Serie A TIM


Pre-season continued in the best way possible today as Stefano Pioli's AC Milan beat Olympique Marseille 2-0 at the Stade Vélodrome. Both goals came in the first half, through Junior Messias - who put in a brilliant performance - and Olivier Giroud for a deserved victory for the Rossoneri. Beyond the result, the reigning Champions of Italy put in a robust, precise and efficient performance on the south coast of France. All that against a team that will feature in this season's Champions League.

After an imperious first-half display with various goalscoring chances, the Rossoneri controlled possession in the second half and even came close to making it 3-0. Another piece of good news was the return of Simon Kjær, who even came close to scoring himself. Today's game was the Rossoneri's final oversees friendly of the summer and the team will be given the next two days off. Training will recommence on Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's friendly in Vicenza, with Serie A matchday 1 against Udinese fast approaching.

The Rossoneri shuffled the pack slightly from the game against WAC, with Giroud, Tonali and Messias returning to the starting eleven. The Brazilian opened the scoring in the twelfth minute. Hernández brought the ball forward and, after a one-two with Rebić, found Díaz in a pocket of space on the edge of the box. The Spaniard spotted Messias' run and Junior finished with aplomb. AC Milan looked in good form and came close on a couple of occasions through Theo. In the 28th minute, the Rossoneri did double their lead, with another good team goal: Calabria sent it forward to Messias, who took the ball down well and sent it into the middle for Giroud, who swept it home with his left. The hosts looked on the ropes and Blanco was forced into a double save in the 31st minute first to deny Díaz and then Messias. In the 42nd minute, Gigot scrambled to clear Messias' cross, which was aimed at Giroud.

The hosts came out from the break with the bit between their teeth, however, and threatened through Clauss (47') and then Payet played in Tavares (56'). The Rossoneri responded with a few swift counterattacks, coming close to a third through Adli (59'), Leão (62') and Messias (65'). The tempo of the game slowed as AC Milan controlled possession of the football, while Marseille struggled to get a foothold. After Adli and Leão came on at half-time, Stefano Pioli sent on six fresh players in the 74th minute, including a return to the pitch for the first time in almost eight months for Simon Kjær. The hosts went down to ten men in the 78th minute after substitute Touré was shown a second yellow card. The Rossoneri had a flurry of late chances through Saelemaekers (86') and Lazetić. Then, approaching full time, Gabbia and Kjær almost added a third. Full time.



OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE (3-4-2-1): Blanco; Gigot (74' Touré), Mbemba, Balerdi; Clauss, Guendouzi (46' Gueye), Rongier, Kolašinac (46' Tavares); Gerson, Payet (74' Ćaleta-Car); Suárez (46' Milik). Subs.: Ngapandouetnbu, Van Neck; Lirola, Said Mmadi; Ben Seghir, Elmaz; Bakambu, de la Fuente, Dieng, Ünder. Coach: Tudor.

AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria (74' Florenzi), Kalulu (74' Gabbia), Tomori (74' Kjær), Hernández (74' Ballo-Touré); Bennacer (82' Bakayoko), Tonali (74' Krunić); Messias (74' Saelemaekers), Díaz (46' Adli), Rebić (46' Leão); Giroud (82' Lazetić). Subs.: Mirante, Tătăruşanu; Coubis. Coach: Pioli.

Referee: Mathieu Vernice (France).
Goals: 12' Messias (Mi), 28' Giroud (Mi).
Booked: 40' Rebić (Mi), 41' Guendouzi (Ma), 53' Tonali (Mi), 57' Pioli (Mi), 77' Touré (Ma).
Sent-off: 78' Touré (Ma).

(Photo LaPresse)