US international and AC Milan winger Christian Pulisic on course for his most productive season

Verona's Thomas Henry, center, leaves the pitch after the Serie A soccer match between U.S. Lecce and Hellas Verona FC at Via del Mare Stadium, Lecce, Italy, Sunday March 10, 2024. Lecce coach Roberto D’Aversa head butted Hellas Verona striker Thomas Henry following a heated matchup between two teams just above the relegation zone in Serie A on Sunday. (Giovanni Evangelista/LaPresse via AP)

Verona’s Thomas Henry, center, leaves the pitch after the Serie A soccer match between U.S. Lecce and Hellas Verona FC at Via del Mare Stadium, Lecce, Italy, Sunday March 10, 2024. Lecce coach Roberto D’Aversa head butted Hellas Verona striker Thomas Henry following a heated matchup between two teams just above the relegation zone in Serie A on Sunday. (Giovanni Evangelista/LaPresse via AP)

ROME (AP) — Christian Pulisic is one goal away from matching the most productive season of his career.

The United States international scored in the first half of AC Milan’s 1-0 win over Empoli on Sunday for his 10th goal in 37 appearances across all competitions in his first campaign with the Rossoneri.

His best season came in his first campaign at Chelsea, when he scored 11 goals in 34 matches across all competitions in 2019-20.

In the 40th minute at the San Siro, Pulisic was set up by Ismael Bennacer and Noah Okafor for a shot from the edge of the area that went in following a big deflection off a defender.

The play was initially ruled offside but then the goal was awarded after a VAR check on Okafor’s position.

Pulisic has been involved in 14 Serie A goals this season, with eight goals and six assists, to successfully revive his career after struggling with injuries and falling out of favor at Chelsea.

With its third straight win between Serie A and the Europa League, Milan provisionally leapfrogged Juventus into second place, moving two points ahead before the Bianconeri played Atalanta later.

Empoli remained one point above the drop zone.

Pulisic received a deluge of death threats and abuse on social media following Milan’s 1-0 victory at Lazio in its previous match.

Lazio finished the match with eight men and Pulisic was involved in two of the three dismissals.

Pulisic posted photos on Instagram of himself and the Milan team celebrating after the game, and was inundated with abusive comments.

HEAD BUTT

Lecce coach Roberto D’Aversa appeared to head butt Hellas Verona striker Thomas Henry following a heated matchup between two teams just above the relegation zone.

Henry was arguing with Lecce defender Marin Pongracic after the final whistle when D’Aversa went over to intervene and instead ended up knocking Henry over with an apparent head butt directly in front of one of the match officials.

“Next Saturday we have another big match (against Salernitana) and I didn’t want my players to be banned,” D’Aversa said. “So I went out to try and separate them from the opponents and then the incident with Henry happened.

“I’ve already apologized to Verona’s management,” D’Aversa said. “As a coach and father of three kids, I want to apologize for what happened.”

Both D’Aversa and Henry were sent off.

Michael Folorunsho scored early in the first half for Verona, which won 1-0 to move up to 13th place, two points above the drop zone. Lecce dropped one point behind in 15th.

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