Verona (Italy), September 16: Krzysztof Piatek scored his first Serie A goal of the season to help 10-man AC Milan secure back-to-back victories in a 1-0 win over Hellas Verona, who also had a man sent off in a tempestuous clash at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.
Rossoneri boss Marco Giampaolo restored Piatek to the starting line-up after dropping him from his previous teamsheet and he tucked away a second-half penalty to ensure the visitors claimed all three points from a bruising encounter.
Verona had Mariusz Stepinski sent off after 21 minutes for a dangerous challenge but the newly promoted side matched Milan for long periods and caused Giampaolo's defence plenty of problems.
Milan are improving as the season progresses and, after failing to register a shot on goal in their 1-0 defeat at Udinese on the opening day, they created ample opportunities to score here as Suso took up his role as creator in chief.
But the chance that mattered most was Piatek's spot-kick, and the 24-year-old, who scored nine league goals last season, opened his account for 2019-20 before Davide Calabria was dismissed in second-half stoppage-time.
Milan were on the back foot early on as Gianluigi Donnarumma made a double-save, parrying Marco Faraoni's cross away from goal before claiming Mattia Zaccagni's overhead kick in both hands.
Verona were on top when Stepinski caught Mateo Musacchio on the ear with a high challenge that earned him a straight red card following a VAR review.
But the 10 men continued to press and Valerio Verre fired over the crossbar in spectacular style when he controlled a long pass and volleyed with exceptional control.
Substitute Ante Rebic should have broken the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half but he mistimed his shot and Suso's weighted cross went to waste.
Davide Calabria thundered a volley onto the post from 30 yards as Milan heaped pressure on their hosts, who hit the post themselves through Verre before a handball in the box by Verona defender Koray Gunter presented Piatek with a chance from the penalty spot that he lashed into the bottom corner of the net.
Piatek had the ball in the net again when Marco Silvestri spilled Hakan Calhanoglu's shot and he slid in to poke it over the line, but after a VAR review the referee judged a foul had been committed.
There was more late drama as Calabria caught Matteo Pessina with his arm as the substitute headed towards the box. The Milan full-back was sent for an early shower but Verona's Miguel Veloso and Darko Lazovic missed chances to grab a late, late equaliser.
What does it mean? Giampaolo's men improving
Two wins from their first three outings of the season is a reasonable start for Milan, who are starting to gel in attack and are cutting out mistakes at the back.
Suso so important
Milan function best when Suso is on form and he was their attacking lynchpin here, dictating play and constantly probing at a resolute Verona defence.
Paqueta hooked after quiet half
Lucas Paqueta was ineffective in attack in the first half and Milan improved substantially after he was replaced by Rebic.
The Milan derby is next up for Giampaolo's men as they aim to be the first side to take points from Inter this season, while Verona take on champions Juventus in Turin.