Penalties from Ricardo Rodriguez and Franck Kessie were enough to help AC Milan ease past SPAL 2-0 at San Siro. Milan were scarcely tested by their visitors and will be disappointed that their dominance was not rewarded with a more flattering scoreline.
Rodriguez scored his first goal for the club after Nikola Kalinic had been hauled down in the box in the first half, while Kessie converted from the spot after he’d been felled by Felipe in the 61st minute.
Vincenzo Montella’s side have now won three straight games in all competitions following their 4-1 humbling at the hands of Lazio, and will be full of confidence ahead of this weekend’s trip to Sampdoria.
SPAL, meanwhile, will need to put in a much improved performance if they are to get anything out of in-form Napoli’s visit to the Stadio Paolo Mazza on Saturday.
SPAL looked bright in the early stages, but Milan soon found their stride.
The first opening went to Rodriguez, who skewed his half-volley from the edge of the area over the crossbar, before Andre Silva had his goal-bound shot blocked after impressive work down the right by Kessie.
Kalinic, fresh from his brace against Udinese at the weekend, then had a long-range drive deflected into the hands of SPAL goalkeeper Alfred Gomis.
Gomis was called into action again in the 19th minute to push over Ignazio Abate’s strike from inside the area. Cristian Zapata did well to meet the resulting corner, but his header flashed narrowly over the bar.
The hosts’ breakthrough came in the 25th minute when Gomis clipped the ankle of Kalinic after he had spilled Rodriguez’s shot. Rodriguez drilled the penalty into the bottom corner to register his first goal for the club following his move from Wolfsburg.
Silva then had a whipped shot from distance well kept out by the overworked Gomis.
Milan started the second period with the same verve that characterised their play in the opening 45 minutes and they nearly doubled their advantage four minutes after the restart.
Rodriguez’s teasing cross from the left was met by the desperate lunge of SPAL defender Bartosz Salamon, whose interception arrowed into the side netting.
SPAL then had their first sight of goal just a minute later when Federico Mattiello met Manuel Lazzari’s cross, but Leonardo Bonucci was able to hack his header away as it flashed across the face of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal.
Normal service was resumed shortly after, though, as yet another Milan attack resulted in a second penalty. Kessie this time was brought down by Felipe in the area, and the Ivorian slotted the spot-kick past Gomis.
The second goal killed the game as a contest, with Milan content to see out the final 30 minutes at a pedestrian pace.
Key Opta stats:
– AC Milan have gained 12+ points from the first five Serie A games for the first time since 2003/04, when they lifted the trophy.
– SPAL have lost their last three Serie A games 2-0.
– SPAL have failed to score in six of their last seven league appearances.
– Milan have found the net in 21 consecutive Serie A meetings for the first time since March 2009.
– Milan scored two penalties in the same Serie A game for the first time since January 2010, against Genoa.