Three second half goals gave AC Milan a comfortable 3-0 win over Spezia at the Stadio San Siro on Sunday, leaving the Rossoneri top of Serie A alongside Atalanta.
Rafael Leao scored the opener as well as the Rossoneri’s third goal of the night, with Theo Hernandez also featuring in the scoresheet, but it was Hakan Calhanoglu’s entrance after the break which shifted the balance, as the home side looked more lively and inspired after a stuttering first half during which Spezia showcased good defensive compactness.
The Rossoneri immediately went in search of an early lead, but the visitors did good to clear a dangerous ball by Alexis Saelemaekers just before Rafael Leao could shoot and Brahim Diaz had a weak effort easily blocked by Rafael shortly after.
Spezia looked at ease sitting deep in order to close the space, but they were also quick to play the ball forward with well organised counter attacks, and they almost found the lead when Gianluigi Donnarumma had to pull off a miraculous save to prevent Davide Calabria from sending the ball into his own net in and attempt to clear a Daniele Verde cross.
Calabria redeemed himself when his low drive found Lorenzo Colombo, but a perfectly timed slide tackle from Erlic stopped the youngster’s right-footed shot.
Brahim Diaz was Milan’s most inspired player in the first half, although the Spaniard failed to take advantage of a nice cross from Saelemaekers, as the ball bounced off his shoulder and ended up over the bar.
Verde and Saelemaekers gave the two sides one scare each before the break, which saw Calhanoglu replacing Colombo for the Rossoneri, with Leao asked to play as a central striker.
The Turkish midfielder made his presence felt after 57 minutes, with a curled cross that was met by Leao at the back post, putting Milan in front.
The contest continued to look balanced after the opener, but Theo Hernandez showed no sign of tiredness despite the recent schedule, producing an impressive run that broke Spezia’s lines before sending the ball to the low right-corner with a precise shot.
Leao added a third, his second the night, two minutes later when he was left free to knock in from a few steps, after Franck Kessie had flicked a Saelemaekers cross.