Giroud stars as AC Milan thrash Salzburg to book last-16 spot

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French forward Olivier Giroud scored two goals and created another as AC Milan crushed Salzburg 4-0 on Wednesday to reach the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since 2013-14.

Needing to avoid defeat in their final Group E match to reach the last 16 against an Austrian side gunning for the win that would take them through, Giroud settled any nerves around the San Siro with an early header into the bottom corner.

The veteran expertly headed across for Rade Krunic to make it two 43 seconds into the second half and Giroud put the game to bed in the 57th minute, drilling home after fine work from Rafael Leao.

A solo goal from Junior Messias in stoppage time capped an excellent night for Milan who secured second spot in Group E behind England’s Chelsea. Salzburg will go into the Europa League after finishing third.

“These kinds of nights are what we wish for,” coach Stefano Pioli told Sky Sport Italia. “We wanted to show we improved compared to last season in the Champions League.

“We’re ambitious now, so let’s see what happens next.”

via Reuters

Image via Fabrizio Romano

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