AC Milan 1-0 Empoli (Mar 10, 2024) Game Analysis

A Christian Pulisic goal was enough to give AC Milan a 1-0 home win over struggling Empoli on Sunday, and move provisionally into second place in Serie A.

Milan are on 59 points, two ahead of Juventus who host Atalanta later on Sunday, with Inter Milan top on 75 points. Empoli are 16th on 25 points, one point clear of the relegation zone.

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The only goal came in the 40th minute when Noah Okafor picked up a pass from Ismaël Bennacer down the left wing and his cross was met first time by Pulisic on the edge of the area.

The game offered little in the way of entertainment as a lacklustre Milan laboured to see off the visitors, but Stefano Pioli’s side recorded their second consecutive 1-0 league win after their victory at Lazio last weekend.

Milan had a 4-2 win over Slavia Prague in the Europa League on Thursday but they never looked like repeating that goal-fest against Empoli.

Pioli had to plan without the suspended Rafael Leão, with Okafor, who scored in the win over Lazio, filling in, but Luka Jovic returned from suspension and was chosen ahead of Olivier Giroud.

Milan broke the deadlock after a dour first half with Empoli content to sit back and the home side unable to create any clear cut chances despite having the lion’s share of possession.

Pulisic’s shot was deflected by Sebastiano Luperto past the goalkeeper, and although the flag was raised for an offside on Okafor, after a VAR check, the American was awarded his eighth league goal of the season.

The second half brought little improvement, with Milan again struggling to find an opening, but Empoli did manage to gain more possession and create some danger on the counter.

Substitute Mattia Destro had a late chance with a header from a corner but Mike Maignan got down well to save and the game ended with Milan on the attack and Empoli keeper Elia Caprile making a decent save from a Samuel Chukwueze shot.

Milan now prepare for their second leg in Prague on Thursday, while Empoli continue their relegation battle at home to Bologna on Friday.