What was hyped as the first “American derby” in Serie A was won by the Italian league’s newest U.S.-owned team with a last-gasp goal. Patrick Cutrone came off the bench to score five minutes into stoppage time for AC Milan to beat Roma 2-1 on Friday. It was the first meeting between the clubs since U.S.-based hedge fund Elliott Management took over control of Milan last month after the club’s former Chinese owner, Li Yonghong, missed a deadline to repay part of a loan.
Roma has been in American hands since 2011, when a group of four Boston executives bought the club. Gordon Singer, the son of Elliott founder Paul Singer and director of the company’s London office, attended his first Serie A match at the San Siro since the ownership change. Roma president James Pallotta was a no show.
Milan went ahead in the 40th when Ricardo Rodriguez got by fullback Federico Fazio to send in a cross that Franck Kessie redirected by the far post. Near the hour mark, a poor Milan clearance following a corner ended up right at Fazio, who fired in for an equalizer.
Two minutes later, Gonzalo Higuain thought he scored his first goal for Milan since transferring from Juventus but his score on a counterattack was waved off by the VAR for offside. Likewise, newly signed Roma midfielder Steven Nzonzi had a goal disallowed for a handball in the 79th.
Nzonzi was then to blame for the decisive goal for giving up possession, allowing Higuain to set up Cutrone’s winner from the center of the area. The 20-year-old Cutrone scored 18 goals in all competitions for Milan last season but has become second choice to Higuain. He came on in the 83rd as an extra striker, replacing midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura.
“Higuain is a great striker _ as the coach said, one of the best in the world. It’s an honor to play with him and to learn from him,” Cutrone said. “I never like being on the bench, obviously. I know there’s a champion in front of me, but I’ll do everything I can to make life difficult for the coach and to help the team any way I can.”
Milan earned its first points following a 3-2 loss at Napoli last weekend, while Roma remained with four points from its opening three matches. On Saturday, Cristiano Ronaldo looks for his first Serie A goal when Juventus visits Parma.