Football

Milan swiftly retakes position atop Serie A with 2-0 win over Genoa

Inter had risen to the top of the table with a 3-1 win over Spezia earlier in the day, as reported, but Milan reacted in San Siro to reclaim their two-point lead.

Inter had risen to the top of the table with a 3-1 win over Spezia earlier in the day, as reported, but Milan reacted in San Siro to reclaim their two-point lead.

Stefano Pioli’s team took the lead early on thanks to Rafael Leao’s volley, and Junior Messias’ late goal gave them their first win in three games.

Pierre Kalulu was changed to right-back in place of Davide Calabria due to a late change in Milan’s line-up, and the defender delivered a wonderful moment for Leao’s 11th-minute opening.

Leao had not scored since February, but he kept his calm to volley Kalulu’s inch-perfect cross into the right-hand corner.

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Alexis Saelemaekers struggled to get involved on the opposite wing to Leao, and his rustiness showed when he lashed over from Franck Kessie’s cutback nine minutes before half-time.

Saelemaekers got a free run at goal early in the second half after capitalising on a defensive blunder, but he sliced wide. Just before the hour, the winger turned provider, but Olivier Giroud could not keep his acrobatic attempt down.

Despite a VAR check for handball, Milan’s stuttering offensive finally found another opening in the 87th minute, with Messias scoring at the second attempt after a fantastic save from Salvatore Sirigu.

Genoa has won the fewest games – two in 33 Serie A matches – and drawn the most (16) in the top five European leagues during the 2021-22 season, and they look destined for Serie B unless they can beat Cagliari in a six-pointer next weekend.

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Milan, meanwhile, will play city rivals Inter in the Coppa Italia semi-final second leg on Tuesday.

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