AC Milan had Ricardo Rodriguez to thank as his lone strike was enough to give the Rossoneri a slender 1-0 win over Craiova in their Europa League Third Qualifying Round First Leg.
Despite spending over €200 million so far in the transfer window, Milan were without Leonardo Bonucci, Lucas Biglia, Hakan Calhanoglu, Alessio Romagnoli, Suso, Gabriel Paletta and Carlos Bacca for the match in Romania.
However, it was €17m defender Rodriguez who opened his Milan account on his competitive debut for the club.
O primeiro gol de Ricardo Rodríguez com a camisa do Milan pic.twitter.com/puFaEe3TyH
— Sou a Fora (@souafora) July 27, 2017
It was by no means an easy match for the Rossoneri, who, in the first half, had Gianluigi Donnarumma to thank as he produced a miracle save to deny Alexandru Mitrita.
Fabio Borini was brought down on the right side by Nicour Bancu, and the Swiss left-back stepped up and curled into the far corner to give Milan the lead.
Craiova spurned a series of chances as they looked to get back on level terms, and their best chance came from a Donnarumma mistake which saw the goalkeeper stranded, but Mitrita’s shot into an empty net, bounced wide.
Davis Mangia’s charges continued their assault on the Milan goal throughout the second 45 minutes, but were unable to penetrate a resolute Rossoneri backline.
The second leg at the Stadio San Siro will be on Thursday, August 3.
Criaova: Calancea; Dimitrov, Spahija, Kelic, Briceag; Gustavo, Zlatinski, Rossi, Mitrita; Bancu, Baluta
AC Milan: Donnarumma; Abate, Zapata, Musacchio, Rodriguez; Kessie, Montolivo, Bonaventura; Borini, Cutrone, Niang
Goals: Rodriguez min. 44 for Milan
Referee: Halis Ozkahya (Turkey)