AC Milan made a perfect start to 2022 as they defeated nine-man Roma 3-1 at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Serie A on Thursday.
Milan made a bright start and forced an excellent early save from Rui Patricio, as Theo Hernandez met a corner with a vicious strike. However, VAR revealed that the shot brushed Tammy Abraham’s arm and a penalty was awarded, with Olivier Giroud slotting home. The Rossoneri doubled their advantage after Roger Ibanez’s underhit backpass was pounced upon by Giroud and whilst he struck the post, Junior Messias confidently fired in the rebound.
An uninspired first half saw Roma only test Mike Maignan late on, as the keeper reacted wonderfully to stop an Abraham header, but the Englishman flicked in a Lorenzo Pellegrini shot from the resulting corner to halve the deficit.
Milan came within inches of a dream start to the second half when Brahim Diaz rattled the underside of the crossbar with a thunderous effort from range. Despite pushing for an equaliser, Roma were undone when Rick Karsdorp was given a second yellow card for a poor tackle on Diaz, and Alessandro Florenzi almost punished his former club further as he curled the resulting freekick against the post.
The game was wrapped up with less than 10 minutes remaining as Milan snatched their third. Zlatan Ibrahimovic held off Chris Smalling to chest into the path of fellow substitute Rafael Leao, allowing him to race clear and tuck home. Things went from bad to worse in stoppage time as Gianluca Mancini was also dismissed for a foul on Leao, but Ibrahimovic saw his penalty saved.