Milan edge Genoa to keep Serie A title hopes alive

Mario Mandzukic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Franck Kessie and Fikayo Tomori of AC Milan celebrate Source: Getty Images

Milan kept some pressure on Serie A leaders Inter as they cut the gap at the top of the table to eight points with an unconvincing 2-1 win over Genoa.

Ante Rebic's superb 13th-minute opener appeared to put Milan on course for a routine win, but they made heavy weather of things thereafter.

Former Milan loanee Mattia Destro levelled before half-time and the Rossoneri required an own goal from Gianluca Scamacca to claim maximum points.

Inter can stretch their lead at the top back to 11 points by beating Napoli later on Sunday, but Milan's slim hopes are still alive, while this result is another step towards making sure of Champions League qualification.

Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin had not been tested in the opening 12 minutes but he was left with no chance when Rebic unleashed a stunning volley on the turn to find the bottom-right corner in style after the visitors failed to clear having initially blocked Theo Hernandez's effort from a free-kick.

But Milan were unable to build on their lead and saw it eradicated by an excellent header from Destro eight minutes before half-time as he lost his marker to meet Miha Zajc's corner.

Rebic spurned a golden chance to restore Milan's advantage but could only blaze over from point-blank range after excellent work from Pierre Kalulu.

Marko Pjaca threatened to complete the turnaround for Genoa as he came off the bench and shot narrowly wide and Simon Kjaer should have done better with a header at the other end.

However, Milan were given a helping hand by Scamacca, who inadvertently diverted Hakan Calhanoglu's corner into his own net in the 68th minute.

They required late defensive heroics from Kjaer and Fiyako Tomori to stay in front as they each produced goal-line clearances to deny Andrea Masiello and Valon Behrami and keep Milan hanging on Inter's coattails.

What does it mean? Milan still in the mix

It is unlikely Milan will catch their arch rivals at the top, and they will need to improve significantly on this performance to do so.

But, without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they ensured Inter will be looking over their shoulders for at least a few more games while further solidifying their grip on a top-four place.

Genoa are not quite safe from the drop, sitting seven points clear of the bottom three.

Calhanoglu a creative force

It was Calhanoglu's corner that led to the telling goal and he was excellent throughout playing in behind lone striker Rafael Leao. Calhanoglu played six key passes in an impressive creative display.

Profligate Pjaca

While Scamacca is worthy of criticism having had just one shot and put the ball into his own net, substitute Pjaca was wasteful in front of goal, hitting the target with none of his four shots.

What's next?

Milan host Sassuolo on Wednesday, when Genoa take on Benevento at home.

Source Omnisport