AC Milan secured their biggest three points of the season on Sunday night as they beat rivals Juventus 3-0 at the Allianz Stadium.
In truth it was a victory that Stefano Pioli’s men deserved as they seemed in control from start to finish, taking the lead through Brahim Diaz as the Spaniard netted with an excellent finish into the top corner.
Milan would net twice more inside the final 15 minutes too, with substitute Ante Rebic also thumping an effort into the top right corner and Fikayo Tomori scoring his first for the Rossoneri with a header from a free-kick.
The win not only means that Milan are back in the top four, but by virtue of the aggregate score over the two games (4-3), they also have the head-to-head advantage over the Bianconeri too.
Stefano Pioli chose to make three changes to the starting line-up from the team that beat Benevento, as Fikayo Tomori, Davide Calabria and Brahim Diaz all came into the XI at centre-back, right-back and No.10 respectively.
The first opportunity of the game fell to the home side as a free-kick was whipped towards the far post from Bentancur and De Ligt connected sweetly with a volley after Donnarumma had failed to punch clear convincingly, but Theo did fantastically to block the Dutchman’s effort on the edge of the six-yard box.
The early exchanges were as scrappy and cagey as one might expect from a game of such magnitude, with misplaced passes in the midfield and final third being the theme of proceedings in the first 15 minutes.
Rabiot looked to have got into space to shoot on the left side of the box as Juve looked to catch Milan out at the back, however the sliding Tomori produced a fantastic block to deny the Frenchman.
Three minutes after that it was Brahim Diaz’s turn to fire on the Bianconeri goal as a nice bit of quick passing on the edge of the box allowed the Spaniard to get a yard of room, though he fired over Szczesny’s near post after turning.
In the 21st minute Brahim got some space to shoot again as the Real Madrid loanee was fed the ball after an incisive run from Theo Hernandez, though this time he fired straight at Szczesny with the Poland international saving well.
Juventus had a huge chance to take the lead on the half-hour mark as Donnarumma misjudged the flight of the ball when coming to claim a corner and it fell to Chiellini unmarked at the far post, but the Italian defender was perhaps unsighted as he somehow headed wide with the goal gaping.
In the quarter hour before the break Ibrahimovic began to get more and more involved in the game, and the Swede was visibly disappointed to see Brahim Diaz underhit a through ball that would have put him in on goal as the Rossoneri continued to look for chances to counter fast through the middle.
With nine minutes left in the first half Milan really should have taken the lead. A lovely flick through from Calhanoglu to Theo Hernandez saw the left-back galloping away and he appeared caught between shooting from close range or crossing to Ibrahimovic, and in the end Alex Sandro did superbly to cut out a ball across the six-yard box that was heading for the 39-year-old.
Theo again went on one of his marauding runs down the left flank after a nice dummy from Kessie let the ball run, though De Ligt eventually came over and just about deflected a shot that spun into the hands of Szczesny.
In added time at the end of the first half, Milan took the lead thanks to a fantastic goal from Brahim Diaz. Szczesny came out to try and clear a free-kick but was unable to make good enough contact and the ball fell to the Spaniard who cut inside onto his right foot and curled an effort over everyone and into the far top corner. VAR had a look to see if he had handled when he got past Cuadrado in the box, but the ball clearly struck his stomach.
Pirlo’s side went in search of an equaliser early in the second half and within the opening minute they breached Milan’s back line, yet Donnarumma did well to save Bentancur’s low angled effort with his boot.
Ten minutes into second half, Milan were awarded a penalty kick and it was Brahim Diaz who was once again involved. A loose ball fell to the Real Madrid loanee inside the box and he had his first time shot blatantly blocked by the arm of Chiellini, however Kessie could not convert from the spot as his tame effort was saved by Szczesny.
Milan were forced to make their first change with 25 minutes remaining as Ibrahimovic landed awkwardly after challenging for an aerial ball and had to come off, with Ante Rebic replacing him. The encouraging news is that the Swede walked off on his own and without any help.
The Rossoneri got the all-important second goal at a crucial time as Rebic scored with 12 minutes to go. It was a fantastic goal from the Croatia international too as he received an incisive vertical pass from Bennacer before turning, opening his instep and firing into the top corner past a motionless Szczesny in the Juventus goal.
A double substitution followed with Soualiho Meite and Diogo Dalot coming on for Bennacer and Saelemaekers.
The double change was following by the icing on the cake as Fikayo Tomori got his first goal for Milan. A free-kick in a rather unthreatening looking position just right of centre was whipped over from Calhanoglu right onto the penalty spot, where the English defender was waiting to power a header into the ground and over the outstretched Szczesny to make it 3-0.