AC Milan tightened their grip on fourth spot with a comfortable 3-0 win over struggling Empoli at San Siro on Friday night.

After a goalless first half in which Lucas Paqueta saw a goal disallowed for offside, Krzysztof Piatek and Franck Kessie broke the goal open with a quickfire double.

The influential Samu Castillejo then sealed the game as he got on the scoresheet, while substitute Fabio Borini also saw a fourth goal controversially ruled out for offside.

That wouldn’t matter though, as the Rossoneri sealed a valuable three points and moved four points clear of fifth-placed Roma, albeit with a game extra played.

Milan thought they had taken the lead inside ten minutes at San Siro when Ricardo Rodriguez whipped in a perfect cross for Paqueta to head home, however VAR quickly and correctly overturned the goal, with the Brazilian two yards offside.

In the 22nd minute Samu Castillejo – in for the suspended Suso –  drew a wonderful full stretch save from Bartlomiej Drągowski having cut in from the right and unleashed a curling shot.

Castillejo forced Drągowski into yet another save not long later; this one more straightforward, but from a similar range.

The Rossoneri were limited to mostly efforts from distance in a stale opening 45 minutes as the visitors sat deep and attempted to frustrate, but Franck Kessie did manage to hit the side netting in the final minute from a narrow angle after a neat feed.

Empoli gave Milan a warning of their threat early in the second half, with Rade Krunic firing wide after a clever interchange inside the box.

However just a minute later it was Gattuso’s side who took the lead. Having done well to keep the ball in the final third, Hakan Calhanoglu found space inside the box to pull the ball across to Piatek, who had the simple job of slotting past Drągowski.

In doing so, Piatek became the first player to score in his first four consecutive Serie A starts for Milan since Oliver Bierhoff in 1998.

Less than two minutes later Milan doubled their advantage, as Castillejo picked up the ball on the break and slotted a perfect through ball for Kessie, who dinked the ball over the Empoli goalkeeper to put the hosts in a commanding position.

In the 67th minute it was 3-0 and game over, with two of the usual non-starters combining. Andrea Conti found space to whip in a low cross on the right side, and Castillejo made a smart run to the near post and glanced home with a delicate finish.

Milan thought they had registered a fourth goal with just under ten minutes left, as substitute Borini weaved past four Empoli defenders before slotting past, but VAR chose to rule the goal out as Patrick Cutrone was adjudged to have interfered from an offside position.

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