Three is the magic number for AC Milan as Carlos Bacca’s treble helped give the Rossoneri a dramatic 3-2 win over Torino in their season opener, though the real match winner was Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Despite a summer of speculation linking the Colombian with a move away from the San Siro, a standing ovation came his way when he was substituted late on, as he proved just how important he is to the Milan frontline, while at the back 17-year-old Donnarumma saved a penalty in the last minute to deny Torino a point.
Two typical poacher’s goals and another from the spot ensured Vincenzo Montella’s reign with the Rossoneri got off to a perfect, if shaky start, ironically against the man he replaced on the Milan bench – Sinisa Mihajlovic.
Andrea Belotti and Daniele Baselli bagged what ultimately turned out to be consolation goals for Torino, with the former missing a spot kick in the last minute of the game after being brought down by Gabriel Paletta, who was also sent off for his misdemeanor.
An early chance came the way of Mbaye Niang following a Ignazio Abate cross, but Lorenzo De Silvestre nicked the ball away from the Frenchman at the last minute.
Niang was at the heart of Milan’s early attacking moves with a shot from the edge of the area saved by Daniele Padelli.
Then not long after Bacca got in behind the Torino backline, and found Niang in the penalty area, but the 21-year-old couldn’t get his effort on target.
Opportunities on Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal were few and far between for the Granata, and chief creator Adem Ljajic went closest but dragged his shot from the 18-yard line wide.
Juraj Kucka felt he should have had a penalty for being pulled down in the area, but referee Antonio Damato waved play on.
Bacca was denied after a good block from Luca Rossettini, but got his name on the scoresheet just before the break.
Abate raced down the right side and took advantage of an error from Cristian Molinaro who should have headed the ball clear. However he allowed the ball to get to the Milan full-back and his cross was headed into an empty net by Bacca.
After the interval, it was Torino who came out brighter and got themselves level three minutes into the second half with Molinaro somewhat atoning for his earlier error.
Afriyie Acquah found the 33-year-old on the left and his brilliant cross was nodded past Donnarumma by Belotti who got in front of Alessio Romagnoli.
Parity didn’t last long though, as Bacca pounced on an error from Emiliano Moretti, who misjudged a Niang cross, and the ball dropped to the Colombian who slide home from close range.
Things went from bad to worse for the Granata after Giacomo Bonaventura was brought down by Joel Obi in the penalty area. Bacca stepped up and smashed straight down the middle for his hat-trick.
To their credit, Torino kept looking to get themselves back into the game. First Belotti went close, then Baselli had a shot from distance and Maxi Lopez missed the target from a header.
A frantic final few moments were set up when Baselli wriggled through the Milan backline and stroked past Donnarumma, then Belotti was then brought down by Paletta late on for a penalty. The defender was also given a red card for the challenge, as was Niang for his protests aimed at the officials.
However, the Torino No.9 couldn’t beat Donnarumma who dramatically saved the spot kick to make sure Milan took all three points.
Next up for the Rossoneri is a trip to the Stadio San Paolo to face Napoli, while Torino will be at home against Bologna next weekend.
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