A sublime first-half goal from Mati Fernandez helped AC Milan to a 1-0 win over Genoa as they returned to winning ways after last week’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Juventus.
Vincenzo Montella’s men created numerous chances in the opening 45 minutes and Fernandez eventually handed them the lead with a clever finish over goalkeeper Eugenio Lamanna.
Milan got a number of opportunities to add a second after the break, but poor finishing from Lucas Ocampos and Fernandez meant there would be no more goals at San Siro.
Genoa had won the reverse fixture 3-0, but had little reason for optimism heading into Saturday’s encounter following their poor form in recent months, winning just one out of their last 12 Serie A games.
It was thus little surprise that Andrea Mandorlini’s men struggled right from the start and they did not have an answer to Fernandez’s first-half strike..
391 – Mati Fernandez’ previous Serie A goal dated back to February 2016 (v Atalanta): 391 days ago. Relief. #MilanGenoa
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) March 18, 2017
This weekend’s result sees Milan climb to sixth place in the table, two points behind arch-rivals Inter, while Genoa remain 16th, a safe 14-points clear of the relegation zone.
The first major chance fell to Genoa when Darko Lazovic presented Adel Taarabt with a gilt-edged opportunity to open the scoring after 11 minutes, but the Moroccan winger only managed a tame shot straight at goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Milan then started pushing for the opener and Lucas Ocampos was unfortunate to see his shot cleared off the line by Armando Izzo after some good work from Mattia De Sciglio.
The hosts continued to cause Genoa all kinds of trouble in the opening stages and Gerard Deulofeu was next to come close when he aimed narrowly wide following a good run down the right, before Fernandez saw his free kick from a dangerous position sail just off target.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) March 18, 2017
There was no denying Fernandez in the 33rd minute, though, the midfielder breaking the deadlock with a delicate chip over Lamanna after a fine throughball from Gianluca Lapadula, his first goal for the Rossoneri.
Ocampos could have doubled Milan’s lead after a quick counterattack early in the second half, but Lamanna pulled off a strong save to deny his former team-mate and keep Genoa in the game.
Fernandez was next to get a chance to prematurely put the match to bed after a low cross from Ocampos, only to see his shot take a deflection off a defender and go out for a corner.
Mandorlini brought on Mauricio Pinilla in an attempt to force an equaliser, but the Genoa attack simply lacked the finesse to worry Donnarumma as it ended 1-0.
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