“I’ve been trying to score that goal for three years” – Rafael Leão brilliance as Milan ruin Mourinho’s touchline return

Roma 1-2 AC Milan

Rafael Leão scored his first goal of the season on Friday evening as AC Milan ran out 2-1 winners away at Roma, who welcomed José Mourinho back to the bench following suspension.

Roma boss Mourinho recently completed a two-match ban carried over from last season and was able to guide his team from the touchline. However, an impressive start from the visitors led to them being two goals up early in the second period, on a night which saw Mourinho had a debut to Romelu Lukaku.

The opening goal involved another Portuguese protagonist, as Roma goalkeeper Rui Patrício conceded a penalty after five minutes when adjudged to have upended Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Veteran French striker Olivier Giroud converted to put Milan ahead, and the score remained 1-0 for the remainder of the first half.

Milan dominated much of the proceedings and doubled their lead through a piece of magic from Rafael Leão just minutes after the re-start. Davide Calabria’s cross from the right was a fraction behind Leao, who adjudged himself to brilliantly hook the ball in off the post with an improvised bicycle kick as he fell to the ground.

Mourinho threw on Lukaku for the closing stages, by which time Milan had been reduced to ten men following Fikayo Tomori’s red card. However, Leandro Spinazzola’s stoppage-time striker was little consolation for the Giallorrossi, who were generally outplayed at the Stadio Olimpico and remain winless after three rounds in Serie A.

“I finally got it” - Leão

“It is a goal I’ve been trying to score for three years and I finally got it,” said Leão, donning his newly-assigned no10 shirt,

“However, the best thing was to get the win here, because it is always tough against Roma and these are three important points to stay top of the table.”

“The shirt number? I knew that this was a special number at Milan and I feel more responsible with this jersey on my back. I want to prove on the field what I can do.

“I feel more responsible with and without the ball. I know that I can make the difference with the ball, but I also have to defend and improve in that area. I want to thank my coach, as he is always helping me to see what I can improve.”

Mourinho, who sarcastically applauded the referee after the award of Milan’s penalty, decided not to speak with the media after the match. His Roma side have taken just one point from their opening three matches and sit in the relegation zone heading into the international break.

By Sean Gillen