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Ismael Bennacer delivered the decisive attack in the second half as Milan recreated their three-point lead at the Serie A summit with a 1-0 victory in Cagliari on Saturday.
Napoli came past Udinese to move on points with Stefano Pioli’s team earlier in the day, although other title challenger Inter were held to a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina.
Milan responded to these results with an important victory despite an unconvincing performance at the Unipol Domus, where Bennacer’s sumptuous volley from outside the area just before the hour mark proves the difference.
A third 1-0 victory in a row keeps Rossoneri ahead of Napoli and extends the distance to Inter to six points, even though the defending champions have a match in hand.
Olivier Giroud abused a presentable chance on volley in the initial stages after a headed pass from Junior Messiah, while Franck Kessie hit the post with a low drive.
Milan continued to control the first half, but Alberto Grassi provided a fright as he drilled narrowly wide.
Although the sides headed aimlessly into the interval, Pioli’s visitors continued after the restart, with Theo Hernandez’s ambitious long-distance effort forcing an acrobatic Alessio Cragno stop.
Milan’s reward for their efforts came shortly after, when Giroud put Bennacer in volley into the bottom left corner, as Rossoneri scored in a 15th away league game in a row – equivalent to the club record they achieved in the 1967-68 season.
Joao Pedro wasted the game, but Cragno managed to keep the ball from crossing the goal-line. a great victory for Milan in the shield hunt.
What does it mean? Milan keeps winning
Cagliari may not have been expected to give Milan much trouble as Rossoneri had only lost one of the sides’ recent 36 Serie A meetings.
But Pioli’s men were forced to produce a stubborn performance to amass three league wins in a row with clean sheets for the first time since May 2021, while continuing to deliver results en route to the inlet.
Hernandez was a constant threat down the left flank as his undulating run created a number of opportunities that his Milan colleagues could not turn around.
In fact, the left-back at a game-high put up five chances and made three tackles in an effective display at both ends of the pitch.
Poor Joao Pedro
Joao Pedro has been involved in half of Cagliari’s league goals this season, scoring 10 and assisting four.
But the striker failed to deliver against Milan, which he has not found the net against in his last six appearances, as he wasted his team’s best chance of the match as he volleyed over into the second half.
Milan will host Bologna after the international break, while Cagliari will visit Udinese.