Serie A: Milan back to winning ways with nervy victory at Bologna

Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty early in the game as Ante Rebic scored from the rebound while Franck Kessi added a second to give AC Milan a 2-1 victory over Bologna.

AC Milan players celebrate Ante Rebic's opening goal against Bologna.   -  Getty Images

AC Milan got back to winning ways in Serie A with a 2-1 victory at Bologna on Saturday, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in fine form to help his side open up a five-point lead at the top of the standings.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed the chance to put the leader ahead when his spot kick was saved in the 26th minute but Ante Rebic latched onto the rebound to fire home.

Bologna had three glorious chances to level before the end of the first half, but was denied by some brilliant saves from Donnarumma.

Those stops proved crucial as Milan was awarded another penalty in the 55th minute. Franck Kessie converted from the spot to double his side's lead.

Substitute Andrea Poli got one back for the host in the 81st minute, but it could not find an equaliser despite plenty of late pressure.

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Milan, who had lost its last two games in all competitions, moved onto 46 points, five clear of second-placed Inter Milan. Bologna stays 13th on 20 points.

"Today was a strong response from the team," Milan coach Stefano Pioli told a news conference. "In the last two days we increased our pace and quality and today it showed.

"To win in this championship sometimes you have to struggle. It's nice to win like this."

Milan, which was unbeaten this season in Serie A until its loss to Juventus on January 6, suffered its second league defeat of the campaign last weekend to Atalanta at home, before then losing to Inter in Tuesday’s Coppa Italia quarter final.

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It started well in the Renato Dall'Ara Stadium in Saturday’s first Serie A fixture, however, with Rebic bailing out Ibrahimovic after his poorly-placed penalty was saved.

The goal meant Milan have found the net in 20 away league games in a row for the first time in their Serie A history, overtaking a 19-game goalscoring run between 1992 and 1993.

Even with Fikayo Tomori, on loan from Chelsea, making his first start the gaps started to appear at the back for Milan, but Bologna could not find a way past Donnarumma.

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A needless handball from Adama Soumaoro gifted Milan their second spot kick, but again it was Bologna doing most of the attacking in the second half.

There was nothing Donnarumma could have done about Poli’s arrowed strike, but the Milan stopper preserved a vital win for his side with another fine save late on.