USMNT stars Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah unable to save AC Milan off bench as Serie A giants settle for draw with Newcastle in Champions League opener

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Pulisic Musah Pioli Milan 2023
USMNT duo Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah just couldn't quite turn the tide as AC Milan began their Champions League campaign with a draw.

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  • Milan settle for 0-0 draw
  • Pulisic and Musah come off bench
  • Both teams start with point in Group of Death

Milan settled for a 0-0 result against Newcastle in their first Champions League match, with the two sides splitting points to start the campaign. That point could be vital for either side, with the duo grouped with Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in what is far and away the toughest group in the competition this season.

Stefano Pioli opted to bench both Pulisic and Musah for this one, with the former featuring as a substitute for the first time. Both players came into the match in the second half, and it was Musah that shined brightest with a solid appearance in the midfield.

It wasn't enough, though, as Milan and Newcastle split points in Italy to kickstart what should be a tense group.

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    The match was there for the taking for Milan, who had every chance to take the lead in the first half.

    The Italian giants had 15 total shots in the first 45, including three big chances that could have resulted in a goal. However, Milan were wasteful, with Rafael Leao missing the best chance of the bunch as the two sides went into halftime level.

    Pulisic joined the fray early in the second half, replacing Samuel Chukwueze, while Musah joined shortly after to add fresh legs into the midfield. The two Americans nearly combined for what would have been a fantastic goal, as Musah found Pulisic, who teed up Olivier Giroud for a bicycle kick. The Frenchman's effort rolled towards Leao, who was unable to get onto the end of it to finish off what could have been a fantastic sequence.

    It proved to be Milan's best look with the Americans on the field, as the two sides settled for a scoreless draw to start both off with a point in this Group of Death.



    It remains to be seen if this is the start of a trend or just a one-off, as Pulisic had started each of Milan's Serie A matches before being dropped for this Champions League opener.

    Like Pulisic, Chukwueze was a big summer signing, so it's no surprise to see him get a chance to shine. However, only Pioli knows if Pulisic remains the go-to starter or if this is just the start of a competition for that right-wing spot in big games.

    Chukwueze didn't exactly seize his moment, missing one chance while creating one more as Milan proved too wasteful throughout his time on the field.

    Musah, meanwhile, did seize his moment, impressing after coming on. Pioli preferred Tomasso Pobega, Rade Krunic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in midfield but Musah more than held his own after coming into the match in the 72nd minute, completing each of his 12 passes while winning the ball back several times on the defensive side.



    Pulisic's place in the team will be the obvious talking point, especially for a USMNT fanbase so jaded thanks to his stop-start career at Chelsea. However, this is just life at a top club like Milan. USMNT fans shouldn't be too concerned, especially since Pulisic was the first one in off the bench.

    Musah's appearance, meanwhile, was a positive sign, as the young midfielder seems to be building trust during these early days. Pioli has been somewhat careful with Musah, easing him into life with Milan, but turning to him in a big game like this is a good show of confidence in the USMNT midfielder.



    Christian Pulisic (6/10):

    Didn't quite make an impact after replacing Chukwueze. Set pieces weren't great and his two shots were somewhat tame. Overall, not quite as dangerous as he'd have liked.

    Yunus Musah (7/10):

    Definitely added danger after coming into the game. It was the type of performance that will earn him more minutes going forward as he made a real difference at a time where Milan needed it.

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    Milan will now turn their focus back towards Serie A, as they look to put the weekend's 5-1 drubbing at the hands of rivals Inter behind them.

    They'll host Verona on Saturday before visiting Cagliari and hosting Lazio in their next two matches.

    Their Champions League campaign will resume October 4 when they visit Pulisic and Musah's international teammate Gio Reyna and Borussia Dortmund.