Milan back to winning ways in Serie A as Lazio receive three reds in feisty affair

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Milan back to winning ways in Serie A as Lazio receive three reds in feisty affair
Milan's Christian Pulisic is fouled by Lazio's Luca Pellegrini, who later saw red
Milan's Christian Pulisic is fouled by Lazio's Luca Pellegrini, who later saw red
AFP
AC Milan snatched a late winner against Lazio, who ended the match with eight men in a heated affair, as Stefano Pioli's men prevailed 1-0. Victory ends a run of three competitive winless games for the Rossoneri.

Biancocelesti fans could have been forgiven for having one eye on the upcoming Champions League last 16 second leg against Bayern Munich, but a roaring Stadio Olimpico suggested that was far from the case here.

On the pitch, Lazio appeared to be fully focused, keeping the visitors on their toes in the opening exchanges. A petition to get Luis Alberto off set-pieces has gathered momentum, yet the Spaniard showcased why he remains Maurizio Sarri’s chief corner taker, delivering a dangerous ball that was flicked on by Felipe Anderson and turned agonisingly wide of the far post by Matias Vecino.

Lazio's Luis Alberto fights for the ball with AC Milan's Yacine Adli
AFP

Despite dominating possession for much of the first period, Milan struggled to carve out opportunities, with Christian Pulisic’s hopeful strike finally forcing Ivan Provedel into action on the stroke of half time.

The contest produced a rather scrappy ending to the half but given none of the previous 10 league meetings had ended level, it was certainly all to play for after the break.

A tepid start to the second period soon sparked into life thanks to Pulisic’s direct running causing left-back Luca Pellegrini all sorts of problems.

The momentum swung firmly in Milan’s favour as Pellegrini first picked up a yellow card for a mistimed slide before hauling down the American seven minutes later, leaving referee Marco Di Bello with no choice but to send him off.

Key match stats
Opta by StatsPerform

Needing a response, Sarri turned to talisman Ciro Immobile off the bench, yet it was Rossoneri substitute Noah Okafor who almost broke the deadlock as the ball narrowly evaded him at the back post. Suddenly, chances were coming thick and fast in the final quarter-hour, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek smashing an effort at Provedel before Immobile poked wide from close range at the other end.

With time running out, Rafael Leao thought he’d forced home a winner when his low cross was inadvertently clipped in by Mario Gila, only for an offside decision keep the game scoreless.

However, Milan eventually found that elusive goal in the 88th minute, capitalising on some penalty-area pinball to force the ball over the line via Okafor’s fierce strike.

That goal sealed a league double for Milan, keeping the pressure on second-placed Juventus, who are just one point ahead.

As for Lazio, it’s a tough defeat to take, ending the night with eight men after Adam Marusic and Matteo Guendouzi saw red. This is just their third defeat at home in 16 competitive fixtures (W11, D2).

Flashscore Man of the Match: Christian Pulisic (Milan)

See all the match stats here.

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