AC Milan ease to 3-0 win over Monza as youth shines through

Jan-Carlo Simic came off the bench to score on his debut for AC Milan.
Photo by Claudio Villa/AC Milan via Getty Images

AC Milan eased to a 3-0 home win over Monza in Serie A on Sunday, with 18-year-old Jan-Carlo Simic scoring on his debut.

Milan remain third in the standings but are now on 32 points and closed the gap to second-place Juventus to five points. Monza are 11th on 21 points. 

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Milan raced into the lead in the third minute when Tijjani Reijnders went on a solo run past three Monza players and into the area before poking in a shot through the legs of keeper Michele Di Gregorio.

The home side doubled their lead in the 41st minute when Rafael Leão played the ball across the goal from the right and substitute Simic slid in ahead of Lorenzo Colombo to score.

"It was like a dream but I'm happy to have been able to help the team," Simic told DAZN.

"A good debut and a goal, all kids dream of it. I'm happy for the team, that we won, and that I scored it's even better."

The Serbian had replaced the injured Tommaso Pobega in the 24th minute, with Stefano Pioli moving Alessandro Florenzi into midfield and Simic slotting into the right back position.

"I was already ready for the whole of last week. The coach had warned me. When he called me, I was ready and focused," Simic said.

Milan created plenty of chances in the opening half, with Di Gregorio pulling off two fine saves from Florenzi.

It could have been worse for Monza before half time when Christian Pulisic cut in from the right wing into the area and let fly with a curling shot which rattled the crossbar.

Milan keeper Mike Maignan made his first real save of the game in the 61st minute when Fikayo Tomori's attempt at a clearance fell to Andrea Colpani and his shot from close range was palmed away by the keeper.

Milan wrapped up all three points in the 76th minute with a wonderfully worked move finished off by another replacement, Noah Okafor.

Reijnders got away from Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro before flicking the ball into the path of Olivier Giroud in the box, who laid it back to the unmarked Okafor for a first-time shot into the far corner.

Okafor, who had replaced Leão less than 10 minutes before scoring, went off injured four minutes after his goal to add to Pioli's injury problems.

"Pobega looks like a hip problem while Okafor may be a bit tired, maybe a fatigue cramp. He's just recovered from a problem with his other leg and hopefully it's nothing so serious," Pioli told Sky Sports.

Milan's third consecutive home win followed last weekend's 3-2 defeat at Atalanta, and they also took advantage of Juventus's 1-1 draw at Genoa on Friday.