AC Milan kept their slim Scudetto hopes alive and boosted their chances of qualifying for the Champions League by grinding out a 2-1 home win against Genoa.
Rafael Leao started up front for AC Milan with Zlatan Ibrahimovic ruled out through suspension, but the Rossoneri coped without the Swede as they claimed their first home win since February.
AC Milan started the stronger of the two teams and took the lead after just 14 minutes when Ante Rebic lashed home a powerful finish from just inside the box after a Theo Hernandez freekick had been blocked.
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However, Genoa got themselves level after 37 minutes when Mattia Destro lost his marker inside the penalty box to head home a corner kick, once again exposing AC Milan’s defensive frailties at home.
Mario Mandzukic, Brahim Diaz and Diogo Dalot were all introduced after an hour as AC Milan searched for a goal to give them the lead again, but the decisive moment came through an own goal from Gianluca Scamacca who turned his back on a corner kick.
The result sees AC Milan close the gap on Inter at the top of Serie A to eight points with Antonio Conte’s side up against Napoli later on Sunday. More importantly, it gives the Rossoneri a seven-point lead on Napoli in fifth place.
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Ibrahimovic’s suspension following his red card against Parma last weekend meant Leao was selected to lead the line for AC Milan in a crucial match. The Portuguese forward’s potential is clear, but this performance did little to suggest he will be the Rossoneri’s long-term successor to Ibrahimovic. Leao’s decision-making was poor in the final third and was ultimately hooked for Mandzukic in the second half.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Ante Rebic (AC Milan)
The Croatian opened the scoring for AC Milan with a stunning strike from just inside the box and provided the greatest threat for the home side in the final third throughout. Rebic still managed to spurn one opportunity he should have converted, blasting over the crossbar from eight yards out, but he was still the biggest difference between the two sides over the 90 minutes.
AC Milan - Donnarumma 6, Kalulu 8, Kjaer 7, Tomori 7, Theo 6, Bennacer 6, Kessie 6, Saelemaekers 6, Calhanoglu 5, Rebic 8, Leao 4. Subs - Brahim 5, Mandzukic 6, Dalot 5, Tonali 5, Krunic 3.
Genoa - Perin 7, Goldaniga 6, Radovanovic 5, Masiello 5, Ghiglione 5, Strootman 6, Badelj 5, Zajc 5, Cassata 5, Destro 7, Scamacca 6. Subs - Biraschi 5, Pjaca 5, Pandev 6, Shomurodov 5, Behrami 4.
13’ GOAL! AC Milan 1-0 Genoa: My word! What an incredible strike to open the scoring! Theo's freekick hits the top of the wall, the ball is then retrieved by Rebic 16 yards out and the Croatian arrows a shot into the back of the net! He struck that with so much power! Perin stood no chance!
37’ GOAL! AC Milan 1-1 Genoa: An equaliser for the away side! Destro is on the move inside the penalty area, times his run well and heads a corner kick delivery into the back of the net! Such a disappointing goal for AC Milan to concede. Back on level terms at the San Siro!
68’ GOAL! AC Milan 2-1 Genoa: AC Milan have the lead again and the ball has been bundled in from a corner kick! Was it Mandzukic who got the final touch? It might have actually been an own goal from Scamacca who turned his back on the ball. He took his eye off it at the wrong time!
85’ Off the line.. TWICE! So close to another equaliser for Genoa! Donnarumma dropped a cross, but Kjaer and Tomori get back on the line to make not one, but TWO clearances! Wow! That was a big moment!
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AC Milan have conceded 22 goals in 16 home games this season - they have only conceded more at this stage of a Serie A season once before in 1941-42 (27).
Mattia Destro scored his second headed goal of the season with his first also coming against AC Milan back in December.
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