MILAN — United States standout Christian Pulisic began his AC Milan career in impressive style by scoring one goal and setting up another as Bologna was beaten 2-0 on Monday in their opening match of Serie A.
Pulisic, who joined Milan last month, had a hand in Olivier Giroud’s opener and his former Chelsea teammate returned the favor in the 21st minute.
“It was a fantastic start for sure,” Pulisic said. “I’m really excited to be a part of this team. The two early goals really helped us because it was a difficult game after that. And for me just a great start personally as well, nice to get a goal.”
Pulisic is one of several new Rossoneri faces. Milan was the busiest Serie A club in the offseason, bringing in six new players and he said the presence of former teammates played a part in his decision to join the storied Italian club.
“It was just speaking with those guys. With Olivier we had some good experiences together, I played with Fikayo (Tomori), I played with Ruben and the connection is just there, as you can see tonight again,” Pulisic said.
“And it was great to get the assist from Ollie again. It just felt like the perfect step in my career and I feel really, really welcome.”
Pulisic's U.S. teammate Yunus Musah was suspended for the season opener. But other new buys Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tijjani Reijnders were given starting debuts and the latter also had a hand in the opener in the 11th minute.
Pulisic put in a precise crossfield pass to the back post where Reijnders cut it back for Giroud to slot in at the other side.
Pulisic did even better 10 minutes later when he played a one-two with Giroud before firing into the far side.
“We are very happy with this first match and I am even happier for Christian,” Giroud said. “I know him very well, we played together and had a good relationship on the field.”
With a comfortable lead and the heat nearing 30 degrees — even at night — in Bologna, Milan's intensity dropped.
Rafael Leão could have made it three in the final minute but his effort came off the inside of the far post.
Claudio Ranieri ’s first match back in Serie A ended in a creditable 0-0 for Cagliari at Torino.
Torino had the better of the chances but — just like last season — struggled to make the most of its opportunities.
The 71-year-old Ranieri was back at the club that effectively launched his coaching career more than 30 years ago.
He achieved another seemingly improbable feat last season when he steered Cagliari to promotion via the playoffs.