Christian Pulisic goal ensures AC Milan victory over Empoli

With the win, the Rossoneri overtook Juventus for second place in the Serie A table

AC Milan players celebrate US national team captain Christian Pulisic, once again decisive
AC Milan players celebrate US national team captain Christian Pulisic, once again decisive / GABRIEL BOUYS/GettyImages

Coach Stefano Pioli had to do without Rafael Leao, absent due to suspension, while he chose to rest striker Olivier Giroud, in view of Milan's upcoming match in the UEFA Europa League. Swiss striker Noah Okafor and Serbian striker Luka Jovic filled in.

For its part, the visiting team came to Milan in search of safety points, trying to confirm the good form following a coaching that began a few days ago with a precious draw away against Juventus FC.

From the start it was possible to guess how the match would progress. The Rossoneri took possession and forced the Tuscan team to defend close to their own goal.

The first opportunity was created by a precise exchange between Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic, with the latter testing the opposing goalkeeper to no avail.

Afterwards the pace of the match slowed considerably and this favored the attitude of the Empoli players who did not allow much space and closed down passing lines.

AC Milan struggled to create clean shots, but Noah Okafor showed himself to be particularly positive and forced Empoli to continuously doubleteam to stem Milan's initiative.

Finally, Okafor was well served by Ismael Bennacer, attacked the depth and served an interesting ball to Pulisic whose shot deflected off a defender, wrong-footing the goalkeeper.

Noah Okafor was among the best of the Rossoneri / GABRIEL BOUYS/GettyImages

The Rossoneri were in full control to start the second half but there was no need to seek greater intensity to find a gap between the tight defensive lines of the visiting team.

The match turned stagnant with the Rossoneri pressing forward towards the opponent's goal.

The only conclusions came from individual initiatives, mostly from Loftus-Cheek and substitute Samuel Chukwueze, but both were neutralized by Elia Caprile.

In the last 10 minutes, Empoli came close on two occasions, due to the home team's lack of attention.

Both times, Mattia Destro (a former Milan star) was the culprit, hitting the post with a header – though the action would have been nullified by offsides – and then coming close with another header off a corner kick. On the latter occasion, Destro's effort was too weak and Mike Maignan scooped it up.

Next. AC Milan. Noah Okafor decisive for AC Milan's away victory. dark

With this victory, AC Milan jumped to second place in the table, its 59 points moving it past Juventus, while Empoli, despite the defeat, is still temporarily safe although a significant risk persists as they are only 1 point out of the relegation zone.