An 82nd-minute goal from Rafael Leao separated AC Milan from visitors ACF Fiorentina in their latest Serie A victory – one that moves them ever closer to a first league title in a decade.
League leaders AC Milan registered an important win against Fiorentina to keep their title dreams alive; Fiorentina, who, just weeks ago, had ended Napoli’s hopes of a first title since the days of Diego Maradona with a nail-biting 3-2 win.
An open first half presented opportunities for both sides, more so for Milan than Fiorentina. However, La Viola nearly drew first blood early on in the match when Igor dragged his shot wide despite being left unmarked, centrally, from a corner. At the other end, Theo Hernandez hit the side netting, and Olivier Giroud’s lob landed on the wrong side of the post, ensuring that the teams headed into the break level at 0-0.
It took a moment of magic at both ends for Milan to claim the win. Seventy-six minutes in and Cristiano Biraghi’s cross from the left was met by Arthur Cabral, forcing Mike Maignan into a point-blank, wonder-save.
Minutes later, Maignan’s counterpart Pietro Terracciano gave the ball away to Leao, who strutted forwards and beat the goalkeeper with a fierce finish at his near post. Milan held on, sparking wild celebrations inside San Siro.
But those celebrations were short-lived as Inter Milan clawed back the deficit to two points by beating Udinese 2-1. Simone Inzaghi’s side led in the 12th minute through Ivan Perisic’s near-post header off a corner and doubled their lead in the 39th through Lautaro Martinez’s rebound after the Argentine had struck his spot-kick against the post.
Igancio Pussetto would pull one back for Udinese in the 72nd minute, ensuring a nervy finish for the Nerazzurri, but the reigning champions defended their narrow lead – and kept the title race alive.
Meanwhile, Juventus’s win against Venezia – courtesy of a Leonardo Bonucci brace – coupled with AS Roma’s draw against Bologna, confirmed them a top-four position and, thus, a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League group stage draw; Napoli, too, made the cut, thanks to their thumping 6-1 win over Sassuolo on Saturday.
With those slots confirmed, the focus turns to the top of the table, where Milan need two wins and a draw from their remaining three games to become champions for the first time since the 2010/11 season.