It was important for AC Milan to regain their footing in Serie A on Saturday evening, and the team did just that by beating Torino 2-0 thanks to first-half goals from Leão and Kessie. Following our recent defeat to Juventus, which ended a 27-game unbeaten streak in the league, the Rossoneri got back to winning ways by overcoming the Granata at San Siro. It wasn’t easy responding to the recent loss, particularly given numerous injuries; however, Milan secured the win and kept a clean sheet in the process. The game also saw Zlatan Ibrahimović return to action after a spell on the sidelines since Napoli v AC Milan on 22 November. It was a solid performance from the Rossoneri, who were particularly impressive during the first half. After two goals during the opening 45, it was then patience and caution that summed up the second, as Milan successfully kept the visitors at bay. The only negatives during the match were injuries to Tonali and Brahim Díaz, with the latter putting in a superb display which included winning the foul for Kessie’s penalty. Rafael Leão was also booked which means he will miss Cagliari v AC Milan on Monday 18 January. Overall, this latest result leaves Stefano Pioli’s side on 40 points thanks to 12 victories so far, which extends their lead at the top of the table. Attention now turns to Tuesday, when Milan will face Torino once again, but this time in the Coppa Italia Round of 16.
THE PHOTO GALLERY FROM AC MILAN 2-0 TORINO
Milan dominated the early stages on Saturday and piled pressure on the away side straight away which led to five corners in the first 20 minutes. The first real chance arrived in the 18th minute when Izzo just intercepted a cross from Calabria to prevent Hauge from tapping in. It was then in the 25th minute that Milan’s pressure paid off, with Leão breaking the deadlock with a fine finish. The goal stemmed from a pass from Brahim, who teed up Rafa before the ball was fired past Sirigu. Torino responded with a chance from Rodríguez, although his acrobatic effort missed the target. It was soon after that the Rossoneri scored their second, with Brahim skipping effortlessly into the opposition box before being brought down by Belotti. After an on-field review, Maresca awarded the penalty, as Kessie stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way. Another Torino scare came in the 41st minute, once again through Ricardo Rodríguez who struck the crossbar with a free-kick. A chance to score a third fell to Kessie on the counter-attack just before the break, although Sirigu produced a fine save. Come the 50th minute Torino were awarded a penalty of their own after Tonali brought down Verdi, although a second VAR check of the night reversed the decision. However, the tangle of legs did lead to a Milan substitution after the Rossoneri’s No.8 was forced off injured. The Granata subsequently attempted to find a way back into the match as the clock ticked down, although failed to find a way through. This led to a deserved clean sheet for Milan, who also savoured the return of Ibrahimović late on after a seven-match absence.
WATCH OUT: THE GALLERY OF AC MILAN v TORINO
AC MILAN 2-0 TORINO
AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma G.; Calabria, Kjær, Romagnoli, Hernández; Tonali (54' Dalot), Kessie; Castillejo, Díaz (60' Çalhanoğlu), Hauge (85' Maldini); Leão (85' Ibrahimović). Subs.: Donnarumma A., Tătăruşanu; Conti, Duarte, Kalulu, Musacchio; Frigerio; Colombo. Coach: Pioli.
TORINO (3-5-2): Sirigu; Izzo (64' Zaza), Lyanco, Bremer; Singo, Lukić, Rincón (76' Segre), Gojak (46' Linetty), Rodríguez (64' Murru); Verdi, Belotti (85' Bonazzoli). Subs.: Milinković-Savić, Rosati; Ansaldi, Buongiorno, Nkoulou, Vojvoda; Baselli. Coach: Giampaolo.
Referee: Maresca di Napoli
Goal: 25' Leão (M), 36' pen. Kessie (M),
Booked: 23' Pioli (M), 25' Rincón (T), 38' Díaz (M), 41' Romagnoli (M), 47' Tonali (M), 65' Dalot (M), 79' Leão (M), 85' Calabria (M), 92' Segre (T).
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