Zlatan Ibrahimovic is "not a possibility" for Bologna, a club director has reaffirmed.

The veteran striker signed a short-term deal to return to Milan in January but it appears increasingly unlikely Ibrahimovic will still be at San Siro next season.

Ibrahimovic had been linked with Bologna before he joined Milan, largely due to his relationship with the club's head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic - who was on the backroom team at Inter when the forward was with the Nerazzurri, and reports of a renewed attempted to sign the Swede surfaced in recent weeks.

But, speaking last month, club director Walter Sabatini seemed to quash the idea and sporting director Riccardo Bigon has also now said there is no chance of bringing Ibrahimovic to Bologna.

"I understand the media interest in making this a story, as he is such an important name at the top level, but Ibrahimovic is not a possibility," Bigon told RAI Radio 1 of the 38-year-old.

"We are no longer in contact. He had spoken to Mihajlovic in the winter, then made his choices and from then we haven't taken the situation into consideration."

Hot on the heels of the Premier League, it was announced on May 28 that Serie A would be resuming its season next month.

Italy's top flight is to get back underway from June 20, all being well, with the Coppa Italia semi-final second legs and final to be held during the week prior.

It means four of Europe's top-five leagues are committed to finishing the coronavirus-disrupted campaign, with only Ligue 1 having declared the season over.

Ahead of the return of the action, which includes a true title tussle, a fight for Europe and unease in the bottom half, we look at the story so far of 2019-20...

 

What is the state of play?

It's hardly a surprise that Juventus were top when the season was suspended in March, but this has by no means been a procession towards what would be a ninth consecutive Scudetto.

Simone Inzaghi's Lazio are just a point behind, while Inter, who have a game in hand, are a further eight points back.

Antonio Conte's Nerazzurri were beaten 2-0 by Juve in their final match before the season was halted, but while the title looks a touch beyond their reach, there would be little sense in writing them off entirely.

The race for Europe is similarly close. Free-scoring Atalanta are fourth but only three points above Roma, having played one game fewer, while only five points separate Napoli in sixth and Bologna in 10th. Milan, Hellas Verona and Parma are all in need of some improved form, though.

At the bottom, Brescia and SPAL look to be fighting a losing battle, but no side in the bottom half of the table could realistically declare themselves safe. Lecce are 18th, level on points with Genoa, but it's Torino who are enduring the worst form of all, losing six league games in a row to slide to within two points of the drop zone.

 

What have been the big controversies?

The return of football, for one.

There has been plenty of uncertainty around whether or not Italy, one of the world's hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, would sanction the resumption of the league. Indeed, Brescia owner Massimo Cellino has been outspoken against the idea from the start and branded the decision to declare a return date "crazy".

There is also concern around kick-off times as we move into the Italian summer. Umberto Calcagno, the vice-president of the Italian Footballers' Association, told La Repubblica there was "no way" the organisation would support matches taking place at 16:30 local time in June and July, when average temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celcius.

Even before the league was suspended, confusion reigned. When Parma were due to face SPAL in early March, players were sent back to the dressing rooms minutes before kick-off after sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora recommended all matches be stopped. The game eventually went ahead, 75 minutes late, with SPAL winning 1-0 in front of empty stands.

Juve might be top of the table, but things haven't been going swimmingly for Maurizio Sarri this season, either. The Bianconeri have often produced rather turgid displays and relied on individual brilliance from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo to see them through, and they only won four of their final eight games in all competitions before the enforced break.

Ronaldo's frustrations have boiled over at times. There have been suggestions of discord between the head coach and the 34-year-old, who was angry at being substituted last November and was caught on camera telling Paulo Dybala "We're left alone out there" at half-time of their Champions League last-16 first-leg loss to Lyon.

 

Who had momentum before everything stopped?

Juve's results have been sufficient to keep them top and the convincing 2-0 defeat of Inter on March 8 was a real statement of intent, but Lazio, unbeaten since September in the league, are the real form team.

Led by 27-goal man Ciro Immobile, their run of 16 wins from their past 18 games has come in stark contrast to city rivals Roma, who have lost five of their past nine in Serie A to lose ground on Atalanta in the Champions League race. As for Milan, some bright January form tailed off in February and their season is in danger of petering out, although they are level at 1-1 with Juve after the first leg of the Coppa semi-final.

Lecce's improved form has left SPAL and Brescia looking forlorn at the bottom, but Torino should be particularly concerned - their last points came on January 12.

 

Which clubs have had it toughest during the COVID-19 months?

Although the most high-profile confirmed coronavirus cases came from Juve, where Dybala, Blaise Matuidi and Daniele Rugani were infected, other clubs have had higher figures.

Fiorentina returned six positive tests this month, while Patrick Cutrone, German Pezzella and Dusan Vlahovic were all confirmed as having contracted the virus in March.

There were also confirmed positive tests at Sampdoria, one at Atalanta and one at Torino, while Milan director Paolo Maldini and son Daniel both had the virus.

All clubs have, of course, been hugely impacted by the loss of earnings during the suspended season.

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina said to Riparte l'Italia this week that "more than €500million has already been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown".

Serie A has been given the green light to resume on June 20 following a three-month hiatus.

Italy's top flight was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the country's sports minister announced on Thursday the league - and the Coppa Italia - will restart next month.

Juventus are one point clear of Lazio as they chase down a ninth successive Scudetto, while Inter are nine points adrift of top spot with a game in hand to play.

The reigning champions' first league game back is scheduled to be away to Bologna, a week after they take on Milan in the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final.

Below is the full list of Serie A games still to be played, including four fixtures carried over from earlier in the season.

 

Matchday 25

Inter v Sampdoria
Hellas Verona v Cagliari
Torino v Parma
Atalanta v Sassuolo

Matchday 27

Atalanta v Lazio
Bologna v Juventus
Fiorentina v Brescia
Genoa v Parma
Hellas Verona v Napoli
Inter v Sassuolo
Lecce v Milan
Roma v Sampdoria
SPAL v Cagliari
Torino v Udinese

Matchday 28

Brescia v Genoa
Cagliari v Torino
Juventus v Lecce
Lazio v Fiorentina
Milan v Roma
Napoli v SPAL
Parma v Inter
Sampdoria v Bologna
Sassuolo v Hellas Verona
Udinese v Atalanta

Matchday 29

Atalanta v Napoli
Bologna v Cagliari
Fiorentina v Sassuolo
Genoa v Juventus
Hellas Verona v Parma
Inter v Brescia
Lecce v Sampdoria
Roma v Udinese
SPAL v Milan
Torino v Lazio

Matchday 30

Brescia v Hellas Verona
Cagliari v Atalanta
Inter v Bologna
Juventus v Torino
Lazio v Milan
Napoli v Roma
Parma v Fiorentina
Sampdoria v SPAL
Sassuolo v Lecce
Udinese v Genoa

Matchday 31

Atalanta v Sampdoria
Bologna v Sassuolo
Fiorentina v Cagliari
Genoa v Napoli
Hellas Verona v Inter
Lecce v Lazio
Milan v Juventus
Roma v Parma
SPAL v Udinese
Torino v Brescia

Matchday 32

Brescia v Roma
Cagliari v Lecce
Fiorentina v Hellas Verona
Genoa v SPAL
Inter v Torino
Juventus v Atalanta
Lazio v Sassuolo
Napoli v Milan
Parma v Bologna
Udinese v Sampdoria

Matchday 33

Atalanta v Brescia
Bologna v Napoli
Lecce v Fiorentina
Milan v Parma
Roma v Hellas Verona
Sampdoria v Cagliari
Sassuolo v Juventus
SPAL v Inter
Torino v Genoa
Udinese v Lazio

Matchday 34

Brescia v SPAL
Cagliari v Sassuolo
Fiorentina v Torino
Genoa v Lecce
Hellas Verona v Atalanta
Juventus v Lazio
Milan v Bologna
Napoli v Udinese
Parma v Sampdoria
Roma v Inter

Matchday 35

Atalanta v Bologna
Inter v Fiorentina
Lazio v Cagliari
Lecce v Brescia
Parma v Napoli
Sampdoria v Genoa
Sassuolo v Milan
SPAL v Roma
Torino v Hellas Verona
Udinese v Juventus

Matchday 36

Bologna v Lecce
Brescia v Parma
Cagliari v Udinese
Genoa v Inter
Hellas Verona v Lazio
Juventus v Sampdoria
Milan v Atalanta
Napoli v Sassuolo
Roma v Fiorentina
SPAL v Torino

Matchday 37

Cagliari v Juventus
Fiorentina v Bologna
Hellas Verona v SPAL
Inter v Napoli
Lazio v Brescia
Parma v Atalanta
Sampdoria v Milan
Sassuolo v Genoa
Torino v Roma
Udinese v Lecce

Matchday 38

Atalanta v Inter
Bologna v Torino
Brescia v Sampdoria
Genoa v Hellas Verona
Juventus v Roma
Lecce v Parma
Milan v Cagliari
Napoli v Lazio
Sassuolo v Udinese
SPAL v Fiorentina

Serie A could lose over €700m in revenue if plans to restart the league do not come to fruition, according to Italian Football Federation [FIGC] president Gabriele Gravina.

The Italian top flight has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Gravina said the division has already lost more than €500m.

As the FIGC prepared to meet with the country's minister for sport to discuss a plan to recommence matches from June 13, Gravina warned of the financial consequences of an extended suspension.

"The job of the federation is to get football running again and prevent the economic crisis irreparably damaging Italian passion for the sport,” Gravina told Riparte l’Italia magazine.

"We worked with determination to ensure Italy as a country gets back on its feet, including football, which is an important working sector that involves circa 100,000 employees and generates revenue for the state.

"We’ve worked incessantly with minister for sport Vincenzo Spadafora, the minister for economy and Finance Roberto Gualtieri and minister for health Roberto Speranza, to create secure conditions for professional football to resume.

"This is because only by returning to the pitch can we stop the collapse of revenue which in the short-term would otherwise be over €700m. More than €500m has already been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown."

Meanwhile, Serie A club Bologna said an unnamed member of their staff is suspected to have contracted COVID-19, and the squad is to be kept in an isolated training camp should the individual test positive.

A statement on the club's website said: "The latest round of tests underwent by the team group revealed a case of suspected positivity to COVID-19 with regards to a staff member.

"Pending further analysis, the team will resume training individually and at different times tomorrow as a precaution, without the use of common rooms.

"If positivity is confirmed, the team group will be kept in an isolated training retreat."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been linked with a move to Bologna next season but club director Walter Sabatini poured cold water on the idea.

Bologna boss Sinisa Mihajlovic this weekend said Ibrahimovic, who was on the Inter playing staff when he was a coach for the Nerazzurri, had told him he would leave Milan following the 2019-20 campaign.

Mihajlovic claimed the veteran striker's next move will be to either return to Sweden or join Bologna, but Sabatini thinks the latter is far-fetched.

"It's something that could only develop via their friendship and mutual admiration," Sabatini told Sky Sport Italia.

"A transfer operation involving Ibrahimovic is not something Bologna could aspire to.

"He'd certainly raise the level of everyone around him, so of course it'd be wonderful, but I can't say I believe it'll happen."

Director of sport Riccardo Bigon added: "The coach has a personal relationship with Ibrahimovic, but I don't know if that could turn into negotiations."

Bologna's Japan international Takehiro Tomiyasu is reportedly a target for Roma but Sabatini stressed he is not for sale.

"We won't be selling him because the figure paid would not be sufficient to reflect what a great player he is," said Sabatini.

"Right now nobody is capable of fully evaluating what Tomiyasu is and can become."

Bigon insisted Bologna will not be accepting any offers for Italy international forward Riccardo Orsolini either.

"We will be the club most affected by the coronavirus, but we will not sell off our talents," Bigon said.

"It is fortunate because we do not need to do it and we certainly won't sell. I can say that with certainty."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has confirmed he is leaving Milan after this season, according to Sinisa Mihajlovic.

The Bologna boss, who was a coach at Inter during Ibrahimovic's time there, claims he has received assurances from Ibrahimovic that he will once again be a free agent when his short-term deal at San Siro expires.

Ibrahimovic has scored three times in eight appearances since returning to Milan in January after two years in MLS with LA Galaxy.

"He called me a few days ago and we'll see what he decides to do in the summer," Mihajlovic told Serbian show Vece sa Ivanom Ivanovicem.

"He certainly won't remain at Milan, it remains to be seen whether he'll join us or return to Sweden."

The 38-year-old began his career at Malmo before moving to Ajax and he has a statue outside his first club's stadium.

However, his relationship with Malmo's fans has been soured due to Ibrahimovic's part ownership of rivals Hammarby and the striker's monument has been vandalised on numerous occasions.

A move to Bologna could therefore be appealing to Ibrahimovic, with Mihajlovic not expecting to encounter the type of problems ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola had with the brash Swede.

"Ibra treats me differently from the others, he watches what he says and how he behaves," Mihajlovic added.

"That's because dangerous people recognise each other!"

Ibrahimovic is due to be out of contract after the 2019-20 Serie A concludes, though there is an option to extend the deal by another year.

Four Serie A clubs could resume training on Monday after the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy relaxed its lockdown rules.

As well as reopening parks, gardens and cemeteries to the public, the region has also declared individual sport training sessions can start up again.

That could be good news for top-flight clubs Bologna, Parma, Sassuolo and SPAL, although central government could yet overrule the regional guidance.

In a statement issued on its website on Friday, the Emilia-Romagna local authority listed various ways in which it intended to lift coronavirus restrictions from May 4.

The statement included the following: "Green light also for the training in individual form of professional and non-professional athletes recognised by the Italian National Olympic Committee, by the Italian Paralympic Committee and by their respective federations, in compliance with the rules of social distancing and without any gatherings in closed-door structures, also for athletes of non-individual sports disciplines."

The move by regional governor Stefano Bonaccini represents a significant shift in a country that has been hit hard by the global pandemic.

Reports in Italy have said clubs could yet be barred from welcoming back their players on Monday, after the national government's regional affairs minister Stefano Boccia intervened to express opposition when the Calabria region this week announced it would be reopening bars and restaurants.

Prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced last weekend that professional sports teams could resume training on May 18.

Sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora has urged Serie A teams to focus their energy on next season, after France and the Netherlands became the first high-profile European leagues to abandon the 2019-20 campaign.

Spadafora said on Wednesday: "I always said that resuming training absolutely does not mean resuming the season."

Parma's game against SPAL proceeded on Sunday despite confusion before kick-off, when it appeared Serie A could be suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Players from both teams were in the tunnel at the Ennio Tardini but were ordered back into the changing rooms to await a final decision over whether the match would go ahead.

Kick-off was initially delayed by half an hour before being rescheduled for 13:45 local time (12:45 GMT), over an hour after the intended start time.

The incident came about as Italian authorities apparently considered whether all Serie A matches should be cancelled amid the ongoing spread of the virus in the country.

Speaking on Sunday, Italy's minister for sport Vincenzo Spadafora confirmed he was recommending an immediate halt to the top-flight season.

He said: "It makes no sense right now, as we ask citizens to make huge sacrifices to prevent the spread of the disease, to put at risk the health of players, referees, coaches and fans, who will surely gather together to watch the games, just to protect the interests that revolve around the sport.

"Other federations have wisely decided to suspend football for the next few days. I think it is the duty of the FIGC [the Italian Football Federation] president, Gabriele Gravina, to reflect again, without waiting for the first case of a Serie A player to be infected, before taking on this very serious responsibility."

Authorities had already ordered all sporting events to be played behind closed doors until at least the start of April to limit the risk of infection.

On Saturday, the Italian government locked down the northern region of Lombardy in an attempt to contain the proliferation of COVID-19, which has infected 5,883 people in the country and claimed 234 lives.

People face fines if they are caught entering or leaving the region unless they have a serious reason to do so. All public events, including weddings and funerals, have been banned.

Valencia's Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Atalanta is due to be played on Tuesday without fans present at Mestalla, while traditional pre-match media duties have been cancelled.

Speaking last week, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin insisted it is not the right time to consider "dark scenarios" such as postponing domestic and European competitions or the Euro 2020 finals this year.

"We are dealing with it and we are confident we can deal with it," Ceferin said. "You don't know how many big concerns we have: we have security concerns, political instability and one is also the virus.

"Let's try to be optimistic, not think about dark scenarios – there's time for that later."

Lazio went top of Serie A for the first time in a decade on Saturday, leapfrogging Juventus with a 2-0 victory over Bologna.

Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa scored within three first-half minutes as Lazio's unbeaten run was extended to 21 league matches.

Bologna had two goals disallowed by VAR but Lazio would not be denied as they moved top of the table for the first time since 2010-11, when they led after 10 games.

Simone Inzaghi's men will end the weekend at the summit too after Juventus' clash with Inter, which was due to take place on Sunday, was postponed amid ongoing fears over the spread of the coronavirus in Italy.

Lazio have not won the league title in two decades and the last time anyone other than Juve lifted the Scudetto was in 2010-11 when Milan finished top.

Italy prime minister Giuseppe Conte revealed all of Serie A's Week 26 fixtures, including the blockbuster showdown between Juventus and Inter, could be postponed due to coronavirus fears.

The outbreak of coronavirus in Italy forced four top-flight matches to be postponed over the weekend, including Sunday's clash between Scudetto hopefuls Inter and Sampdoria.

Italy's move came as part of preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 which originated in China, after two people died and dozens more reportedly tested positive.

Now, upcoming fixtures across Italy's leagues are in doubt, with Serie A leaders Juve scheduled to host Inter in Turin on March 1.

"I don't think that in just one week we'd be able to slow down the contagion so much that we could resume sporting events," Conte told Rai.

"We are constantly monitoring the situation and will evaluate. We'll see the evolution of the contagion and evaluate postponing all next week's matches."

Juve are a point clear atop the table following Saturday's 2-1 victory away at bottom side SPAL.

Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 1,000th career appearance with a goal, scoring in an 11th consecutive top-flight match – matching a feat previously achieved by Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella.

In-form Lazio were also in action on Saturday and edged Genoa 3-2 to extend their unbeaten streak to 20 games, while Inter are six points off the pace with a game in hand.

Riccardo Orsolini is worth at least €70million amid reported interest from Juventus, according to Bologna sporting director Walter Sabatini.

Orsolini, 23, joined Bologna on loan from Juve in January 2018 before that move was made permanent ahead of this season.

The attacker has scored seven goals and provided four assists in 23 Serie A games this season, leading to reports Juve may be interested in bringing him back to Turin.

Amid talk Orsolini could return to Juve for €25m, Sabatini insisted there was no buy-back clause and said the one-time Italy international was worth almost triple that.

"I give Orsolini a value of not less than €70m," he told Etv on Monday.

"I repeat that he will not leave. He is followed by the national team like so many others and I think good news is coming to Coverciano [Italy's headquarters].

"I hope he can go to the European Championship, but [Italy coach Roberto] Mancini doesn't need my advice."

Bologna are seventh in Serie A and host Genoa on Saturday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will bring a winning mentality back to Milan, according to Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri.

Ibrahimovic has returned to Milan for a second spell with the Serie A club after leaving Los Angeles Galaxy.

The 38-year-old spent 18 months with the Galaxy, scoring 53 Major League Soccer goals, and was linked to numerous clubs before settling on a return to San Siro, with Milan languishing in 11th place.

Having signed a deal until the end of the season, with an option for 2020-21, Ibrahimovic is likely to make his second Milan debut when the Rossoneri take on struggling Sampdoria on Monday, and Ranieri has no doubt the veteran forward will be a fantastic addition.

"I hope to start 2020 with a great performance and some points, although facing Ibrahimovic is never a good start to a year!" Ranieri said during a news conference on Saturday.

"Milan have a lot of quality players, so their current position in the table is inexplicable. They'll feel enthusiastic and Ibrahimovic brings a winning mentality.

"I am absolutely certain Ibra will play, probably from the start. San Siro will be fired up, so we require cool heads."

Bologna were one of the other Serie A sides interested in Ibrahimovic and their coach Sinisa Mihajlovic believes his club would have been a better fit for the former Sweden international.

"It is disappointing, because I think he’d have had more fun here," Bologna coach Mihajlovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine Sportweek.

"It would've been good for him, for the city and the club, with the team playing to help set him up for goals. I have no complaints, because he had said that if he'd chosen Bologna, it would've been for me. I realise there are other factors at stake, including family commitments.

"Ibra did call me before making his decision, so he kept his word and remains a dear friend. It just means I'll have to beat him on the pitch now."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be joining Bologna, according to the club's director Walter Sabatini.

Ibrahimovic had been linked with a return to Serie A via Bologna after leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy at the end of his contract.

But the 38-year-old striker will not be moving to Bologna amid speculation over a switch to either Napoli or former club Milan.

"Ibrahimovic will not be coming to Bologna. He has made other choices," Sabatini told Tuttomercatoweb.

A return to Milan has been mooted for Ibrahimovic, who won the 2011 Scudetto during his two years at San Siro.

Italian rivals Napoli, however, have reportedly offered the ex-Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain star an 18-month contract.

Asked about Ibrahimovic on the eve of Napoli's Champions League clash with Genk, head coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters on Monday: "I haven't spoken to Ibra today but I did yesterday [Sunday] evening."

"He told me he is in Los Angeles at the moment," added Ancelotti. "He feels really good and weather conditions are just perfect there."

Milan coach Stefano Pioli said he was so overcome with emotion following Sinisa Mihajlovic's return to the Bologna bench on Sunday that he just wanted to hug his opposite number.

Mihajlovic was back on the touchline for the first time since a bone marrow transplant last month, having been diagnosed with leukaemia earlier in the year.

Bologna were unable to make Mihajlovic's return a victorious one, however, as Milan claimed a slender 3-2 win despite Nicola Sansone's late penalty leading to a tense finish.

But Pioli spoke with more enthusiasm about Mihajlovic than he did Milan's performance.

"It was a real pleasure to see him," Pioli told Sky Sport Italia. "I wanted to hug him, but he said it was better not to [due to his condition]. But it was still exciting, a nice moment.

"I hope he is on the way to full recovery now. Having that moment together touched me, it really did."

Krzysztof Piatek wore an expression of relief after he ended a goal drought that stretched back almost two months, opening the scoring with an early penalty after he had been tripped, and Pioli hopes that will help the Poland international's state of mind.

"He was a fundamental point of reference for us today," Pioli said of Piatek. "He won many duels and made an important impact for the team.

"We predicted Bologna would press high up the pitch, so we thought we'd have to play direct and he held the play up very well. He too will come out of this with more confidence."

Theo Hernandez endured a mixed match, becoming the first player since Opta records began to score a goal, an own goal and concede a penalty in the same Serie A game, with Giacomo Bonaventura's strike ultimately proving crucial as Milan took home the points.

Despite there being more negatives than positives about the defender's display, Pioli was mostly pleased.

"Especially in the offensive phase, Theo is very strong," Pioli remarked. "He has great timing of his forward runs, is strong physically and has a great left foot.

"He is the sort of player that can disrupt defensive balance in the opposition if he's got space to run into ahead of him."

Milan secured successive Serie A wins for only the second time this season as they won 3-2 away to Bologna, who had coach Sinisa Mihajlovic back on the bench for the first time since his bone marrow transplant last month.

Mihajlovic, who was diagnosed with leukaemia earlier in the year, received a huge ovation as he walked out pre-match, though his presence was not enough to inspire Bologna to a first league win over Milan since January 2016.

Milan's opening goal will have come as a relief to Krzysztof Piatek as the Poland international scored his first club goal for almost two months from the spot, before Theo Hernandez netted one at either end to put Bologna back in contention.

They were soon trailing by two once again in the second half thanks to Giacomo Bonaventura's sumptuous strike and that proved decisive, giving Bologna too much to do despite Nicola Sansone's late penalty restoring a modicum of hope.

Piatek ended his goal drought from the spot in the 15th minute, converting after being sent tumbling by Bologna defender Mattia Bani.

The hosts failed to mount much of a response and found their task made even trickier just past the half-hour mark, Hernandez beating the goalkeeper from close range after collecting Suso's wonderful disguised pass.

Hernandez found the wrong net late in the half, however, directing a corner past Gianluigi Donnarumma after Stefano Denswil had ducked under the ball.

But any hope of a Bologna comeback was effectively ended within a minute of the second half starting, as Bonaventura curled a fine effort into the left side of the goal from 20 yards.

Sansone's penalty – given after a VAR review – in the 84th minute following Hernandez' clumsy foul on Riccardo Orsolini ensured it was a nervous ending for Milan, but the visitors held on.

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