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Serie A | Milan 1-0 Empoli: Pulisic proves his value again

Pulisic Milan Empoli Giroud Jovic

Rafael Leao and Alessandro Florenzi were suspended with Tommaso Pobega injured, but Luka Jovic returned from his two-match ban and Fikayo Tomori got the first start since that injury in late December. The Tuscans were revitalised under Davide Nicola, but lost to Cagliari after three wins and as many draws.

It was an aggressive start from the hosts, as Pulisic and Noah Okafor tested Elia Caprile, while they repeatedly put low crosses in from the by-line, Ardian Ismajli and Sebastiano Luperto always getting there first to clear.

Okafor got down the left on an Ismael Bennacer pass, pulling back to the edge of the area for Pulisic, whose first-time shot was deflected past Caprile off Luperto. Initially, the offside flag went up, but that was over-ruled by VAR, as Okafor timed the run correctly.

To make matters worse for Empoli, they also lost Ismajli to a muscular injury moments later.

Malick Thiaw risked an own goal intercepting the Liberato Cacace cross from six yards, while Samuel Chukwueze failed to make the most of a promising move with a weak finish.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek surged forward to sting Caprile’s gloves from outside the area, while Davide Calabria couldn’t keep the header down on an Okafor cross to the back post.

Empoli remained in it and threatened late on, as Pierre Kalulu came to the rescue following a Thiaw error, then Mattia Destro was offside as his header thumped the woodwork.

The visitors really should’ve equalised on 86 minutes when a corner found Destro totally unmarked, but his weak free header was straight at Mike Maignan.

The last kick of the game saw Chukwueze force a low save out of Caprile at the foot of the near post.