Leao helps Milan beat Inter 3-2 in front of new owners

AP , Saturday 3 Sep 2022

In front of the club's new owners, Rafael Leao inspired AC Milan to a 3-2 victory over fierce rival Inter Milan in a fiery Serie A derby on Saturday.

Rafael Leao
AC Milan s Rafael Leao, center left, celebrates after scoring his side s 3rd goal during a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Inter Milan at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. Photo: AP


Leao had a hand in all three Milan goals, scoring two and setting up the other for Olivier Giroud.

Marcelo Brozovic gave Inter the lead in the 21st minute and Edin Dzeko pulled one back for the Nerazzurri in the 67th.

Milan moved to the top of Serie A. The defending champion is one of six teams still unbeaten, as is Juventus despite struggling to draw at Fiorentina 1-1 earlier. Two others, Lazio and Napoli, met in Rome later.

Milan announced the closing of its latest ownership change on Wednesday, when RedBird Capital Partners took a controlling interest and the New York Yankees a minority stake. Gerry Cardinale, the founder and managing partner of RedBird, was in the stands at San Siro for the Derby della Madonnina.

This matchup of Italy's best clubs saw Inter break the deadlock against the run of play when Lautaro Martinez backheeled the ball to Joaquin Correa, who immediately sent a ball through to release Brozovic, who slotted into the bottom left corner.

Boos rang out from Milan fans every time former player Hakan Calhanoglu touched the ball, and it was much to their delight that a wayward pass from him led to the equalizer seven minutes later. Sandro Tonali intercepted the ball and raced forward before side-footing it across for Leao to blast in.

It was all Milan as Inter struggled to get out of its own half. Tonali played a delightful one-two with Giroud before sending a scuffed effort directly at Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, shortly before Theo Hernandez fired narrowly over.

The Rossoneri took the lead in the 54th when Leao picked out Giroud and his flicked effort bobbled past the hapless Handanovic.

And Leao doubled his tally six minutes later with a magnificent goal as he shimmied his way past three Inter defenders before firing into the bottom right corner from a tight angle.

Inter coach Simone Inzaghi rang the changes and two of his substitutes had an immediate impact; Dzeko fired Henrikh Mkhitaryan's cross in off the left post.

Toothless Juventus

There was more disappointment for Juventus as it didn't even have a shot on target in the second half in Florence, while new signing Leandro Paredes gave away a penalty.

Fellow new signing Arkadiusz Milik gave Juventus the lead in the ninth minute with his second goal in as many matches and one of his most unusual ones. Juan Cuadrado crossed in from the right and Filip Kostic volleyed a shot into the ground that turned into an assist for Milik, who chested it in from close range.

A Juventus corner led to the Fiorentina equalizer, however, as it sparked a counterattack that was finished off by Christian Kouame in the 29th.

Fiorentina had a great chance to take the lead just before halftime when it was awarded a penalty for a handball by Paredes, who joined Juventus from Paris Saint-Germain only on Wednesday.

But Mattia Perin, standing in again for the injured Wojciech Szczesny, managed to push Luka Jovic's penalty onto the post. It was the fourth Juventus penalty saved from the last seven awarded against it in Serie A.

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