AC Milan returned to the Serie A summit after a turgid 2-0 victory over Genoa. The gap at the top stands at two points after Inter’s earlier win over Spezia, setting up a mouthwatering climax in the fight for the Scudetto.
Stefano Pioli decided against wholesale changes despite seeing his side fail to score in their last two league outings, a drought that had seen the title race heat up in the process. Regardless, it was business as usual in the early stages at the San Siro, as struggling Genoa failed to lay a glove on the ‘Rossoneri’, who would eventually make that pressure pay by taking the lead inside 11 minutes. Pierre Kalulu’s whipped cross found the advancing Rafael Leão at the back post, and the Portuguese forward cushioned his volley into the opposite side of the net with a supreme finish, scoring in Serie A for the first time since February.
The remainder of the first half followed an all-too familiar pattern for Milan, who created precious little in an underwhelming display. No Serie A side had scored a greater percentage of their goals after the break than Genoa, so the ‘Rossoneri’ needed to be at their best to stave off a fightback. While Alexander Blessin’s men were improving, Milan remained the more dangerous side, and a better cross for Olivier Giroud might have seen the Frenchman double his side’s lead around the hour mark. Junior Messias, who scored a brace in the reverse fixture, added some gloss to the scoreline in the closing stages, as he rose from the canvas after seeing his initial effort saved to slam home into the roof of the net.
Although Genoa were desperate for the points in their relegation fight, a return of just two away goals against sides currently inside the top 10 wasn’t exactly a cause for optimism. A failure to register a single shot on target was a damning indictment of their quality, and a perfect demonstration of why they’ve won just two league games all season – fewer than any other side. In spite of that, they remain just three points from safety, trailing Cagliari, who they meet in a relegation six-pointer in their next fixture.