Rade Krunic and Diogo Dalot scored their first Serie A goals for Milan in an impressive 2-0 victory at Hellas Verona.
Krunic opened the scoring with a brilliant first-half free-kick and Dalot doubled Milan’s lead with a classy strike early in the second period at Marcantonio Bentegodi on Sunday.
Stefano Pioli’s side should have won by a more emphatic margin, but victory moved them three points behind leaders Inter, who play Atalanta on Monday.
The Rossoneri are now unbeaten in four matches ahead of a Europa League encounter with Manchester United on Thursday.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) March 7, 2021
Milan made a positive start and they should have been in front when Rafael Leao headed Davide Calabria’s whipped delivery over the crossbar.
Pioli’s men continued to pose an attacking threat and Krunic made the breakthrough 27 minutes in, finding the far corner of the net with a sublime free-kick after he was upended by Giangiacomo Magnani at full tilt.
Striker Leao twice fired over to ensure Verona trailed by just the one goal at the end of a one-sided first half.
But Dalot put Milan two up just four minutes into the second half with a sublime finish, finding the top-right corner of the net with his right foot after throwing a clever dummy just outside the penalty area.
Alexis Saelemaekers came close to a third goal when he drilled a venomous strike over the bar as Verona struggled to contain Milan.
Federico Ceccherini headed wide at the other end with around 14 minutes to go and Krunic cleared Marco Faraoni’s header off the line as Milan secured three precious points.
What does it mean? Milan put pressure on Inter
Milan grasped their chance to reduce Inter’s advantage at the summit with both hands in a confident display.
Verona posed more of a threat late on, but Milan were comfortably the better side after they could only draw with Udinese on Wednesday.
Classy finishes from Krunic and Dalot had the points wrapped up early in the second half in a big boost to their title hopes, with a home game against Napoli to come next weekend.
Calabria catches the eye
Milan were impressive all over the park and Calabria made an impact at both ends.
The right-back got forward at every opportunity, making three key passes and he may have even got an assist were it not for a poor Leao finish early on. Defensively Calabria was also solid, his two blocks a joint-high for Milan, while he made two tackles – that was bettered by only three of his team-mates.
Leao’s finishing lets him down
Striker Leao led the line well for Milan, but he really ought to have found the back of the net.
The Portuguese frontman failed to hit the target with both of his shots, but those missed opportunities did not prove to be costly.
Key Opta facts
– Milan are the fourth side to have picked up 100+ points in the top five European leagues since January 1, 2020, after Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
– With Rade Krunic and Diogo Dalot, Milan now have 15 different scorers in Serie A this season. Only Atalanta (16) have more.
– Thanks to Dalot, Milan have now had six different scorers born since January 1, 1999 this term, at least three more than any other side in Serie A.
– Krunic is the first Bosnian player to score a Serie A goal for Milan: there are now 40 different nationalities to have netted for the Rossoneri in the competition.
Milan travel to Old Trafford on Thursday for the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie with United, while Verona are at Sassuolo two days later.