AC Milan held off a spirited challenge from Roma to secure a 3-1 win in Serie A on Thursday night.
Milan were looking to catch up with Inter Milan who head the table, while a win would have taken Roma into fifth place as they chase a Champions League spot.
Rossoneri boss Stefano Pioli named an under-strength side with plenty of injuries to contend with, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic started on the bench.
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Roma, awaiting the arrival of Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal, started with their English duo Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham.
Milan went ahead through another ex-Premier League player as Abraham handled a Theo Hernandez shot, allowing Olivier Giroud to convert a penalty after eight minutes. A defensive error then saw Giroud strike the post before Junior Messias grabbed the rebound nine minutes later.
Roma were given hope when Abraham cleverly diverted Lorenzo Pellegrini shot past Mike Maignan to set up the second half.
The away side started to struggle to keep up with their opponents and Rick Karlsdrop hauled down Hernandez on the edge of the box to earn a deserved yellow, giving Milan a numerical advantage for the last 20 minutes of the game.
Ibrahimovic missed an injury-time penalty when Mancini brought down Leao in the box, bringing a second yellow for the defender, bringing Roma's four-game unbeaten streak to an end.
Talking point - Roma’s indiscipline cost them dearly
Roma have collapsed in easier circumstances and in truth their performance for much of the match was pretty respectable. They were quick in attack and committed to putting the effort in - something which Jose Mourinho has struggled to get from other sides more recently.
However a defensive error gave Milan their second and put the game out of reach despite Abraham’s clever contribution, and Karlsdrop ended the side’s hope of finding an equaliser when he got a second yellow. The first came from a stupid confrontation in the first half.
Mourinho’s team are far from the most talented in the league, but they at least appear willing. They will need to apply themselves on the pitch more sensibly if they are to finish in the top four.
Man of the match - Sandro Tonali
A great overall performance from AC Milan saw them assert their physical and tactical dominance over their rivals, and Tonali was at the heart of that. With him in midfield he moved the ball quickly and cleverly, and bought fouls across the pitch to take the pressure off his team whenever they needed some help.
AC Milan: Maignan 7, Florenzi 7, Kalulu 7, Gabbia 6, Hernandez 7, Tonali 8, Krunic 6, Messias 7, Diaz 7, Saelemaekers 6, Giroud 7. Subs: Leao 8, Bakayoko 6, Ibrahimovic 6, Conti 6, Maldini 6.
Roma: Patricio 6, Mancini 5, Smalling 5, Ibanez 6, Karsdorp 5, Pellegrini 6, Veretout 6, Mkhitaryan 6, Vina 5, Zaniolo 7, Abraham 7. Subs: El Shaarawy 6, Afena-Gyan 6, Cristante 6, Shomurodov 6.
8’ - GOAL! Milan 1-0 Roma. Giroud scores - Patricio dives to his left, Giroud goes the other way, and Roma desperately need Ainsley Maitland-Niles to rescue their season.
17’ - GOAL! Milan 2-0 Roma. Messias scores - Pellegrini is under pressure and aims a backpass to Patricio. It's woeful and witless, and Giroud runs onto it, strikes the ball onto the post and the rebound comes to Messias to slot home.
40’ - GOAL! Milan 2-1 Roma. Abraham scores - A corner is cleared as far as Pellegrini, who fires in a low shot from the edge of the box. Abraham, just onside, flicks the ball on its way and wrong-foots Maignan to pull one back.
74’- RED CARD! Karsdrop catches Hernandez on the edge of the box and he gets a second yellow. He doesn't argue, he just couldn't handle it.
82’ - GOAL! Milan 3-1 Roma. Leao scores - Smalling and Ibrahimovic challenge for a long ball, Leao nods the ball down the middle and opens up space ahead of him. He advances on goal and whips a shot high into the net.
90+4’ - MANCINI RED CARD AND A PENALTY! Leao bursts into the box and Mancini tangles his legs up and brings him down, before Ibrahimovic has his spot kick saved by Patricio.
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