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Benfica ride a hot goalkeeper and a lucky goal to a 1-0 win over Milan in the ICC

Milan lose another preseason game, but it’s all about the process

AC Milan v Benfica - 2019 International Champions Cup Photo by Kathryn Riley/International Champions Cup via Getty Images

AC Milan had another high-profile friendly in the United States today as part of the International Champions Cup. The rossoneri faced off against defending Liga NOS champions Benfica at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, home of both the NFL’s New England Patriots and MLS side New England Revolution.

Matches like these aren’t really about the results, but instead giving a chance for North America based fans an opportunity to see their favorite teams up close.

The bulk of the chances went Milan’s way in the first half, with a rocket of a shot from Hakan Calhanoglu bouncing off of the post in the 27th minute, followed quickly by the Benfica keeper Odisseas Vlachodimos making a number of good saves to keep the clean sheet.

Suso even got in on the party, putting a shot just wide of both the keeper and the post late in the first half, but despite all of the pressure, the match ended scoreless at the half.

Andrea Conti and Pepe Reina came on at halftime for Davide Calabria and Gigio Donnarumma as Marco Giampaolo looked to get his team rotated and give everyone a chance to get on the pitch.

And despite all of the chances generated in the first half, it would end up being a goofy shot from a corner kick that scored the game’s only goal. Former Milan player Adel Taarabt scored a deflected goal that left Reina helpless going the other direction. The ball hit off of Lucas Biglia, but with Taarabt on the outs with the Portuguese team, perhaps it’s for the best that he got the goal instead of chalking it up to an own-goal. Biglia won’t likely mind.

Biglia hit the post from a free kick in the 83rd minute, and it really should have been an equalizing goal, as the keeper was nowhere near the ball and even Piatek couldn’t bury the rebound. Daniel Maldini and Marco Brescianini came on for Borini and Piatek in the 87th minute, giving the youth a few minutes to impress late in the game.

Benfica ends up winning the match 1-0, but it was all about the process and the party, not the results. It would have been nice to see Milan win, but don’t forget that it really doesn’t count until the Serie A starts.