David Schiavone Date: 17th August 2017 at 10:37pm
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Andre Silva was the star for AC Milan as they smashed Shkendija 6-0 in their Europa League playoff first leg.

Two goals either side of a Riccardo Montolivo strike, plus the assist on Fabio Borini’s effort, capped a scintillating performance from the Portuguese striker. Luca Antonelli tapped in the fifth, before the ex-Rossoneri captain got a brace of his own at the death.

Not only was it Silva’s first ever brace for Milan, it was also Montolivo’s, as well as being his first goal in 1222 days with his last coming in April 2013.

An expectant San Siro crowd saw the competitive debut of Leonardo Bonucci as captain, with new signings Hakan Calhanoglu, Andrea Conti, Franck Kessie, Silva and Fabio Borini all in Vincenco Montella’s starting XI.

In last season’s Europa League, Shkendija lost out to Gent in the play-off, while Milan have yet to be beaten in eight meetings against Macedonian opposition.

A good opening from the Rossoneri saw Franck Kessie go close on multiple occasions as Milan piled forward.

Just 13 minutes in Silva got his first competitive goal for AC Milan. Mistakes in the Shkendija defence allowed the ball to drop to the Portuguese striker on the penalty spot, and he brilliantly curled into the bottom right corner.

Besart Abdurahimi volleyed over after a Blagoja Todorovski cross found the Croatian striker free at the far post.

The Rossoneri doubled their advantage through Montolivo.

Fabio Borini was fouled by Egzon Bejtulai on the edge of the penalty area, and Suso stepped up to take the resulting freekick, which Kostadin Zahov saved but Montolivo was first to the rebound and fired home.

Moments later it was three as Silva, after being fed the ball in the box by Calhanoglu, wriggled free of two defenders and finished past Zahov.

Calhanoglu was next up to try his luck, combining well with Andre Silva, but his finish was put into the stands from 18 yards.

Constant pressure from the home side almost saw Leonardo Bonucci score from a corner, but the defender’s looping header was clawed out by Zahov.

Then just before the break, Suso was played in on the right by Montolivo, but his angled drive was diverted behind by the Shkendija goalkeeper.

The second half began with Milan going close once more, but this time Andre Silva couldn’t get the ball into the back of the net. First it hit post, then the legs of Zahov and finally he Shkendija glovesman slapped the ball clear.

Borini was twice denied by Zahov and Calhanoglu flashed wide. Meanwhile at the other end Besart Ibraimi got a yard of space but his low drive was off target.

Milan essentially wrapped up the tie with goal number four thanks to Borini. Conti galloped to the goalline, before cutting back to Silva who then played the ball to the ex-Sunderland man for a tap in.

Number five followed minutes later though Antonelli, who made no mistake from close range after Zahov spilled Suso’s initial shot.

A miraculous save from Zahov prevented Silva from adding a sixth, before substitute Patrick Cutrone hit the post with 10 minutes left.

Then to wrap up the win Montolivo got the sixth after a quick turn and drive into the bottom left corner.

Next up for AC Milan is a trip to Crotone as their Serie A season begins on Sunday.

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