Leao scores as Milan beat Verona after delay

AC Milan returned to winning ways when Rafael Leao scored in a 1-0 home win over Hellas Verona in Saturday's Serie A game that was delayed by 25 minutes due to a hailstorm.

Milan, who were humbled 5-1 by Inter last weekend and were held to a goalless draw in their Champions League group opener by Newcastle United, moved level with league leaders Inter on 12 points but their city rivals play Empoli on Sunday.

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Leao gave Milan the lead in the eighth minute when Olivier Giroud pinched the ball from Verona near the halfway line and released the winger, who sprinted past two defenders scrambling to track back before slipping his shot past the goalkeeper.

The home side had chances to double the lead but could not convert them. At the other end, Milan were rarely threatened by Verona who remain in ninth place, five points behind Stefano Pioli's side.

Leao, along with his manager, had faced much criticism after their last two games and the 24-year-old Portugal international raced to embrace Pioli after finding the net for the third consecutive league game.

"Leao behaved well... It seems to me that the negativity around my players is a bit exaggerated. I take all of the responsibility," Pioli told DAZN.

Milan goalkeeper Marco Sportiello pulled off a fine save from a Michael Folorunsho header in the 20th minute, but he was rarely troubled after that.

The home side threatened again just after the hour mark as Leao went racing down the left wing and cut inside to the area, but his shot was blocked.

Milan forward Christian Pulisic also got away from his marker in the 72nd minute but his curling shot was pushed away by Verona goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo.

"At the end of the match I said, 'I hope the boys feel the pain that I do because these are missed opportunities'," Verona coach Marco Baroni said.

"I don't remember opportunities created by Milan, only from our turnovers. Verona played a great game, we have to believe in it more."