Date: 20th August 2017 at 10:54pm
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Despite embarking on a record transfer window, it was 19-year-old home-grown striker Patrick Cutrone who stole the headlines as AC Milan breezed past Crotone 3-0 on Sunday evening at the Stadio Ezio Scida.

A third minute penalty changed the course of the match when Federico Ceccherini saw red for bringing down Cutrone in the box, forcing the lo Squalo down to 10 men and allowing Franck Kessie to open the scoring with the resulting penalty.

Two additional first half goals came within five minutes of one another, with Cutrone burying his first Rossoneri goal before Suso kick-started his season with the third on 23 minutes. The remainder of the match would be dominated by the away team, however the score remained 3-0 up until the referee’s final whistle.

The Stadio Ezio Scida was surrounded by drama after just three minutes of play when Ceccherini was adjudged to have brought down Cutrone in the box. After utilising the new video review system, Crotone’s centre-back was shown a red card before Kessie stepped up to convert the penalty.

Down to 10 men, Davide Nicola was forced to sacrifice Marcello Trotta for a defender in Noe Dussenne. However the substitution did little to stop the early Rossoneri onslaught from and on 18 minutes, the Calabrese were down 2-0.

After receiving the ball towards the edge of the box, Suso delivered a head-height ball into the centre, which Cutrone glanced past a helpless Alex Cordaz in goal.

Just five minutes later, the same pair combined to make it 3-0, with Cutrone this time acting as provider by cutting back for Suso to power low into the bottom right corner.

The Rossoneri continued to dominate on the ball, allowing Crotone rare time on the ball and accumulating 82 per cent of the first half possession.

As the second-half began, play continued to follow a similar pattern with the majority of action taking place in Crotone’s own half. Though the Milan attack had lost some spark and after amassing 10 shots in the first half, they managed just one in the opening 22 minutes of the second period.

The comfortable lead allowed Vincenzo Montella to introduce Andre Silva in Abate for Cutrone and Conti respectively. It didn’t take long for the new number 9 to make his mark, producing a pin-point header towards the top-right corner which required an outstanding one-handed save from Cordaz.

Despite a number of efforts in the final 20 minutes, the 3-0 half-time scoreline would remain, handing Milan’s new-look squad a strong start to the new Serie A season.

MATCH FACTS

  • Milan have won on MD1 in three of the last four Serie A campaigns, while this is the first time since 2010 (Siena-Milan 1-2) they begin the new season with an away win.
  • Crotone lost on MD1 last season too, collecting just one point over their first nine Serie A games.
  • Franck Kessié scored on his Serie A debut with AC Milan – he did the same last season with Atalanta scoring a brace against Lazio on match-day 1.
  • Kessié has converted all three penalties taken in Serie A, against Roma, Torino and Crotone.
  • Cutrone scored his very first Serie A goal on his second appearance in the competition, the first as a starter.
  • Cutrone and Suso are two of the four players to have both scored and assisted a goal on MD1 (Birsa and Perisic are the other two).
  • Cutrone is the second player born in 1998 to have both scored and assisted this season in the top 5 European leagues – the other player is Pulisic from Dortmund.
  • Tonight Milan recorded their highest ball possession rate (80.1%) in a Serie A match since 2004/05.