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Udinese stun sterile Milan to hand Giampaolo losing start

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MILAN (Reuters) – Udinese handed AC Milan’s new coach Marco Giampaolo a losing start when a Rodrigo Becao header gave them a shock 1-0 win in Serie A on Sunday against toothless opponents who failed to muster a single shot on target.

Becao, making his debut after joining from Bahia in his native Brazil, rose above the Milan defence at the near post to head in from a corner in the 72nd minute on a sweltering afternoon in Udine.

It capped an excellent match for the central defender who also managed to keep Milan forward Krzysztof Piatek under wraps at the other end.

Milan replaced Gennaro Gattuso with former Sampdoria coach Giampaolo during the close season in a bid to improve on last season’s fifth place and to take them back to the Champions League.

The new incumbent was left with plenty to ponder after a performance which was all too reminiscent of last season with too much unproductive possession.

“The match gave me plenty of indications. We need to make more in attack out of our possession of the ball. It’s not the fault of the players, but of their characteristics,” he told reporters.

“We were sterile — we have to try and reorganise everything completely upfront.”

Udinese nearly added a second just after the goal when Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma did superbly to turn Kevin Lasagna’s shot over the bar.

Udinese’s only major scare was at the hands of VAR in the 81st minute.

The ball appeared to brush defender Samir’s arm as he jumped at a corner but, after a VAR review which took nearly four minutes, the referee decided against a penalty.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ian Chadband and Pritha Sarkar)

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