Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Junior Messias scored as Milan bounced back from successive Serie A defeats in style, beating Genoa 3-0 away from home on Wednesday.
Veteran centre-forward Ibrahimovic punished the poor positioning of a Genoa wall, firing in an early free-kick to settle any Milan nerves.
Messias then scored twice, heading past Salvatore Sirigu in first-half stoppage time before fizzing a low strike into the bottom corner just after the hour mark.
Genoa were hardly able to threaten the visitors, with Milan’s dominance duly reflected in the scoreline as the Rossoneri moved to within a point of leaders Napoli.
Ibrahimovic opened the scoring in just the 10th minute, bending his free-kick around the centrally positioned wall and into the bottom-right corner, leaving Sirigu with no chance in the Genoa goal.
The 40-year-old started the game in lively fashion, taking six of Milan’s first seven shots in the opening 20 minutes, but it was Brahim Diaz who came closest to doubling the visitors’ advantage, lashing narrowly over after a superb solo run shortly before the break.
Milan did go 2-0 up soon after, with Messias powering a looping header across goal and over the diving Sirigu after Rade Krunic’s shot in the box was blocked and popped up into the air.
Hernani came close to pulling one back for Genoa early in the second half, but his towering header was kept out spectacularly by Mike Maignan before Fikayo Tomori produced an acrobatic bicycle-kick clearance off the line.
It was Milan that scored next, Messias steering a low effort into the bottom-left corner to round off a flowing team move and give his side a three-goal cushion, which they held comfortably through to the final whistle.
31 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic has equaled Silvio Piola as the best scorer in the #SerieA history counting only the goals scored after turning 38y (31 goals). Wine.#GenoaMilan OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) December 1, 2021
What does it mean? Milan stabilise to maintain title tilt
Milan’s Scudetto hopes had been dented by back-to-back defeats against Fiorentina and Sassuolo as they failed to take the opportunity to leapfrog Napoli, who also suffered their first league defeat of the campaign in that time.
However, the commanding victory not only restores some confidence for the Rossoneri but moves them closer to the leaders, who drew 2-2 at Sassuolo.
Ibrahimovic continues to age gracefully
Ibrahimovic’s opening strike means the veteran striker has now equalled Silvio Piola’s record for the most goals scored in Serie A after turning 38 years old (31).
Messias brings Brazilian flair back to Milan
Messias’ brace made him the first Brazilian player to score twice for Milan in a Serie A away game since Ronaldinho did so against Juventus in 2010.
Genoa travel to Turin to face Juventus on Sunday, while Milan host Salernitana on Saturday.