Alessio Romanioli and Frank Casey scored before the end of the first half as Serie A leaders Milan walked off without Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Milan highlighted the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic due to injury with a guaranteed 2-0 win over Fiorentina to regain the five-point advantage at the top of the Italian league.
Evergreen striker Ibrahimovi has scored 10 goals in six Premier League matches this season when his brace inspired a 3-1 victory over Napoli, even though he was knocked out with a hamstring complaint in the final stages.
However, Stefano Pioli’s side marched without a spell against struggling Fiorentina, with Frank Casey scoring a penalty kick in the first half and wasting a second after Alessio Romanioli opened the scoring.
The result meant Milan were able to keep Inter at arm’s length in what poses as an interesting title battle, as their city rivals beat third-placed Sassuolo 3-0 on Saturday.
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Fiorentina retreated from an encouraging start in the 17th minute when Milan captain Romanioli left unmarked in the back post to head Casey’s ball from Hakan Calhanoglu’s right corner.
Dusan Vlahoviزم was defeated by the nearby Gianluigi Donnarumma Center while Cesar Prandelli’s men were looking for an equalizer but left a mountain to climb when German Pisela knocked Alexis Sailimakers down in the area.
Casey quietly sent Bartlomie Dragowski the wrong way but the Fiorentina goalkeeper equalized his personal fight in the 40th minute – he jumped to his left to hold a bad penalty after Martin Caceres fell to Theo Hernandez.
Calhanoglu missed a wonderful ball from the hemisphere in the side netting before the end of the first half and came closer in the 53rd minute, hitting the left post base.
Franck Ribery nearly cut the arrears after two minutes, but Donnarumma was equal to the veteran’s efforts – a missed opportunity summed up a Fiorentina show full of moments of self-sabotage.
What it means: The big hitters in the San Siro go for a big kick
You have to return to the 2010-11 season, the last season before Juventus’ continued domination begins, and for the last time Milan’s clubs took first and second places in the Italian Serie A, inspired by Ibrahimovic’s goals, prevailed on that occasion. His supporting team is looking pretty good after a decade.
AC Milan remain the only team alongside Atletico Madrid in Europe’s five major leagues that has not been defeated since the coronavirus lockdown and scored for the 29th consecutive match – equivalent to their previous best result in the Italian League between 1972 and 1973.
Kalhanoglu shows his dismissal
The Turkish playmaker did everything except to score, although his five shots (including one handicap) showed it was not out of unwillingness to try. Calhanoglu has been a creative inspiration for Milan throughout, making five key passes, completing 83.3 percent of his half-passes and four of seven assists.
Pisela is being punished
Fiorentina’s attempts to lead by example backfired when he received the decisive first penalty. Pisela – an Argentine international player – won only four of his nine matches during the competition.
Opta Key Facts
Milan have scored 23 points in the first nine matches played in the 2020-21 Serie A, which is their record at this stage of the season in three points per win.
Fiorentina have scored eight points in their first nine games in the Italian league this season. It is their worst tally at this point in the campaign since entering three points for each win.
The Rossoneri scored two or more goals in 11 successive matches in the Italian Serie A, which is equivalent to their record in the competition that was held between 1958 and 1959.
– Only Leicester City (eight) have hit more penalties than Milan (seven) in the first five European leagues.
Romanioli scored three heads in the Italian league for Milan. Only Ibrahimovi (six) scored the most among the Rossoneri.
Casey is one of three players born in 1996 onwards to have reached 25 goals in Serie A, after Lautaro Martinez and Federico Chiesa.
AC Milan host Celtic in the Europa League on Thursday, while Fiorentina return home to Genoa next Monday – a day after the Rossoneri traveled to Sampdoria.