AC Milan players celebrate. (AP)
AC Milan players celebrate. (AP)

Milan back to winning ways with nervy victory at Bologna

  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed the chance to put the leaders ahead when his spot kick was saved in the 26th minute but Ante Rebic latched onto the rebound to fire home.
Reuters |
PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2021 11:54 PM IST

AC Milan got back to winning ways in Serie A with a 2-1 victory at Bologna on Saturday, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in fine form to help his side open up a five-point lead at the top of the standings. Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed the chance to put the leaders ahead when his spot kick was saved in the 26th minute but Ante Rebic latched onto the rebound to fire home.

Bologna had three glorious chances to level before the end of the first half, but were denied by some brilliant saves from Donnarumma. Those stops proved crucial as Milan were awarded another penalty in the 55th minute. Franck Kessie converted from the spot to double his side's lead. Substitute Andrea Poli got one back for the hosts in the 81st minute, but they could not find an equaliser despite plenty of late pressure.

Milan, who had lost their last two games in all competitions, moved onto 46 points, five clear of second-placed Inter Milan. Bologna stay 13th on 20 points. "Today was a strong response from the team," Milan coach Stefano Pioli told a news conference. "In the last two days we increased our pace and quality and today it showed. To win in this championship sometimes you have to struggle. It's nice to win like this."

Milan, who were unbeaten this season in Serie A until their loss to Juventus on Jan. 6, suffered their second league defeat of the campaign last weekend to Atalanta at home, before then losing to Inter in Tuesday’s Coppa Italia quarter final. They started well in the Renato Dall'Ara Stadium in Saturday’s first Serie A fixture, however, with Rebic bailing out Ibrahimovic after his poorly-placed penalty was saved.

The goal meant Milan have found the net in 20 away league games in a row for the first time in their Serie A history, overtaking a 19-game goalscoring run between 1992 and 1993. Even with Fikayo Tomori, on loan from Chelsea, making his first start the gaps started to appear at the back for Milan, but Bologna could not find a way past Donnarumma.

A needless handball from Adama Soumaoro gifted Milan their second spot kick, but again it was Bologna doing most of the attacking in the second half. There was nothing Donnarumma could have done about Poli’s arrowed strike, but the Milan stopper preserved a vital win for his side with another fine save late on.

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