AC Milan defeated a defensive-minded Sampdoria 2-1 on Sunday evening, maintaining top spot in Serie A after 10 rounds.
Franck Kessie opened the scoring late in the first half from the penalty spot and Samu Castellejo doubled the lead with less than 15 minutes remaining while Albin Ekdal got a consolation goal for the Blucerchiati.
Sampdoria wore a commemorative kit for this match, marking the 120th anniversary of the formation of Andrea Doria, one of the clubs Samp were known as before the August 1946 merger with Sampierdarenese. Although the sports club had been formed in 1895, the football sector was established five years later.
There was also a minute of silence for Mario Maraschi, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 81. He was best known for winning a Serie A title with Fiorentina in 1968/69 but he also gained cult status with the Blucerchiati after scoring a bicycle kick goal in a Derby della Lanterna against Genoa in the 1973/74 season.
AC Milan dominated the first half yet it was Samp who had the first clear chance, when Lorenzo Tonelli shot after a scramble in the box and Rossoneri goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made a fabulous fingertip save.
Ante Rebic had a couple of opportunities to put Il Diavolo ahead but one effort was blocked by Alex Ferrari and the other went straight into the arms of Blucerchiati goalkeeper Emil Audero. Samp forward Manolo Gabbiadini tried his luck from distance but his shot went straight towards Donnarumma.
Rebic should put AC Milan ahead after beating Audero but Tonelli was able to challenge him and clear the ball off the line with some additional help from the post.
The Rossoneri finally took the lead after Jakub Jankto committed a handball and Kessie dispatched the resulting penalty high into the net. Brahim Diaz had the chance to double the lead in injury time but his shot went horribly wide.
AC Milan came close to a second goal early in the second half but Sandro Tonali’s weak shot hit the post and was collected by Audero. Minutes later, Calhanoglu had a free-kick deflected for a corner.
There were claims for a Sampdoria penalty when the ball hit Matteo Gabbia on his arm but the ball had hit his chest beforehand so nothing was given to the home side.
The Blucerchiati were pegged back most of the time by Milan, but Morten Thorsby had a great chance to equalise, only to put his header over the bar.
Rossoneri coach replaced Alexis Saelemaekers with Castillejo and it proved to be an inspired substitution. Rebic crossed low from the left, the Spaniard shot with his left foot, and Audero tried to push the ball out but to no avail, with Milan going 2-0 up.
Rebic could have made it 3-0 but he didn’t connect well with the volley and Sampdoria quickly pulled one back as Donnarumma failed to prevent Ekdal’s header from crossing the line.
The Swede had a great chance to equalise with the last touch of the game but his header went wide.