Soccer News: Hellas Verona 1-2 AC Milan: Tonali’s late shot gives the Rossoneri a hard-earned victory

    Sandro Tonali sacked the late winner as Milan picked up a 2-1 away win over Hellas Verona to move up to third in Serie A and keep in touch with first-place leaders Napoli.

    Away Stefano Pioli took the lead from the start as Miguel Veloso cleared Rafael Leão’s cross into his own net, although the lead only lasted 10 minutes when Koray Günther smashed Matteo Gabbia into the net.

    It looked like Milan would have to settle for a draw until Tonali’s tough finish in the 81st minute proved decisive.

    Milan’s fourth consecutive Serie A victory over Verona lifts them to third place, just three points behind leaders Napoli as Pioli’s side look to retain their title.

    Milan were in the lead for nine minutes, Leão showing explosive pace to beat the defender before an unlucky Veloso deflected his cross as the Verona captain awkwardly tried to clear the ball.

    Verona accidentally equalized when Gunther’s shot bounced off Gabbia, completely knocking Cyprian Tatarusana off his feet and flying into the target.

    The hosts hit the woodwork in the second period when Roberto Piccoli headed the crossbar before a ricocheted volley from Gunther nearly missed.

    Substitute Ante Rebic headed but Lorenzo Montipo fired before the Croatia international played a vital role in his team’s victory.

    When Milan parried, Rebic’s pass was perfect for Tonali to score calmly and give the Rossoneri an advantage they wouldn’t concede.

    However, Verona came very close to scoring a draw, with a pair of shots in goal leading to desperate clearances for Milan as the last defense secured points for the reigning champions.

    What does it mean? Milan fight for important three points

    Tonali’s late intervention gave Milan an early lead in that Serie A title race, giving the champions maximum points at the weekend when leaders Napoli and runners-up Atalanta also won.

    The victory will be especially gratifying given that Verona proved to be a strong contender, with the hosts scoring 2.2 expected goals (xG) to Milan’s 2.14, with three more shots (19) than Pioli’s side (16).

    Spectacular Rebic off the bench

    While Tonali will make headlines with his game-winner, it’s important to note substitute Rebic’s involvement in both the goal and Milan’s second-half play.

    Despite coming out at half-time, Rebic finished the game with the most key passes (three) by a Milan player, as well as a superb assist for Tonali.

    Giroud fights

    Olivier Giroud was taken off the field at half-time as he failed to make a significant impact in the first 45 minutes.

    Before leaving at half-time, Giroud failed to score any of his three shots, including a fantastic opportunity to make it 2-0 just moments after Veloso’s own goal. The former Chelsea striker completed just six passes before Pioli saw enough, replacing him with Divock Origi.

    What’s next?

    On Saturday, Milan will host Monza in Serie A, while Verona will play Sassuolo two days later.

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