Krzysztof Piatek was AC Milan’s hero once again as he grabbed the winner in a 2-1 victory over Chievo at the Stadio Bentegodi on Saturday evening.
Lucas Biglia bagged his second ever goal for Milan 31 minutes in, Peparim Hetemaj equalised for the hosts 10 minutes later. However, it was of course Piatek who came to the rescue, bagging his 19th Serie A goal of the season to keep Milan’s 14-year unbeaten league run against the Flying Donkeys intact.
As a result, Milan extend their lead over rivals Inter in fourth, who play on Sunday afternoon, to four points with the Derby della Madonnina coming up in a week as the race for third hots up.
Chances were few and far between in the opening stages with Milan going close through Suso, who curled over the bar, then Franck Kessie smashed wide from close range.
Samuel Castillejo should have done better with two goo opportunities. One was slashed way off target, before he pounced on a Mattia Bani slip, but his cross to an unmarked Piatek was cut out by Marco Andreolli.
The breakthrough came just after the half hour as Biglia nestled the ball into the top corner from a freekick. However the lead lasted just 10 minutes.
Mehdi Leris swung in a cross from the right, and Chievo captain Hetemaj put a well placed header past Gianluigi Donnarumma to level.
After the break, Hetemaj went close with a cross-come-shot which needed a good reaction save from Donnarumma to stop it going into the net.
However, almost immediately at the other end after some pinball in the area Piatek had the ball in the back of the net, much to the derision of the Chievo players who stopped expecting a foul to be called.
Initially, a Hakan Calhanoglu ball into the area found its way to the Pole, who was denied by Sorrentino, with Chievo awaiting a decision to stop play from the referee as it appeared Piatek had fouled Fabio Depaoli. That never came and Castillejo headed into the No.19’s path as play continued and he made no mistake, poking home from close range.
Referee Luca Pairetto went to VAR for a silent check and confirmed there was no infringement, thus the goal stood.
Number three should have followed as Kessie, unmarked, was set up perfectly on the edge of the area, but scuffed his shot and it rolled off target.
Chievo went all out to find a second equaliser, but a lack of nous in the final third cost the Gialloblu who remain rooted to the bottom of Serie A with just 10 points.
PUM PUM PIATEK
Controversy may surround his goal, but it’s doubtful the Pole will care. Another goal, taking back level with Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Quagliarella atop the Serie A goalscoring charts on 19 and a crucial one as Milan go 10 games unbeaten and open up a gap to Inter – which may shrink on Sunday. Even more impressive is that he has scored in seven of the 10 Serie A stadia he has played in this season, with goals only missing at the Allianz Stadium, Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino and the Sardegna Arena. Coming up with the goods when Milan need it most, Piatek goes into the derby on a high.