Berliner Tageblatt - Giroud bids farewell to Milan, Juve end season with Monza win

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Giroud bids farewell to Milan, Juve end season with Monza win
Giroud bids farewell to Milan, Juve end season with Monza win / Photo: © AFP

Giroud bids farewell to Milan, Juve end season with Monza win

Olivier Giroud said goodbye to AC Milan fans with a goal in Saturday's entertaining season finale with Salernitana, drawn 3-3, in the France forward's last match with the seven-time European champions.

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Veteran striker Giroud put Milan two ahead in the 27th minute at the San Siro, shortly after Rafael Leao opened the scoring, welling up after he netted for the 17th time this season.

Milan, who finish the season in second place, looked set for all three points when Davide Calabria headed home Milan's third in the 77th minute.

But relegated Salernitana were not in the mood to roll over and two quick-fire strikes from Simy -- who had already netted just after the hour mark -- and Junior Sambia snatched a surprise draw.

Giroud will finish his club career at Los Angeles FC after playing his final matches for France at Euro 2024, and he signed off on three eventful years with his 49th goal for the club.

The 37-year-old leaves a big fan favourite and will be remembered in particular for scoring key goals in Milan's 2022 Serie A triumph, the only trophy he won in his three years in Italy.

When he was substituted with five minutes remaining, fans belted out a chant created in honour of his winning double in a derby victory which was crucial to Milan pipping their local rivals to that Scudetto.

Stefano Pioli, the architect of that triumph, was given a warm round of pre-match applause by fans and his players as he oversaw his last match as Milan coach.

Milan announced on Friday that Pioli would be leaving at the end of the season after an eventful four-and-a-half years in charge which have brought the club back to the upper echelons of Italian and European football.

In addition to the 2022 league title he also guided Milan to last season's Champions League semi-finals -- the first time they had gone that far since the 2006-2007 campaign -- where they lost to Inter.

However, Pioli's fate was sealed by the failure to mount a serious challenge this term to Inter, who romped to the title, six straight Milan derby defeats and an early exit from the Champions League which was compounded by being knocked out of the Europa League by Serie A rivals Roma.

Pioli, who was under contract until the end of next season, is reportedly set to be replaced by Lille coach Paulo Fonseca.

- Back to winning ways -

Juventus are heading towards the Thiago Motta era after finishing their season with a straightforward 2-0 win over Monza.

Goals from Federico Chiesa and Alex Sandro in two first-half minutes were enough for Juve to win just their third league match since the end of January.

Juve, guided by caretaker manager Paolo Montero since Massimiliano Allegri was sacked last week, ended their season by snapping a run of six straight Serie A draws.

Motta is hotly-tipped to become the next Juve boss after the former Italy midfielder decided to not renew his contract at Bologna, who lost at Genoa on Friday.

That defeat and Saturday's win allowed Juve to move third, although their final position will depend on how Europa League winners Atalanta do against Torino on Sunday and in their game in hand with Fiorentina next weekend.

Atalanta, five points behind Juve in fifth, have to win their final two games to leapfrog Juve and match their highest ever placing in Italy's top flight.

M.Odermatt--BTB