Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an emphatic free-kick for his 400th career league goal as Milan beat Jose Mourinho’s Roma 2-1 to keep pace with Napoli at the top of Serie A.
It means Mourinho has lost a home game in Italy for the first time, while the visiting Rossoneri made it seven league wins in a row.
Roma made a bright start but Stefano Pioli’s Milan soon took a stranglehold on the game, with Ibrahimovic at the centre of most of their good work and opening the scoring after 25 minutes.
Milan were too strong for their hosts, and a second-half penalty from Franck Kessie secured the points for the visitors, despite them going down to 10 men when Theo Hernandez was sent off. A late reply from Stephan El Shaarawy mattered for very little.
Ibrahimovic gave the visitors the lead when he fired a free-kick low and hard past Rui Patricio.
Milan thought they had doubled their advantage on two separate occasions as Rafael Leao and Ibrahimovic had goals ruled out for offside.
The away side were then awarded a penalty early in the second half after Roger Ibanez brought down Ibrahimovic, which Kessie duly dispatched.
Milan lost Hernandez to a red card in the 66th minute after his second booking of the contest. The Giallorossi then pulled a goal back in stoppage time when substitute El Shaarawy fired past Ciprian Tatarusanu.
But Milan, who have won more Serie A matches against Roma than against any other side (77), held on to secure the win and a 10th victory from their opening 11 games.
What does it mean? Milan keep pace with Napoli at Serie A summit
Milan remain neck and neck with fellow pacesetters Napoli after Luciano Spalletti’s men won 1-0 at Salernitana earlier on Sunday.
Milan and Napoli have now won 10 of their 11 matches in Serie A this season – only four sides had previously managed that feat in the history of the competition: Juventus in 2005-06, Roma in 2013-14, Napoli in 2017-18 and Juventus in 2018-19.
When in Rome, do as Ibra does
Ibrahimovic’s fierce free-kick brought up another landmark for the veteran Swede. His first league goal was netted on 30 October 1999, when 15 per cent of the players with at least one match in Serie A this season had not yet been born.
The former Manchester United attacker has also now scored 11 goals against Roma in Serie A, more than he has against anyone else in top-flight football.
Tough night for Tammy
Tammy Abraham was ready to write the headlines as he came up against his childhood friend and former Chelsea team-mate Fikayo Tomori, but it was the Milan centre-back who came out on top in Rome.
Abraham struggled to impose himself on the game during his 63 minutes on the pitch, managing only 18 touches, not winning any of his four duels and having just one shot on goal.
Key Opta facts
– Mourinho had not tasted a home defeat in 43 Serie A matches, across his two seasons at Inter and the beginning of his Roma career. That streak (W33 D10) was the longest unbeaten home run for a coach since 1994-95 in the competition.
– Milan have become the third team in Serie A history to win 15 away matches in a calendar year, after Napoli in 2017 (18) and Juventus in 2018 (15).
– Ibrahimovic’s strike was his 150th goal in Serie A and he is the seventh foreign player to cross this milestone in the competition.
– Milan have won two away games in a row against Roma in Serie A for the first time since 2005, when they were coached by Carlo Ancelotti.
– No team have scored more goals from outside the penalty area than Milan in the five major European leagues this season (5).
– Kessie has scored four goals against Roma in Serie A, including three from the penalty spot, more than he has managed against any other side.
– Ibrahimovic scored his fourth direct free-kick in Serie A, his first since January 2012 when he netted for Milan against Cagliari.
Roma host Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League on Thursday, looking for revenge after their 6-1 thrashing in the reverse fixture. Milan host Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday, looking for the first points of their European campaign.
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