AC Milan regain control of Serie A with a 3-1 victory over Verona
Sunday’s 3-1 comeback victory over Hellas Verona, aided by a brace from birthday boy Sandro Tonali, took AC Milan one step closer to their first Serie A title in 11 years.
After Inter Milan’s 4-2 victory against Empoli propelled them to the top of the rankings, the pressure was on Stefano Pioli’s squad, and their victory over ninth-placed Verona gave them a two-point lead with two rounds remaining.
“We were not predicted by anyone (as title contenders). We are bringing home the results of our labour, which is not yet complete “Pioli informed the media.
“Before the game Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) said something beautiful: ‘if we want them to remember us, we have three games (to win)’. Now we have two.”
Milan dominated the early stages and had several chances to score, but Verona took the lead in the 38th minute when Darko Lazovic’s cross was headed home by Davide Faraoni, a teammate on the wingback position.
Milan, though, refused to concede, and on the stroke of halftime, Rafael Leao, enraged after earning a yellow card, dribbled into the penalty area and crossed the ball back for 22-year-old Tonali to score from close range.
On a Milan counterattack four minutes after the halftime break, the lightning-quick Leao sped past the retreating Verona defence before Tonali converted his low cross into an empty net.
Alessandro Florenzi, who came on as a late substitute, secured the victory with a half-volley past the goalie into the bottom corner after finding room to run into the box.
Earlier, relegation-threatened Venezia defeated Bologna 4-3 when Dennis Johnsen struck a spectacular winner into the top corner in the 93rd minute to break a 10-match losing streak and offer the team a glimmer of hope of avoiding relegation.
Venezia are five points behind the seventeenth-placed Salertinana, who drew 1-1 with Cagliari. Atalanta defeated Spezia 3-1 on the road to tie sixth-placed AS Roma on 59 points with a game in hand.