In a thrilling showdown at Stadio Olimpico, AC Milan displayed their character and determination, clinching a hard-fought 2-1 victory against AS Roma, even with only ten players on the field. This pivotal win not only propelled AC Milan to a provisional three-point lead at the summit of Serie A but also marked the debut of Romelu Lukaku for the home side, an occasion that ended in disappointment for the Belgian striker.

AC Milan’s exceptional performance has earned them a flawless nine points in the league, while AS Roma continues to struggle, having garnered only one point from their opening three matches—a situation reminiscent of their 2011-12 season.

Stefano Pioli, AC Milan’s head coach, expressed his satisfaction with the result, stating, “The result is significant, as is the performance. It builds on our first two wins, and I am delighted with our team’s performance.”

AC Milan

This recent success follows AC Milan‘s resounding 4-1 victory over Torino in their home opener and a solid 2-0 win against Bologna to kick off the season.

The intensity of the match was palpable from the outset, with Olivier Giroud converting a penalty just nine minutes into the game after goalkeeper Rui Patrício fouled Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Giroud’s clinical finish marked his sixth consecutive appearance with goals in the big five European leagues, a feat he previously achieved in 2015 while playing for Arsenal.

AS Roma found themselves under increasing pressure as AC Milan relentlessly pressed for a second goal before the half-hour mark. Patrício showcased remarkable reflexes to deny American forward Christian Pulisic’s close-range effort.

Rafael Leão further extended AC Milan’s lead just three minutes into the second half with an acrobatic first-time finish, capitalizing on Davide Calabria’s lofted cross.

Even with AC Milan down to ten men in the 61st minute after Fikayo Tomori received a second yellow card for a foul on Andrea Belotti, AS Roma struggled to create meaningful goal-scoring opportunities.

In a bid to turn the tide, AS Roma’s manager, Jose Mourinho, made a triple substitution 20 minutes from time, introducing Romelu Lukaku, who had been welcomed by thousands of enthusiastic Roma fans upon his arrival from Chelsea. Lukaku had an immediate chance to make an impact but narrowly missed the target with a first-time shot from the edge of the box.

AS Roma finally found the back of the net in stoppage time through Leonardo Spinazzola, providing a glimmer of hope. In a frantic finish to the game, Nicola Zalewski had an opportunity to equalize, but it was too little, too late to salvage a point.

Jose Mourinho, who returned to the touchline after serving a 10-day ban for criticizing a referee at the end of the previous season, declined to attend the post-match press conference.

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In summary, AC Milan’s remarkable performance, even with just ten players on the field, secured a pivotal 2-1 victory against AS Roma, solidifying their position at the top of Serie A. While Romelu Lukaku made his debut for AS Roma, the day ultimately belonged to AC Milan’s resilience and prowess on the pitch, making them a force to be reckoned with in the league.