AC Milan record a much-needed three points at San Siro on Saturday night as they comfortably beat Frosinone 3-1 to return to winning ways.
There was a lot of pressure on the side to perform after a difficult recent run of form, and that was eased when Luka Jovic volleyed in his first goal for the club towards the end of the first half to wake the crowd up a bit.
Christian Pulisic’s goal early in the second half created a bit of breathing room, and then Fikayo Tomori converted from close range after a brilliant corner routine to essentially put the game to bed.
Marco Brescianini did score against his former club to trim the deficit, but the Rossoneri wrapped up the win to respond to Juventus who beat Monza last night, while waiting for Napoli-Inter tomorrow.
Head coach Stefano Pioli’s boldest selection call was to field Theo Hernandez at centre-back alongside Fikayo Tomori given the lack of available options in that role, with Alessandro Florenzi at left-back. Yunus Musah came back into the midfield, with Luka Jovic starting over the suspended Olivier Giroud.
The opening exchanges of the game were cagey and lacking in much quality as both teams had forays forward that did not result in much. The first time Turati was called into action was when Musah burst down the left side of the box and hit a cross that deflected and was sneaking in the near post but for his quick recovery gather.
Milan’s main tactic seemed to be to get the ball into wide areas and try cause issues with crosses, which they did in the 19th minute when Chukwueze’s ball was nodded to Florenzi by Jovic, who sliced his effort well wide from the edge of the box.
The Rossoneri built a good period of pressure midway through the first half and came close to opening the scoring when a corner was cleared to Chukwueze on the edge of the box whose first-time effort was heading in before a deflection took it narrowly wide. From the resulting corner Loftus-Cheek and Reijnders seemed to get in each others’ way attacking a good delivery.
Frosinone had a couple of chances of their own with shots from just outside the box; the first from Ibrahimovic and the second from Oyono who ran into space from his full-back position. Both ended narrowly wide.
It looked as though Musah had come inches away from making it 1-0 when he raced through on goal and hit a low shot off the inside of the far post that rebounded away, yet the offside flag went up after as he didn’t quite time his run.
Maignan bailed Tomori out of what would have been a very costly giveaway a few minutes before the break. The Englishman was caught in possession by Cuni who ran through on goal, but Maignan came rushing out and blocked his attempted chip.
Frosinone would be made to rue that missed chance when Milan took the lead in the 43rd minute. An off-balance looping cross from Chukwueze was not cleared convincingly by Romagnoli and the loose ball fell to Jovic, who thumped home a volley to net his first goal for the club.
Early in the second half, Milan managed to double their advantage with what was a very direct bit of play. A long ball from Maignan was brought down by a fantastic first touch from Pulisic, who managed to evade several markers with a run across the box and fire in from a tight angle from about eight yards out.
Frosinone looked to respond instantly and when a through ball found Ibrahimovic who managed to evade the pressure from Maignan the danger lights were flashing, but Florenzi blocked the ball across the six-yard box and handball appeals were waved away.
With the away side having a good spell of pressure Pioli opted to make a change, bringing Chukwueze off and substituting Yacine Adli on which seemed to denote a change in shape.
It was 3-0 with 18 minutes left on the clock, as those bemoaning Milan’s set pieces were given a bit of reprieve. A well-worked routine saw a corner taken short and Theo lob a ball to the back post where it was headed back across goal allowing Tomori to fire in from close range.
Pioli made three changes as the minutes ticked down with Pulisic and Loftus-Cheek coming off for Chaka Traore and Tommaso Pobega, but the biggest cheer was when Ismael Bennacer came on for Reijnders marking his return after six months out.
In the 82nd minute Frosinone did trim the deficit to 3-1 as a free-kick from former Milan midfielder Marco Brescianini evaded everyone and drifted inside the far post with Maignan rooted.
Francesco Camarda would get his second Serie A appearance in the closing minutes, coming off the bench to replace Jovic, as Milan saw out the remained of the game and sealed a much-needed victory.