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Empoli v Milan Live Commentary, 10/1/22

1 - 3
N. Bajrami (90+2)
A. Rebić (79)
F. Ballo (90+3)
Rafael Leão (90+6)
Stadio Carlo Castellani


That is all from us tonight folks, thanks for joining us. Goodbye!
After their 2-1 defeat to Napoli before the international break, that was the perfect response from Milan. They were not at their best, but it is an excellent sign for Pioli to see his side get the job done anyway. They face Chelsea in midweek in the Champions League, while Empoli travel to Turin to face Torino next weekend.
It is time to breathe and take in what just happened. Empoli and Milan wasted numerous chances in the first 75 minutes before 20 minutes of carnage at Stadio Carlo Castellani. Rebic opened the scoring after converting Leao's cutback, which looked to have been enough after 91 minutes. Bajrami had other ideas as he curled home a sensational free-kick to send the home fans into raptures. Sadly, Empoli got caught up in the moment and left themselves exposed, allowing Ballo-Toure to tap home within seconds. Leao then got a much-deserved goal of his own with the last kick of the game, and it is Milan that will leave with all three points.
90' + 8' FULL-TIME - EMPOLI 1-3 MILAN.
A. Rebić
90' + 6' What an impact Rebic has made, picking up an assist to go with his earlier goal.
Rafael Leão
90' + 6' MAKE THAT FOUR - EMPOLI 1-3 MILAN - A deadly counter-attack from Milan puts the game to bed, and this incredible game will go the way of Pioli's side. Empoli committed too many players forward, allowing Rebic to pick out Leao. He did the rest, bursting forward before chipping Vicario in the Empoli goal.
90' + 6' After 79 minutes of relatively poor football, we have seen three goals in 11 minutes. Domestic football is back with a bang!
F. Ballo
90' + 3' INCREDIBLE - EMPOLI 1-2 MILAN - The home fans fall silent as Ballo-Toure taps home at the back post to restore Milan's one-goal lead. Empoli fell asleep at the back, allowing Krunic a free header from inside the box. His flick-on looped towards Ballo-Toure, who stayed composed to score. Absolutely fantastic finish to this match.
R. Krunić
90' + 3' Ballo-Toure will get the credit, but what a header that was from Krunic to set up his team-mate.
N. Bajrami
90' + 2' WOWWWWWWW - EMPOLI 1-1 MILAN - It's a case of third time lucky for Bajrami as he finds the top corner with a delicious free-kick to punish Milan at the death. Bennacer's foul proved costly, with Tatarusanu unable to stop that effort. It was inch-perfect from outside the box, and Empoli look to have stolen a point!
I. Bennacer
Yellow Card
90' + 1' Bennacer is the latest Milan player to be booked after stopping an Empoli attack on the edge of his own box.
90' Four minutes of stoppage time to come...
89' OVER! Empoli waste another golden chance to draw level, but Bajrami scuffs his lines for the second time in the second half as he blazes his shot into the crowd from just inside the box.
88' WIDE! Milan nearly added a second from a free-kick, but Diaz's right-footed effort just skimmed past the near post.
N. Cambiaghi
N. Haas
83' Haas has also made way, with Cambiaghi on for the final few moments.
M. Destro
M. Satriano
82' Destro is on in place of Satriano.
82' Leao has assisted his fourth goal this season, more than any other Milan player in the Italian Serie A, while Rebic now has three goals for the campaign!
81' It looks like Empoli boss Zanetti was shown a yellow card after Rebic's goal, so he must have said something out of turn.
Rafael Leão
79' Leao has been Milan's best player tonight, and he caps a fine night's work with an assist, with Empoli unable to stop him from charging into the box.
A. Rebić
79' GOAAALLL - EMPOLI 0-1 MILAN - Breakthrough for the champions as Rebic taps home to give Pioli's side the lead. While the striker did what Giroud could not, Leao did everything in the build-up. The Milan forward barged his way into the box before teeing up Rebic, who could not miss from eight yards out.
77' While tonight's battle has not been one for the record books, both sides have had chances to score, and it is a surprise to see the scoreline still at 0-0. There is still plenty of time left for that to change, but for now, it looks like we are heading for a disappointing goalless draw.
74' SAVE! Milan keeper Tatarusanu makes a fine stop to his left-hand side to deny Bajrami, who really should have done better with his shot after a blistering counter-attack from the home side.
S. Dest
S. Kjær
73' Kjaer will head down the tunnel for treatment, allowing Dest to take his place at the heart of defence.
Brahim Díaz
C. De Ketelaere
73' De Ketelaere is also making his way back to the bench, with Díaz getting less than 20 minutes to impress.
A. Rebić
O. Giroud
73' Pioli gives Giroud an early night, with Rebic on in his place.
71' Kjaer, who has struggled with a few knocks this evening, looks to have finished his shift for the night. The Milan defender has gone down injured and has already removed his captain's armband.
70' BLOCK! Luperto comes to the rescue to deny Milan, and in particular Giroud. The Empoli defender got caught on the wrong side of the striker, but he got his body in the way of Giroud's shot, allowing Vicario to grab the rebound.
68' Empoli have committed 10 fouls already tonight, which shows what they are trying to do. Anytime Milan have made progress, Empoli have been happy to neutralise that threat by conceding a free-kick.
64' WHAT A SAVE! Tonali's free-kick nearly ends up in the back of the net after taking a wicked deflection off Luperto, but somehow, Vicario managed to pivot and get across his goal in time to deny Milan. He is the leading candidate for man of the match so far!
62' Giroud is still down after that clash, and he will need to pass concussion protocol to continue.
S. Luperto
Yellow Card
61' Luperto is shown a yellow card after catching Giroud with his elbow during an aerial challenge.
60' Even though his side have been the better team in the second half so far, Zanetti appears to want to turn the screw in midfield and really test Milan's resolve. Let's see who can take advantage in the next 15 minutes..
N. Bajrami
L. Henderson
58' Zanetti makes another alteration to his midfield, with Bajrami replacing Henderson.
F. Bandinelli
M. Pjaca
58' Another change for Empoli as Pjaca makes way for Bandinelli.
57' CROSSBAR! Giroud rattled the crossbar from the resulting free-kick, but he could only watch on as the ball flew into the stands behind the goal. That was a stunning effort from the former Arsenal and Chelsea man, but he just put too much power on his shot.
K. De Winter
Yellow Card
56' De Winter ends up in the referee's book after bringing down Bennacer on the edge of the box.
53' Milan have stopped the opposition from scoring a first-half goal in five of their eight games; only Torino (6) and Atalanta (7) have done this more often in the Italian Serie A this season.
51' WIDE! Empoli appeared to have Milan on the ropes, but Stojanovic's shot missed the bottom corner, and Milan live to fight another day. Empoli cannot afford to keep wasting chances, but their fans are loving the battle
48' WIDE! Empoli nearly break the deadlock after a thunderous strike from Marin, but the midfielder sees his shot whistle past the post. It all came about after Milan failed to clear their lines, but Pioli's side got away with it.
46' We are back underway!
While a draw is a great result for Empoli, they need to offer more in the final third if they are to get a share of the points. The pressure should tell if Milan can maintain their performance from the first 45 minutes.
The first half comes to an end with both sides unable to find the back of the net. Injuries could have played a large part in that; with Milan losing Saelemaekers and Calabria to muscle injuries, Grassi could not shake off a stomach problem for Empoli. Leao has had two chances to score, but on both occasions, Vicario did enough to thwart him.
45' + 5' HALF-TIME - EMPOLI 0-0 MILAN.
45' + 3' OFF THE POST! Leao and Vicario continue their personal battle, and it is the latter that comes out on top once again. After a mazy run into the box, Leao thought he had beaten the Empoli keeper with a powerful shot, but Vicario tipped his effort onto the frame of the goal. With the offside flag eventually raised into the air, it would not have mattered anyway.
R. Marin
A. Grassi
45' + 2' Grassi has been unable to shake off his injury and Marin replaces him with minutes to go in the first half.
45' Four minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the first half...
43' Empoli defender Grassi needs treatment after hurting himself during a tackle on Milan forward De Ketelaere.
42' Sidenetting! Leao wastes another chance to test Empoli goalkeeper Vicario as he hits a right-footed shot into the side of the goal after a quickfire counter-attack from Milan.
41' Empoli fans showed their sympathy for Calabria as he made his way back to the tunnel, but their team can't afford to let their guard down before half-time. Pioli's gameplan is out of the window for now, and they need to keep the scoreline at 0-0 before the break.
P. Kalulu
D. Calabria
39' After leaving the field on a stretcher, Calabria is replaced by Kyatengwa.
37' The game has yet to get back underway because Calabria is down injured, and he appears to have pulled his hamstring. What a disastrous few minutes for Pioli, as he now needs to make another substitution.
36' The match comes to a halt as Empoli win a corner, but they want a penalty for a handball from Ballo-Toure in the box. It appears the officials have checked it, and we will wait for the set-piece in due course.
35' Just like they have done all night, Empoli deal with the danger and it remains goalless!
34' CLOSE! De Winter nearly conceded an own goal as he tried to clear a routine cross, and Empoli now have a corner to defend.
R. Krunić
A. Saelemaekers
33' Stefano Pioli replaces Saelemaekers with Krunic for the final 12 minutes of the first half.
31' Milan have a second injury worry on their hands, and it looks like Saelemaekers has signalled that he needs to come off due to a muscle problem.
29' Empoli are digging their heels in at the minute and making life really tough for Milan. They look to be lacking quality in the final third, but so far, Milan have yet to punish them.
N. Haas
Yellow Card
25' Now Haas is carded after a blatant pull on Bennacer's shirt in midfield.
25' All that excitement for nothing as Milan clear with ease.
S. Kjær
Yellow Card
24' Kjaer is the first man to be carded tonight after a clumsy challenge on Parisi near the touchline. Empoli will have a free-kick in a decent position...
22' Again! Saelemaekers tried his luck from the edge of the box, and while he hit the target, Vicario was on hand to palm the ball away from goal.
21' WIDE! Milan once again waste a glorious chance to score, but it is Saelemaekers that is left wondering this time at the back post. Leao, who missed Milan's opening opportunity, turned provider this time, but his cutback was wasted as Saelemaekers fired past the frame of the goal from inside the box.
20' He needs to find his shooting boots, but Leao has made a great start this evening. The Milan winger is constantly asking for the ball and trying to get involved at every opportunity.
17' Milan enjoyed 65.2 per cent possession in the first 15 minutes, but Empoli are slowly coming back into the contest in front of their own supporters.
16' Tatarusanu is forced to make his first save of the night, but Empoli midfielder Henderson failed to generate the required power as he attacked a cross at the back post, and it was a comfortable stop for the Milan keeper.
13' We are back underway and Kjaer looks good to continue for now.
12' The game is stopped as Kjaer requires treatment after a collision with Bennacer on the edge of the Milan box.
9' SAVE!!! Milan should be in front, but a fine save from Vicario keeps them at bay. After being teed up by Giroud, Leao had plenty of time to pick his spot from inside the penalty area, but he saw his effort saved by the legs of the Empoli goalkeeper.
8' Panic over for Empoli, who clear their lines at the first attempt from the set-piece.
7' CHANCE - Empoli nearly fell behind after a defensive mix-up allowed Leao to latch onto the ball on the edge of the box. The Milan winger picked out Giroud in the box, but his backheeled effort was blocked for a corner.
6' While the action on the pitch has lacked quality, the home fans are making plenty of noise as they try to help their team take the lead.
4' Neither side have settled into a rhythm in the early stages, and it may take the majority of the first half for both teams to shake off the rustiness after the international break.
1' We are underway in Empoli!
The two teams are now making their way onto the pitch and kick-off is moments away!
Milan have lost just one of their last 11 Serie A matches against Empoli, going down 2-1 at home in April 2017.
Theo Hernandez and Mike Maignan returned from international duty with injuries, meaning Tatarusuanu is given a chance in goal. Leao returns from suspension to start in midfield, but Divock Origi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic remain long-term injury absentees. Empoli defender Ardian Ismajli missed out through injury, but Baldanzi and Destro have recovered from problems of their own to take their place on the bench.
SUBS: Sergino Dest, Antonio Mirante, Yacine Adli, Tommaso Pobega, Malick Thiaw, Ante Rebic, Pierre Kalulu Kyatengwa, Rade Krunic, Andreas Jungdal, Aster Vranckx, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Marko Lazetic, Matteo Gabbia, Brahim Diaz.
MILAN (4-2-3-1): Ciprian Tatarusanu; Davide Calabria (c), Simon Kjaer, Fikayo Tomori, Fode Ballo-Toure; Sandro Tonali, Ismael Bennacer; Alexis Saelemaekers, Charles de Ketelaere, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud.
SUBS: Gabriele Guarino, Tyronne Ebuehi, Filippo Bandinelli, Jacopo Fazzini, Nedim Bajrami, Razvan Marin, Tommaso Baldanzi, Duccio Degl'Innocenti, Emmanuel Ekong, Sebastian Walukiewicz, Samir Ujkani, Mattia Destro, Nicolo Cambiaghi, Liberato Cacace, Samuele Perisan.
EMPOLI (4-3-1-2): Guglielmo Vicario; Petar Stojanovic, Koni de Winter, Sebastiano Luperto (c), Fabiano Parisi; Nicolas Haas, Alberto Grassi, Liam Henderson; Marko Pjaca; Martín Satriano, Sam Lammers.
Empoli have proven to be tough to beat so far, with Paolo Zanetti's side drawing four of their opening seven matches. Milan have won four of their first seven games, but they could be rusty after most of their squad were called up to international duty at the end of last month.
Empoli recorded their first win of the season last time out as they beat Bologna 1-0 on their travels, while Milan were beaten for the first time as they went down 2-1 to Napoli.
Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of the clash between Empoli and Milan from Serie A. Both sides will be desperate to pick up all three points after the international break, and it promises to be a close battle this evening.