After seeing their dominant start to the season grind to a halt, AC Milan returned to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 win over Genoa in Serie A on Wednesday.
The Rossoneri had fallen behind in the Scudetto race after a 4-3 defeat to Fiorentina was followed up by last weekend’s 3-1 loss at home to Sassuolo.
However, an early Zlatan Ibrahimovic freekick set the tone at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris and Junior Messias continued his fairy tale story with a fine brace.
Whilst Genoa have struggled for form this season, the return of Milan icon Andriy Shevchenko as Grifone coach had the potential to add another twist to this fixture.
Meanwhile, Milan were forced to switch things up when Simon Kjaer was forced off with an injury in the opening five minutes, but the change in personnel didn’t affect Stefano Pioli’s men, who had only just welcomed fellow centre-back Fikayo Tomori back.
Milan were fluid in attack and showed speed, creativity and constant movement to cut through the hosts, as they appeared back to their scintillating best at Marassi. Any signs of a hangover after the shock loss to Sassuolo were eradicated early on and the Diavolo were in complete command from start to finish.
After two defeats and a difficult Champions League campaign, it would be easy for Milan to struggle to regain their impressive form of the opening three months, particularly after the way their season derailed last year.
But in beating Genoa so comfortably, the Rossoneri have set themselves up for a manageable match against bottom club Salernitana, before a crucial title battle against Napoli.
The emergence of Messias has been another positive for the red and black half of the city, with the man who was languishing in Serie D five years ago taking his goals well and showing a good understanding with the impressive Brahim Diaz.
With Ibrahimovic back to lead the line, the Diavolo’s attack looked more cohesive and Pioli now has options to see him through a full season and avoid running out of steam.
Whilst Milan were always expected to beat a struggling Genoa, it was crucial that they laid down a marker and showed that the last two weeks were nothing more than a blip. Napoli’s collapse to a 2-2 draw against Sassuolo in the evening’s other match will have made this victory all the more sweeter.