AC Milan 4 Verona 1: Gattuso's men warm up for Juve by relegating visitors

Ignazio Abate's goal was a highlight as AC Milan thumped Verona, who were relegated as a result of their defeat.

AC Milan celebrate against Verona   -  Getty Images

AC Milan warmed up for the Coppa Italia final in style as an emphatic 4-1 win over Verona at San Siro relegated the visitors from Serie A.

Having gone six games without a victory, Gennaro Gattuso's men have now won two straight matches ahead of Wednesday's massive showpiece clash against Juventus in Rome.

Hakan Calhanoglu, who also netted last time out against Bologna, opened the scoring in the 10th minute and Patrick Cutrone doubled Milan's lead before the break.

The hosts' win was effectively secured early in the second half when Ignazio Abate produced a brilliant finish, his first goal since December 2015 proving worth the wait.

Substitute Lee Seung-woo pulled one back late on with a fierce volley, but Fabio Borini – a 58th-minute replacement for Suso – responded for Milan as Verona's eighth defeat in nine matches meant their relegation was confirmed.

Regardless of the result against Juve, the fact Milan have improved their position to sixth with only two games to play means they are close to being sure of a place in the Europa League next season through their league placing.

Milan threatened first when an inswinging Suso cross saw Cutrone's flicked header well saved by Marco Silvestri, Franck Kessie shooting over from the rebound.

But the hosts did not have to wait long for the breakthrough. Suso's cut-back found Calhanoglu, who fired in a low strike from 15 yards that defender Thomas Heurtaux was unable to keep out with a last-ditch clearance near the goal-line.

Verona forward Bruno Petkovic wanted a penalty when Leonardo Bonucci made contact with his back, but referee Fabrizio Pasqua was unmoved and Milan went straight up the other end to double their lead in the 32nd minute.

Giacomo Bonaventura impressively found Cutrone and the striker took one touch and turned before finding the bottom corner with a left-footed strike from 12 yards, his eighth league goal of the campaign.

Milan were rampant and, four minutes into the second half, Abate struck in magnificent fashion. The full-back raced down the right, exchanged passes with Suso as he reached the penalty area and sent a thunderous strike into the top corner.

Gattuso soon began shifting his attention to the final as he opted to replace Suso - who had earlier sustained a knock but still produced two assists – along with Alessio Romagnoli and Cutrone.

Only Silvestri's heroics denied Milan a fourth when Manuel Locatelli's 25-yard strike took a massive deflection off Heurtaux, while Romulo was unlucky not to net a consolation at the other end as his unbelievable free-kick from a tight angle beat Gianluigi Donnarumma, who had otherwise been untroubled, but cannoned off the bar.

Verona were able to net five minutes from time, Lee sending an unstoppable volley past Donnarumma from 20 yards to give his side one positive memory from the day that saw them drop down to Serie B.

But Milan would have the final word a minute from the end, with Borini taking one touch to control Bonaventura's cross and planting a fine finish past Silvestri.


Key Opta stats:

- Verona have lost each of their last seven Serie A away games, with 19 goals conceded and only two scored.
- Hakan Calhanoglu has been directly involved in three goals in his last two games played in Serie A (two goals, one assist).
- Patrick Cutrone has scored all his Serie A goals (8) with shots from inside box.
- Giacomo Bonaventura has provided two assists in the same game for the first time since November 2015 (v Lazio).
- AC Milan fired 10 shots on target, the most for the Rossoneri in a home league game this season.