Stuttering AC Milan eased the pressure on under-fire manager Massimiliano Allegri with a 1-0 win over Genoa at the San Siro on Saturday.
A late strike from youngster Stephen El Shaarawy earned Milan three valuable points and ended their three-game losing streak in all competitions.
The home side, bruised after their Champions League defeat to Malaga, started by dominating control of the ball across the pitch, with Genoa afforded few touches as they defended from deep.
Despite early possession, however, chances were few and far between for Milan and they were fortunate not to fall behind after Cristian Zapata was caught dawdling on the ball.
The Colombian defender was robbed by Luca Antonelli who tried to find Ciro Immobile in the middle. Marco Amelia’s attempted clearance hit the forward and the ball finishing agonisingly wide of the left post.
Milan continued to take the game to Genoa without creating anything clear-cut but they eventually found the breakthrough courtesy of El Shaarawy on 77 minutes.
El Shaarawy, celebrating his 20th birthday, pounced on a square-ball from Ignazio Abate and made no mistake from close range for his sixth goal of the season.
The win temporarily lifts Milan to ninth position in the Serie A, with 10 points from their first nine fixtures.
Meanwhile, the match between strugglers Siena and Palermo lived up to its tag as both sides failed to find the back of the net in a scoreless draw.
Siena remains at the foot of the table, four points adrift of Palermo, who have drawn their last three games.