Mario Balotelli watched on as goals from fellow forwards Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano earned AC Milan their first win of the new Serie A season - 2-1 against Empoli.
Italy international Balotelli rejoined the Rossoneri on a season-long loan from Liverpool this week but was an unused substitute as the home side scraped an unconvincing victory. After a scrappy start, Milan opened the scoring in the 16th minute when a defense-splitting pass from Adriano set Bacca away. What looked to be a heavy touch from the Colombian striker took him past a defender and then wide of the goalkeeper but he kept his composure to slide in and slot the ball into the bottom corner.
Their joy was short-lived as Empoli equalized four minutes later. A neat flick from Massimo Maccarone played in former Milan forward Riccardo Saponara and he drilled a low shot between the legs of Diego Lopez. Ex-Middlesbrough striker Maccarone was marginally offside as he lashed in a shot, Saponara forced a decent save from Lopez and Manuel Pucciarelli did not connect as well as he would have liked with a first-time shot as Empoli took the game to their hosts.
It was more of the same in the early stages of the second half as Daniele Croce fired in a powerful shot which was straight down the throat of Lopez. Milan made a change in the 56th minute but it was not Balotelli as Giacomo Bonaventura entered the action.
The substitute played a part in the Rossoneri's 69th-minute winner as Adriano attacked his inviting corner and powered a header past goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski. Saponara lashed an effort high and wide before Milan replaced the injured Andrea Bertolacci with Andrea Poli, but there was no cameo from Balotelli as the home side held on.