Milan: AC Milan boosted their hopes of retaining the Serie A title by recording a crucial 2-0 victory over Atalanta at San Siro on Wednesday night.
Sulley Muntari opened the scoring, the midfielder racking up his third goal since joining the Rossoneri on loan from Inter during the transfer window by converting a cross from Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Milan struggled thereafter but substitute Robinho made the game safe when he nodded home in injury time as Massimiliano Allegri`s men claimed a victory which drew them to within a point of Juventus, who were held at home by Lecce.
The Rossoneri went into the game knowing that a defeat would gift the Scudetto to Juventus but they showed no sign of nerves early on. Indeed, inspired by Kevin-Prince Boateng, they made a rip-roaring start to the game and the Ghanaian had already threatened on three occasions by the time Sulley Muntari opened the scoring eight minutes in.
Unsurprisingly, Boateng was involved. Zlatan Ibrahimovic surged forward from midfield before rolling the ball wide to the former Portsmouth man. Boateng set himself and then played a wonderful ball into a borderline offside Muntari, who slid the ball home at the back post.
Credit to Atalanta, though, they managed to frustrate Milan for the remainder of the half and could easily have gone in level at the interval but Christian Abbiati was equal to German Denis’ 16th-minute header, while the latter also fired wide after the ball had arrived at his feet in the home side’s penalty area right on the half-hour mark.
The Rossoneri looked to reassert the superiority at the start of the second period and Ibrahimovic poked wide at the near post after being picked out by Antonio Cassano, who then saw his close-range effort brilliantly blocked by Michele Ferri.
However, Milan failed to maintain their momentum and with Atalanta offering nothing by way of an attacking threat, the game was rather fizzling out when word came through from Turin that Lecce had drawn level against Juventus.
That news immediately lifted the hosts and Ibrahimovic very nearly raised the roof after some wonderful chest control took him past Guglielmo Stendardo but the Swede slotted wide after doing all of the hard work.
As it was, though, Ibrahimovic made amends as it was his free-kick which Robinho followed up to seal a win that reignited their hopes of holding onto the Scudetto ahead of Sunday’s now mammoth Milan derby with Champions League chasers Inter.