USMNT star Christian Pulisic fades as Rafael Leao sees wondergoal cancelled out by Atalanta penalty in frustrating draw for AC Milan

Christian Pulisic failed to make a significant impact against Atalanta as AC Milan were held to a draw at San Siro on Sunday evening.

Leao AC Milan Atalanta

Pulisic returned to the starting line-up for this clash, after dropping to the bench in their last outing in Serie A – which ended in a 4-2 loss to Monza.

It was an electric start by the USMNT star and his teammates, who took the lead within moments of play getting underway. Olivier Giroud had come close moments prior, however it was Rafael Leao who opened the scoring with a stunning strike into the top right corner.

Regularly drifting in from the right wing, Pulisic remained lively throughout the opening stages – while his teammate Musah watched on from the bench.

Despite dominating the vast majority of the first period, Atalanta were handed a golden opportunity to get back into the game just before half-time – after being awarded a penalty for a high foot from Giroud. Teun Koopmeiners made no mistake from the spot.

It was much of the same in the second half for Pioli’s men, who had large amounts of possession but lacked a cutting edge in front of goal. Pulisic himself had arguably the best chance of the second half, as his first time effort trickled past the outside of the post.

It was a frustrating game for Milan which would go on to end with the points being shared by both teams.

Koopmeiners AC Milan

Juventus’ last minute win against Frosinone earlier on Sunday heaped added levels of pressure on Milan ahead of this fixture. The Rossoneri wasted no time in settling the nerves but were made to pay for not building on their lead, after Koopmeiners slotted his penalty away.

Milan remain in third place, although a four-point gap now separates them and the Old Lady in second. Pioli’s side dominated this game from start to finish, however they did not possess a great enough threat in the final third to secure all three points.

It was an average outing from Pulisic, who looked bright in possession when given the freedom and space to roam by the Atalanta defenders. There were some lapses of concentration within his own half when pressure was applied, although this ultimately did not cost his side on each occasion.

As the game went on, his influence on proceedings began to dwindle but the vast majority of their play was stemming from the left wing – the opposite side to where Pulisic found himself playng. He did get one opportunity to give his side the lead in the second half, although could only guide his effort just wide off the post.

Musah was brought on by the Milan boss with ten minutes to go, although failed to have a lasting impact on the game during his short cameo. Pulisic was replaced by Noah Okafor shortly after.

Pulisic Musah Pioli Milan 2023

Christian Pulisic (6/10):

Pulisic was bright in the early stages but his impact definitely fell off as the game went on. He had some tough chances to fire his side ahead but couldn’t convert this time round.

Yunus Musah (5/10): Musah was dropped to the bench once again for this fixture, after starting against Rennes in the Europa League last week. His side needed a spark in the second half after conceding – with Pioli turning to the USMNT ace with just over ten minutes to go.

AC Milan 2023-24

Following this game, Milan will now look ahead to a tough Serie A clash against seventh-place Lazio on Friday – with one eye on their upcoming Europa League tie against Slavia Prague shortly after.

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