giroud’s 11th-minute opener and then doubled Milan’s lead 10 minutes later with a superb strike from the edge of the penalty area.
Milan have brought in eight players in the summer transfer window after Sandro Tonali’s big-money move to Newcastle United.
And although they looked vulnerable at the back there was enough to suggest that the business done in the close season has rejuvenated a team whose title defence went up in flames midway through the last campaign.
Milan created enough promising attacking situations of which a sharper outfit could have made more, Rafael Leao not at his best on the left flank and unluckly not to score late on when a mazy run ended with the Portugal winger hitting the post.
It was two of Milan’s new boys who combined brilliantly to set up Giroud for his first goal of the season at a roasting hot Stadio Dall’Ara.
Left with space in front of the area Pulisic clipped over a lofted pass which the excellent Tijjani Reijnders managed to reach and flash back across goal for Giroud.
The France international made no mistake from close range to score his first ever right-footed Milan goal.
It was then Giroud’s turn to be the provider, exchanging passes with his former Chelsea teammate Pulisic who then strode forward and clattered in Milan’s second of the night.
Bologna could have collapsed under the pressure and the oppressive late summer heat enveloping northern Italy, but to their credit Thiago Motta’s side fought back.
On the hour mark Dan Ndoye did well to skip past Davide Calabria but, with a simple pass on to the wide open Riccardo Orsolini, the Swiss forward tried to squeeze in a finish at the near post and clipped the woodwork.
And seconds later Mike Maignan unwittingly shouldered away Michel Aebischer’s close-range drive, the hosts’ last major opportunity of a happy, if sweltering evening, for Milan.
Earlier Torino and Cagliari played out a drab goalless draw on Claudio Ranieri’s return to Serie A management.
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