x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

AC Milan chalk up a vital win against rivals Napoli

Three second-half goal from the Rossoneri dispatch Napoli and moves Milan five points clear at the top of Serie A.

AC Milan scored three goals in the second half against Napoli to move five points clear at the top of Serie A.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted from the penalty spot in the 49th minute after Salvatore Aronica’s handball.

Morgan De Sanctis, the Napoli goalkeeper, came up with a string of good saves to keep the visitors in the contest but could not stop Kevin Prince Boateng from doubling Milan’s lead with 13 minutes to go.

Alexandre Pato then scored Milan’s third to cap off a great night for the hosts. With the defeat, Napoli are now lying third, one point behind Inter Milan in second.

Napoli, who entered the game after winning six of their last seven league games, failed to test Christian Abbiati, the Milan goalkeeper, for the entire game.

Napoli’s Marek Hamsik struck wide from outside the area after 12 minutes played. On the half-hour mark, Ibrahimovic’s left-footed strike from 10 yards was blocked by a Napoli defender.

Before half-time, Mark van Bommel’s diagonal effort was off target. Milan were unlucky not to break the deadlock soon after the restart as De Sanctis kept out Van Bommel’s powerful volley.

Napoli then failed to clear the ball inside their area and Aronica, with Pato moving into a threatening position, touched the ball with his arm.

A penalty was given and although De Sanctis dived the right way, he could not get his hand on Ibrahimovic’s shot towards the bottom left corner.

The goal inspired the hosts, who could have doubled their lead in the 55th minute. Pato dribbled past a defender before firing towards the far post only for De Sanctis’ to deny him.

De Sanctis’ next save was more spectacular as he kept out Robinho’s attempt from close range.

Napoli should have equalised in the 69th minute but Paolo Cannavaro’s header from Christian Maggio’s cross went wide. Shortly after that, Milan struck.

Pato thread a pass to unleash Boateng inside the area and he fired past De Sanctis.

Napoli had little time to react as Milan extended their lead. A fast counter-attack saw Van Bommel’s pass find Pato and his right-footed shot from outside the penalty area to beat De Sanctis.