Venezia 0, Milan 3: Picnic in Venice

Early games always scare me, not just because they are at 3:30am in my time zone, but because Milan seem to struggle at that hour. With 11 players missing again, I confess I was a bit worried. However,  with our quality and a bit of luck, Milan were able to cruise past Venezia, who finished on 10 men. A lovely gift for Pioli for his 400th Serie A match as a manager, too. It wasn't always easy, but in the end it seemed like a picnic in Venice.

Lunchtime in Venice? Sounds lovely

The match started off in style, as Leão sent the ball in to Ibrahimović right in front of goal, who tapped it in as if it was child's play. 1-0 Milan. This would make Venezia the 80th team Ibrahimović had scored against in the top five European leagues since 2000, according to Opta Paolo. A couple of minutes later, we saw the scrappy rash version of Saelemaekers, who saw yellow, but he was able to avoid a second before being subbed off at the half. Gabbia also saw yellow for a dumb foul on Okereke, but was otherwise pretty solid again in this match.

Ibrahimovic finds the net

The second half started with another early goal for Milan, this time a beautiful Theo Hernández goal from a lovely Leão assist. A couple of minutes later, VAR checked for a handball in the box from Kalulu, but thanks to the newer interpretation of the handball rules, Irrati saw that his hand was against his side in a natural position and we escaped conceding a penalty.

A brace for Theo Hernández and two assists for Leão - the perfect duo

The 58th changed the game unfortunately, when Svoboda was sent off for a handball in the box. Ibrahimović had taken the shot which Romero parried out, then the handball, and Theo Hernández also took a shot, so a double save for Romero. But you can't have two goalkeepers in goal, and Svoboda seemed to attempt to clear the ball with his hand, so he was shown the red card. The call was a bit harsh in my opinion, and I would have liked to have seen how the rest of the match played out on a more level playing field, because Venezia's subs did give Maignan a little work to do with nine shots in all, three shots on target. But it certainly made the last 30 minutes much easier for Milan.

The captain salutes the fans

Theo Hernández, wearing the captain's armband again, stepped up and converted the penalty to make it 3-0 Milan. Rebić replaced Leão, who had the two assists, but the Croatian is definitely not 100% yet. Tonali saw yellow in the 73rd minute, which means he will miss our clash with Spezia next week. Bakayoko gave a solid performance, which was heartening, but Tonali will be a big miss for us. The young Primavera player Stanga got a few minutes at the end, it was his debut for the first team.

Pioli with plenty to smile about in his 400th match in charge in Serie A

This was Milan's third win in a row, and at least temporarily, we went ahead of Inter at the top of the table. More impressive that we did it while missing so many players, but also for the mentality boost it will be as we head toward matches with Juventus and Inter before our players come back from AFCON. The lunchtime game was perhaps not exactly a walk in the park, but with Venezia's errors, it seemed like a picnic in Venice

This match inspired by the music of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five"

Venezia 0, Milan 3: Picnic in Venice Venezia 0, Milan  3: Picnic in Venice Reviewed by Elaine on 8:00 AM Rating: 5
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