Milan 4-0 Salzburg: Vintage Giroud on display as Rossoneri advance to the knockouts

A throwback performance by Olivier Giroud was the highlight of AC Milan’s 4-0 thrashing of Austria’s FC Salzburg in their final Champions League assignment in Group E, with the Scudetto holders advance to the knockout phase. 

The French World Cup winner was instrumental for Stefano Pioli as the 36-year-old had a hand in all of the goals as he bagged a brace of goals and assists in the process, ending a nine-year wait for a return to the business of the competition that they’ve won seven times before.  

Milan’s last involvement in the knockout phase of the Champions League came in 2014, wherein they exited at the last sixteen to Atletico Madrid.

Apart from Giroud, goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu continued his immense form since stepping up for the injured Mike Maignan, picking up his second straight clean sheet in Europe and third overall this season. 


Even with a draw would do given their one-point gap at the table, with Chelsea already won the group the past week, it was still all to play for as the threat of relegation to the Europa League still loom large before kickoff. 

However, Theo Hernandez dispelled those thoughts as his left-footed effort clipped the right side of the post just three minutes in, a sign of things to come. 

And in the 14th minute, Giroud scored on a textbook header from a Sandro Tonali corner to put Milan in front, as they held on to the slim lead at the break. 

Milan then doubled their lead just 42 seconds into the restart, with the striker picked out Rade Krunic who heads it home with ease. 

Giroud then put the match to bed in the 57th minute, converting on a scramble after Rafael Leao put the ball near the six-yard box. 

Junior Messias put the finishing touches in stoppage time, firing in a left-footed curler to give Giroud a pair of assists.

Milan squad: Tatarusanu (GK), Kalulu (Gabbia 86’), Kjaer, Tomori, Theo Hernandez (C) (Ballo-Toure 78’), Tonali, Bennacer (Pobega 69’), Rebic, Krunic (De Ketelaere 78’), Leao (Junior Messias 69’), Giroud 

Subs unused: Brahim Diaz, Jungdal, Origi, Mirante (GK), Dest