Three fundamental points, to start climbing the table again and chase down the Champions League places. By beating Benevento 2-0, AC Milan returned to winning ways and did so with a performance of quality and quantity, which will also be important for morale. Goals from Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Theo Hernández, one in each half, decided the match at San Siro: two well-constructed goals that cap off a positive performance tonight by Stefano Pioli's team.
Playing against an opponent who were desperate for points to avoid relegation, the Rossoneri had to be attentive and precise for 90 minutes, improving in the second half after a first half full of scoring opportunities. As well as the two goalscorers, there were great performances from the likes of Leão, Dalot and Saelemaekers. An important win in a difficult period, allowing the Rossoneri to build momentum and move with great enthusiasm towards the next fundamental match, away to Juventus, a fixture scheduled for Sunday 9 May at 20:45 CEST.
PHOTOS: THE GALLERY FROM AC MILAN v BENEVENTO
The Rossoneri were immediately on the front foot and looked to get forward at the first opportunity. Çalhanoğlu opened the scoring in the 6th minute after a neat exchange with Saelemaekers, in a triangle that also included a dummy from Kessie, before Hakan slotted it in with his right to give the Rossoneri the advantage. The goal lit up the game, with back-and-forth action filling the first quarter of an hour of play. Benevento came close to equalising with Lapadula on 11 minutes; AC Milan almost doubled the lead in the 13th minute with Dalot and Ibrahimović; The guests responded, forcing a flying save from Donnarumma on Ioniță's rocket shot from the edge of the area in the 14th minute, before Leão was denied by Montipò in the 16th minute. The pace then dropped, partly due to the heavy rainfall on the pitch, with AC Milan playing to keep possession. A chance fell for Hernández in the 37th minute, who was decisive three minutes later in defence, blocking down De Paoli. Before the interval, an opportunity fell to the feet of Ibra, who was stopped by Montipò.
The second half also began at a high tempo: after three chances for the visitors at the start from Lapadula, Dabo, and Iago Falque, AC Milan responded with Tomori, Çalhanoğlu and Ibrahimović, always finding an attentive Montipò. A great opportunity came to Saelemaekers in the 59th minute, who couldn’t get the ball from under his feet to strike at goal. A goal was on the way, and in fact, it came a minute later. Hernández showed great inspiration, serving Ibra in the area, kept onside by the last Giallorossi defender: Montipò parried away the Swede’s shot, but only as far as Theo who was quick to tap it into the net for the second. Benevento tried to react, particularly with substitutes Insigne and Gaich, but the Rossoneri defence were always able to mitigate the guests’ advances. The Rossoneri came close to a third goal near the end with Díaz, but it ended 2-0.
AC MILAN 2-0 BENEVENTO
AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma; Dalot, Tomori, Romagnoli, Hernández (75' Calabria); Bennacer (46' Tonali), Kessie; Saelemaekers (75' Castillejo), Çalhanoğlu (86' Díaz), Leão (75' Rebić); Ibrahimović. Subs: Tătăruşanu; Gabbia, Kalulu, Kjær; Hauge, Krunić, Meïte. Coach: Pioli.
BENEVENTO (4-3-2-1): Montipò; De Paoli, Glik, Caldirola, Barba; Dabo (86' Tello), Viola, Ioniță; Iago Falque (55' Insigne), Improta (76' Caprari); Lapadula (76' Gaich). Subs.: Lucatelli, Manfredini; Pastina; Diambo, Hetemaj, Sanogo, Schiattarella; Di Serio. Coach: F. Inzaghi.
Referee: Calvarese from Teramo.
Goal: 6' Çalhanoğlu (M), 60' Hernández (M).
Booked: 38' Bennacer (M), 94' Castillejo (M).
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