Milan kicked off their 2024 Serie A calendar with an emphatic 3-0 win against relegation-threatened Empoli at the Stadio Carlo Castellani. Stefano Pioli’s side delivered an electrifying first-half performance to lay the groundwork for ending a four-game winless league run on the road.

Just 11 minutes into the game, Ruben Loftus-Cheek latched onto Rafael Leao’s cutback on the edge of the box to open the scoring with a top-class side-foot finish. Milan doubled their lead around the half-hour mark as Olivier Giroud slotted home a penalty. 

Faced with a significant deficit, Empoli surrendered in the second half. Except for a promising five-minute spell, Aurelio Andreazzoli’s team allowed Milan to close the game without breaking a sweat. Teenage prodigy Chaka Traore even added another goal to the tally.

After scoring his first senior goal for Milan in a 4-1 thrashing of Cagliari in midweek Coppa Italia action, the 19-year-old netted off the bench to cap off Rossoneri’s scintillating triumph. 

Milan (4-2-3-1)

Mike Maignan – 6.5

Empoli’s notoriously poor frontline made the French goalkeeper’s life relatively easy, forcing him into several routine saves. 

Davide Calabria – 6.5

Despite having a field day defending at the back, the Milan captain struggled in the front third again. He couldn’t pick out his teammates with any of his numerous crosses from the right flank.

Simon Kjaer – 7

Such an impressive defensive figure! His positioning was spot on, allowing him to make numerous vital interceptions and blocks. Equally exceptional with the ball at his feet!

Theo Hernandez – 7.5

Back at the heart of the Milan defense, Hernandez delivered another phenomenal showing. His tackles were well-timed, and he used every pocket of space to venture forward. 

Alessandro Florenzi – 6

After enjoying an energetic start to the game, Pioli’s utility man succumbed to an injury late in the first half, forcing the Milan boss to pull him out. 

Tijjani Reijnders – 7.5

The Dutch midfield metronome was at the thick of every Milan move. Stupendous at the ball and equally aggressive at winning it back, he helped Rossoneri establish complete control in the center of the park.

Yacine Adli – 7.5

Like his abovementioned colleague, the Frenchman went from strength to strength on both ends of the pitch. Arguably his best performance in the Rossoneri shirt! 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 7

Back on the scoresheet with his second goal in 15 Serie A appearances, the Englishman was a prevalent figure in the opening half an hour. But his influence dwindled as the game progressed.

Rafael Leao – 6

While he chipped in with a crucial assist for Loftus-Cheek for the opening goal, the Portuguese winger’s lackadaisical attitude was on full display today. A nonchalant approach!

Christian Pulisic – 7

Unlike Leao, the USMNT forward fought tooth and nail for every ball, constantly moving between the lines and trying to impact proceedings. Picked up a delightful late assist as a reward for his tremendous effort.

Olivier Giroud – 6.5

Apart from a well-taken penalty, the aging striker barely had any meaningful touch with the ball. But he held up his end of the bargain, taking his Serie A tally for the season to nine goals.

Substitutes 

Alejandro Jimenez – 7

Yunus Musah – 6.5

Davide Bartesaghi – 6

Matteo Gabbia – 6

Chaka Traore – 7

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