Jul 27, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Manchester City midfielder Bruno Zuculini (36) defends against Milan forward Keisuke Honda (10) during the second half of a friendly at Heinz Field. Manchester City won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

AC Milan Takes Season Opener Over Lazio, 3-1

AC Milan opened up their 2014-15 Serie A campaign at the San Siro to take on Lazio. Milan is looking to bounce back from a very disappointing season where they did not qualify for any European competitions.

After the departure of Mario Balotelli, many wondered who would step up and take his spot as the team’s leading striker. Keisuke Honda is one candidate who finished the preseason competitions well and found the back of the net for the Rossoneri in today’s game. Honda’s 7th minute goal gave Milan a 1-0 lead and was his first goal at the San Siro. His first Milan goal came back in January in the Coppa Italia.

Sulley Muntari made it 2-0 Milan in the 56th minute with his 10th goal in the Red and Black uniform. Shortly after, Jeremy Menez was selected to take the penalty kick in the 64th minute after he was taken down in the box. He buried it in the back of the net to give Milan a commanding 3-0 lead.

Very shortly after, Alex had the ball come off of him and go into the net for an own goal to give Lazio some sort of hope with just 23 minutes left to play. Milan would hold the lead and finish off the game with a win in Filippo Inzaghi’s first official game as Milan manager.

Diego Lopez made his debut for the Rossoneri and made a huge impression with a penalty save in the 94th minute to keep the lead at 2. Along with Lopez, Menez, Alex, and Pablo Armero all made their debuts for Milan. Armero came on for Honda in the 77th minute.

Here is some post-match reactions, courtesy of AC Milan’s Official Website:

COACH INZAGHI (TO THE MILAN CHANNEL)
“I think that Lazio are one of the best teams in Serie A. I knew it would have been a difficult match. The Milan DNA was evident today with Abbiati making a motivational speech to the team before the match. It moved me and I am really happy to have him with us. I have 5 central defenders, all really good, let’s not forget Rami and Mexes. Today I needed to play Bonera left-back and he made himself available. I thank him for this and he did really well. The coach has to make choices and the players did well. Ignazio played a good game, even though he will be disappointed about not being called up to the National Team. I saw all the players with a  crazy amount of adrenaline and this is positive. We will lose some matches but it will be against who plays better not against who is more determined. Stephan is an added value to the side, he showed it today, but all 3 of the forwards showed their attachment to the shirt, they all ran after every ball, and this is the right attitude to win back the fans.

KEISUKE HONDA
“I expected a tough match, but we worked really hard right from the US Tour, we’ve grown and this is the result. I am convinced that we can do more and work more, but I am happy for the result. Before the match I was very nervous as we come off the back of a difficult season. I am pleased with what we have achieved. The coach told me that I had to work hard and be professional. The coach teaches me lots of tricks in how to play as an attacker. El Shaarawy gave me a perfect pass for the goal. I am really happy about this and the result. We needed this victory to start the season well.”
JEREMY MENEZ
“I am happy with this victory, we needed it to start well. This side suffered last year and deserved this win. It is nice to see the coach happy, we all work together at Milanello, we have a healthy dressing room and if we stay on this path we can achieve good things. I hope the President comes every week as this way we will win matches. He came before the TIM Trophy and we won and he came before the Lazio match and we won. The stadium was wonderful this evening and it was a perfect day. However, it is the first of a long season and there is a lot of work to do. Diego Lopez is a strong goalkeeper and he showed it tonight. I have joined Milan to win something, I’m not yet 100% because I had an injury this summer, but I feel ok. We’re working really hard and like I said we are a good group and can do well.”

For the entirety of the quotes, check out Milan’s post-match reactions here.

Due to international play fast approaching, Milan will not have their second game until September 14th. They will be the visitors against Parma.

Background stats and information courtesy of AC Milan’s Website.

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Tags: AC Milan Diego Lopez Keisuke Honda Serie A

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