AC Milan held off a stirring comeback by Rennes to book their place in the Europa League last 16.

The Italian side looked to have the job done after last week’s 3-0 first-leg win at the San Siro, but the Ligue 1 outfit gave them a scare on home soil, with Benjamin Bourigeaud’s hat-trick sealing a 3-2 victory in the second leg.

Milan goals from Luka Jovic and Rafael Leao proved pivotal as they secured a 5-3 aggregate win to go into the hat for Friday’s draw.

Rennes knew they would have to make early inroads into their deficit if they were to have any chance of repairing the damage from a harrowing night in Milan last week.

And they enjoyed the dream start as they went ahead in the 10th minute.

Bourigeaud received the ball in the centre of the pitch, took a touch and then drilled a scorching low effort into the bottom corner.

Milan were able to weather the early storm and got a crucial leveller in the 21st minute to restore their three-goal advantage.

Tijjani Reijnders burst forward and teed up Theo Hernandez to send in an inviting cross which an unmarked Jovic powered home with his head.

The hosts came again and thought they had made it 2-1 soon after but Arnaud Kalimuendo’s effort hit Mike Maignan without the Milan goalkeeper knowing too much about it.

The French side did go back in front in the 54th minute when Bourigeaud got his second of the match, converting from the penalty spot after Martin Terrier had been fouled by Simon Kjaer.

But they were again pegged back four minutes later as Milan made it 2-2 thanks to a fine Leao strike, the Portugal international guiding into the corner after a fine solo run.

Bourigeaud claimed the matchball as Rennes took the lead for the third time in the match as he again emphatically scored from the penalty spot after VAR had spotted a foul by Jovic.

That left them with 22 minutes of normal time to try and muster two goals and, although they attacked with intent and bluster they could not forge any real chances.

AC Milan have expressed support for winger Rafael Leao after a supporter told him to leave the club in a racist social media post.

The Portugal international was targeted following his side’s 4-2 Serie A loss at Monza on Sunday.

An Instagram message allegedly directed at Leao read: “I can’t see you anymore, I can’t stand you on the pitch anymore, I’m becoming racist, you really p*** me off, leave as soon as possible, you and whoever follows you.”

Leao came on as a half-time substitute during the weekend defeat, which ended Milan’s nine-match unbeaten run in the league.

He shared the abuse, along with the words: “Unfortunately the world continues to have this type of people with small minds.”

The 24-year-old player later received support from his club.

A post on AC Milan’s X account read: “@RafaeLeao7 we stand with you. In our fanbase and in football, there’s no room for racism.”

Leao, who has won 23 caps for his country, joined Milan from French side Lille in 2019.

He has scored seven goals in 30 appearances for the Italian club this season.

Teun Koopmeiners fired a double as Atalanta dumped AC Milan out of the Coppa Italia after a 2-1 win at the San Siro.

The Netherlands midfielder struck a superb equaliser just 90 seconds after Rafael Leao had opened the scoring for Milan at the end of the first half before converting a penalty in the second period.

Atalanta’s surprise win secured them a semi-final tie against Fiorentina and is the second time they have beaten Stefano Pioli’s side in just over a month, following their 3-2 home Serie A victory on December 9.

The Rossoneri entered the cup tie in top form, winning five and drawing one of their six matches in all competitions since their league defeat to Atalanta, but the visitors fully deserved to progress.

A first half of few chances burst into life just before the interval when Leao combined with Theo Hernandez at pace down the left and brilliantly converted the latter’s ball inside from the edge of the penalty area.

Atalanta’s response was immediate. With the clock ticking into first-half stoppage time, Emil Holm burst clear on the right edge of the area and his pin-point cut-back was expertly swept home by Koopmeiners.

The visitors then went close to snatching the lead when substitute Mario Pasalic’s effort was blocked by Milan captain Davide Calabria.

Up until a frantic finale to the first half, Milan midfielder Yunus Musah was the only player to have a shot on target, with his 19th-minute shot saved by Marco Carnesecchi.

Milan defender Matteo Gabbia and Atalanta midfielder Marten de Roon had both been forced off following a heavy 38th-minute collision and replaced by Simon Kjaer and Pasalic respectively.

Koopmeiners forced Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan into a fine low save with a low effort from outside the box at the start of the second half and threatened again as he fired wide soon after.

Atalanta were awarded a penalty – confirmed by the video assistant referee – after Aleksey Miranchuk went down under Alex Jimenez’s challenge and Koopmeiners converted into the bottom corner in the 59th minute.

Carnesecchi turned away Christian Pulisic’s goalbound shot from the edge of the area as Milan chased an equaliser.

Musah’s long-range shot was also saved by Carnesecchi and Milan substitute Jan-Carlo Simic headed wide from a late corner as Atalanta held firm.

The visitors were given a scare in stoppage time when VAR checked for a possible handball moments before the final whistle, while Milan’s unused substitute Antonio Mirante was shown a red card as the players left the field.

AC Milan ended their goal drought to keep their Champions League hopes alive after a comeback win over Paris St Germain.

Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud scored their first European goals of the season to secure a 2-1 victory at San Siro.

Milan Skriniar’s header had given the visitors the lead but PSG are now just a point ahead of third-placed Milan in Group F.

Newcastle’s 2-0 defeat at leaders Borussia Dortmund earlier on Tuesday gave the hosts, who started the night bottom, a glimmer of hope.

They are only two points adrift of Dortmund with the group still wide open after four games.

Milan, who reached the semi-finals last season, came into the game with one win in their last six in all competitions and it looked like it was going to be another long night after nine minutes.

Former Inter Milan defender Skriniar was the villain when he drifted off Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shoulder to head in from four yards after Marquinhos had glanced a corner across goal.

Yet two minutes later the hosts were level following a fine piece of improvisation from Leao.

The Portugal international streaked through midfield to feed Giroud, who was denied by a smart save from Gianluigi Donnarumma. The ball looped in the air and Leao adjusted himself to hook an overhead kick in from six yards.

Achraf Hakimi dragged wide as a quick tempo continued but Milan grew in confidence, even if Ousmane Dembele struck the crossbar for PSG after 27 minutes.

Fikayo Tomori’s free-kick had former Milan keeper Donnarumma, who was forced to remove fake bank notes from his area after the home fans threw them onto the pitch in protest at his departure in 2021, scrambling and Leao dragged wide with nine minutes to go before the break.

Mike Maignan dealt with tame efforts from Dembele and Vitinha in first-half stoppage time and, five minutes after the restart, Milan grabbed the winner.

Leao and Hakimi went down after challenging each other at the far post and the PSG defence went to sleep expecting a whistle.

By the time Theo Hernandez swung in a cross they were struggling to regroup and Giroud powered in a six-yard header.

Donnarumma’s fingertip save turned Hernandez’s free kick wide soon after but PSG, with Kylian Mbappe well shackled, rallied late and could have grabbed a point with two minutes left.

Substitute Kang-In Lee cut in from the right but his low strike hit the outside of the post.

Rafael Leao was guilty of an incredible miss which let Newcastle off the hook as their Champions League opener at AC Milan finished goalless.

The Portugal international, who was Newcastle star Sandro Tonali’s team-mate at San Siro until his £53million summer switch to Tyneside, completely fluffed his lines with only goalkeeper Nick Pope to beat after attempting an audacious flick at the end of a stunning 34th-minute run and only succeeded in tripping himself.

Pope will feel he had already earned his slice of good fortune after making five first-half saves in the space of six minutes to pave the way for a 0-0 draw which banked a priceless first point for the Magpies’ Group F account on their return to European football’s top table after an absence of 20 years.

For the seven-time winners, who were thrashed 5-1 by derby rivals Inter Milan on Saturday, there was no salvation on a night when they created enough chances, but were unable to take any of them, much to the annoyance of the locals among a crowd of 65,695.

Goals from Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao helped AC Milan make it three consecutive wins with a 2-1 victory over Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.

Goals at the start of either half by Giroud from the penalty spot and Leao’s spectacular overhead kick put Milan in prime position to make it three wins from a possible three.

Milan looked in cruise control but they were forced to play the last half an hour with 10 men after Fikayo Tomori was shown a red card.

However, Leonardo Spinazzola’s late consolation was not enough as Milan held on to go top of Seria A, while Jose Mourinho’s Roma remain winless.

Milan hit the front with nine minutes on the clock after Ruben Loftus-Cheek was brought down inside the area by Rui Patricio and Giroud stepped up to dispatch from 12 yards.

Milan could have made it two with 22 minutes on the clock but Christian Pulisic’s close-range volley was remarkably tipped over the bar thanks to Patricio’s sharp reflexes.

Roma had a chance just before half-time when Leandro Paredes was brought down outside the area – Lorenzo Pellegrini’s free kick was headed out to Stephan El Shaarawy who fired wide of the target just before the interval.

The visitors doubled their advantage three minutes after the break in outstanding fashion when Davide Calabria swung in a cross and Leao’s overhead kick arrowed straight into the bottom corner via the post to make it 2-0.

Roma were offered a lifeline on the hour mark after Tomori received a second yellow card for bringing Andrea Belotti down outside the area.

Roma went in search of a way back into the encounter and Romelu Lukaku was brought off the bench for his debut after signing on loan from Premier League club Chelsea.

The Belgium striker almost made an instant impact but his effort from outside the area sailed over the crossbar.

The hosts continued to knock on the door but failed to test Mike Maignan as Spinazzola’s audacious effort flew well over the bar.

Roma’s late pressure set up a grandstand finish when Spinazzola’s effort deflected past Maignan and into the net during stoppage time but the hosts were unable to find an equaliser.

Milan pushed on in the battle for a top-four Serie A finish as Ismael Bennacer and Theo Hernandez scored in a 2-0 win over Lazio at San Siro.

Stefano Pioli's side were in full control from the off, though Lazio were masters of their own downfall for the opening goal as Marcos Antonio's error allowed Bennacer to bundle home. 

Hernandez doubled Milan's advantage before the break with a terrific solo effort, helping the Rossoneri to fourth in Serie A ahead of Inter's crucial clash with Roma later on Saturday. 

However, Milan's victory was marred by the sight of star forward Rafael Leao limping from the field early on, with the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie against Inter just four days away.

Having rested several players for Wednesday's draw with Cremonese, Pioli may have regretted naming a more familiar lineup when Leao was withdrawn just 11 minutes in – the forward appearing to suffer a groin injury.

Yet Milan made light of his absence as Bennacer pounced on a Lazio mix-up, combining with Olivier Giroud before volleying into the ground and over Ivan Provedel.

Milan doubled their lead from a lightning break 12 minutes later. Hernandez received the ball from Mike Maignan near his own penalty area before driving forward and lashing home from 20 yards via a slight deflection.

Lazio failed to record a single shot on target before the break, and Milan continued to dominate after the interval as substitute Malick Thiaw powered a header over from Sandro Tonali's corner. 

Milan were denied a late third when Ante Rebic slotted home from an offside position, but it was of little consequence as they warmed up for Wednesday's Champions League derby in style.

Milan's game against Roma on Saturday is "worth double" as both teams vie for Champions League qualification, says Rossoneri head coach Stefano Pioli.

Milan occupy the all-important fourth place in Serie A, but only by virtue of their superior goal difference, with Roma also on 56 points ahead of Saturday's vital clash.

Pioli's men head to Stadio Olimpico where the Giallorossi have kept seven clean sheets in their last eight home league matches, with no other team in the top five European leagues keeping more since the turn of the year.

Pioli acknowledged the importance of the fixture in his pre-match press conference, telling reporters: "We need to give continuity to our performances, making sure that the next match is the most important one.

"Tomorrow's match is worth double and we need to face it with the right spirit and convictions.

"It's worth a lot. After tomorrow there will be six games left. The more points we get, the more chance we have of getting into the top-four places, which is our great goal."

Pioli was asked about his close relationship with winger Rafael Leao, who recently said his head coach was like his "father" having accumulated 22 goal involvements in 41 appearances for Milan this season in all competitions.

"My players are all my children, from morning to night," Pioli said. "Even when I'm at home I think of them.

"I talk to them every day, both about football and about other situations: they are lucky, but they have the problems of 20-year-olds.

"Rafa is the player who has been in my office the most in recent years, so there is the strongest bond."

Barcelona's determination to bring Lionel Messi back to Camp Nou is going to be a major storyline during the next transfer window.

But their pursuit of the 2022 World Cup winner is complicated given the Blaugrana's financial situation.

As a result, Barca's squad are on notice, with expectations that key players may need to be offloaded.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE TRIO TO SWOOP FOR RAPHINHA

Raphinha is set to be sold by Barcelona in the off-season with three Premier League clubs circling for his signature, according to reports.

The Blaugrana will need to let Raphinha go to free up space for Messi to return given the club's financial issues, claims Fichajes. Messi is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season.

Raphinha joined from Leeds United last year and his stay could be short. AS claims Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle United are all interested in the 26-year-old.

 

ROUND-UP

– Milan forward Rafael Leao has declined offers from both Real Madrid and Chelsea, claims La Gazzetta dello Sport.

– Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic is drawing interest from Manchester United , according to Croatian outlet Jutarnji, with the Red Devils uncertain on David de Gea 's future.

Chelsea are tracking Brentford pair David Raya and Ivan Toney, reports Football London.

– Football 365 claims Aston Villa are circling for Emile Smith Rowe,  who is "disappointed" with his lack of game time at Arsenal.

– Leicester City defender Caglar Soyuncu's planned move to Atletico Madrid is signed and sealed, according to Fabrizio Romano. The Turkish defender's contract will run until 2027.

– Sky Germany's Florian Plettenberg claims Yann Sommer could leave Bayern Munich in the off-season, with new head coach Thomas Tuchel set to restore Manuel Neuer to the side when he returns to full fitness.

Stefano Pioli hailed Milan for replicating their strong Champions League showings in Serie A after Sunday's victory over Lecce arrested a slump in domestic form.

Milan had won just one of their last six league games, denting their hopes of a top-four finish, but overcame Lecce 2-0 at San Siro after a Rafael Leao double.

The Rossoneri sit level on points with fourth-placed Roma, who visit Atalanta on Monday, while they trail Juventus by three after the Bianconeri's 15-point deduction was reversed this week.

Their struggles in the Italian top flight were in stark contrast to Champions League performances, having reached the last four for the first time since 2007 after a 2-1 aggregate win over Serie A leaders Napoli.

Pioli revealed his message to his Milan players before the Lecce clash was a call to replicate their recent outings in Europe.

Asked by DAZN how the Milan coach motivated his side, Pioli said: "That it was important to start strong and important to bring Champions League performances onto the pitch.

"We did many good things, we need to improve others."

Pioli's side will meet fierce city rivals Inter in the Champions League last four, while the pair battle for a place in Italy's top four – Inter sat in sixth, two points behind Milan.

Simone Inzaghi's side were 3-0 victors at Empoli earlier on Sunday, although Pioli insisted that result had no bearing on Milan's motivation.

He added: "Before today there were 8 days left. I told the team that the next two would determine our final position.

"We will try to win as many games as possible, we are fine and we must continue to work at our best."

Leao was the chief problem for Lecce down the left-hand side throughout, heading home Sandro Tonali's cross for the opener before a fine individual run culminated in his second goal that went in off the right post.

The Milan winger has scored 12 league goals this season, his best return in a single campaign, while he became just the second Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo to hit the 10-goal mark in back-to-back Serie A campaigns – after Cristiano Ronaldo did so for Juventus in three seasons between 2018 and 2021.

After his fourth brace in the Italian top flight and first double at home in Serie A since September 2022 against Inter, Leao was more focused on the team's achievements.

"I always try to play a good game, helping my team-mates," he told DAZN. "The most important thing today was to win, we haven't done it in a long time in the league."

As for his own exploits, Leao added: "I was thinking about it even before the match that I had to score. It's always nice to score with these fans and I'm very happy."

Rafael Leao scored a deadly double as Milan returned to winning ways in Serie A and boosted their Champions League qualification hopes with a 2-0 victory over Lecce.

Stefano Pioli's side reached the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday after a 2-1 aggregate win over Napoli, but their recent domestic league form had left much to be desired.

The Rossoneri had managed just one win in their last six league games, but Leao scored in each half on Sunday at San Siro to halt that slide against their relegation-threatened visitors.

Victory moved Milan level on points with fourth-placed Roma, who visit Atalanta on Monday, and three behind Juventus after the Bianconeri's 15-point deduction was reversed.

Wladimiro Falcone pushed away an early 25-yard drive from Sandro Tonali before Theo Hernandez thought he had won a penalty for Milan.

Daniele Chiffi pointed to the spot after a Federico Baschirotto tackle on Hernandez, only for the referee to reverse his decision after consulting the VAR and touchline monitor.

Lecce's Lameck Banda squandered a glorious 19th-minute opportunity when heading onto the left post from close range, and Milan punished that miss five minutes before the break.

An inventive short-corner routine allowed Tonali to cross towards the back post, where Leao towered above Valentin Gendrey to head into the left corner.

Leao wastefully chipped over after 73 minutes, but he made amends a minute later with a fine individual run and a low left-footed drive that went in off the right post.

 

What does it mean? Milan avoid Champions League hangover

Milan battled to a 1-1 draw at Napoli to secure their first last-four appearance in the Champions League since 2007, and they avoided any previously common signs of a dip in form following that achievement.

The Rossoneri had drawn their last two league matches after a Champions League game, along with three stalemates in their past five Serie A outings, but Pioli's side were good value for victory over Lecce.

There remains the possibility Milan will not be playing in UEFA's top club competition next season, though, needing to overthrow Roma or Juve, or both, or win this year's Champions League outright.

Leao matches Ronaldo record

Leao was a central figure to Milan's Scudetto success last season, attracting interest from the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.

The Milan winger became just the second Portuguese player to hit the 10-goal mark in two consecutive Serie A campaigns, after Cristiano Ronaldo did so for Juve three seasons in a row between 2018-19 and 2020-21.

Defensive fragility costs Lecce again

Lecce are just two points clear of 18th-placed Cremonese and a place in the Serie A relegation zone, with their defensive issues a driving factor for their struggles.

They may be the only Italian top-flight side to have not conceded more than twice in a game this term, but Lecce's three clean sheets mark the worst record in the league.

What's next?

Milan face Roma on Saturday in a crucial clash in the top-four race, while Lecce host Udinese the day before.

Rafael Leao scored a deadly double as Milan returned to winning ways in Serie A and boosted their Champions League qualification hopes with a 2-0 victory over Lecce.

Stefano Pioli's side reached the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday after a 2-1 aggregate win over Napoli, but their recent domestic league form had left much to be desired.

The Rossoneri had managed just one win in their last six league games, but Leao scored in each half on Sunday at San Siro to halt that slide against their relegation-threatened visitors.

Victory moved Milan level on points with fourth-placed Roma, who visit Atalanta on Monday, and three behind Juventus after the Bianconeri's 15-point deduction was reversed.

Wladimiro Falcone pushed away an early 25-yard drive from Sandro Tonali before Theo Hernandez thought he had won a penalty for Milan.

Daniele Chiffi pointed to the spot after a Federico Baschirotto tackle on Hernandez, only for the referee to reverse his decision after consulting the VAR and touchline monitor.

Lecce's Lameck Banda squandered a glorious 19th-minute opportunity when heading onto the left post from close range, and Milan punished that miss five minutes before the break.

An inventive short-corner routine allowed Tonali to cross towards the back post, where Leao towered above Valentin Gendrey to head into the left corner.

Leao wastefully chipped over after 73 minutes, but he made amends a minute later with a fine individual run and a low left-footed drive that went in off the right post.

 

What does it mean? Milan avoid Champions League hangover

Milan battled to a 1-1 draw at Napoli to secure their first last-four appearance in the Champions League since 2007, and they avoided any previously common signs of a dip in form following that achievement.

The Rossoneri had drawn their last two league matches after a Champions League game, along with three stalemates in their past five Serie A outings, but Pioli's side were good value for victory over Lecce.

There remains the possibility Milan will not be playing in UEFA's top club competition next season, though, needing to overthrow Roma or Juve, or both, or win this year's Champions League outright.

Leao matches Ronaldo record

Leao was a central figure to Milan's Scudetto success last season, attracting interest from the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.

The Milan winger became just the second Portuguese player to hit the 10-goal mark in two consecutive Serie A campaigns, after Cristiano Ronaldo did so for Juve three seasons in a row between 2018-19 and 2020-21.

Defensive fragility costs Lecce again

Lecce are just two points clear of 18th-placed Cremonese and a place in the Serie A relegation zone, with their defensive issues a driving factor for their struggles.

They may be the only Italian top-flight side to have not conceded more than twice in a game this term, but Lecce's three clean sheets mark the worst record in the league.

What's next?

Milan face Roma on Saturday in a crucial clash in the top-four race, while Lecce host Udinese the day before.

The race for Jude Bellingham's signature continues, with Liverpool having pulled out last week.

Numerous top clubs are keen on the 19-year-old England international who is contracted with Borussia Dortmund until 2025.

Bellingham signed his initial deal with Dortmund in 2020 but is set for a major pay rise if he moves or pens fresh terms.

TOP STORY – MADRID TO USE DIAZ IN BELLINGHAM DEAL

Real Madrid are plotting a potential player swap-plus-cash deal to land Jude Bellingham in the off-season, according to Cadena SER.

Los Blancos are investigating potentially using Brahim Diaz, currently on loan at Milan, in a deal to help reduce Dortmund's reported €150 million asking price.

Madrid are currently in the process of extending the stays of veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City are preparing a new contract offer for Erling Haaland to ward off rivals interest from top clubs such as Real Madrid, claims The Athletic.

- Rafael Leao wants to stay with Milan following interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, according to Manchester Evening News.

- Newcastle United have established contact with Ousmane Dembele's representatives to discuss a move for the Barcelona winger, claims 90min.

- Arsenal and Newcastle United are both interested in Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, per Le10Sport.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea have opted against pursing Luis Enrique as their new manager, instead turning their attention to former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino. The Guardian claims Julian Nagelsmann remains Chelsea's top candidate.

- Tottenham will swoop on Chelsea's decision and look to appoint Enrique as Antonio Conte's replacement, according to The Express.

Stefano Pioli hailed Rafael Leao after he returned to form with a brace in Milan's remarkable 4-0 rout of Napoli, declaring the forward had not gone anywhere during his recent goal drought.

Having gone 11 games without a goal for Milan, Leao tore Napoli apart as the defending champions claimed a memorable win over the Serie A leaders at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

After lobbing Alex Meret for the opener, Leao scored his second of the game – and his 10th of the Serie A season – with a powerful left-footed finish to cap a lightning break from Pioli's men.

Leao – Serie A's Player of the Season last campaign – attracted criticism during his recent lean spell, but Pioli always had faith he would rediscover his best form.

Asked whether Leao was 'back' after his double, Pioli told DAZN: "He never left!

"He scored two goals, one from a central forward position and one from out wide. He has incredible potential and will become a champion."

As well as providing a huge boost to Milan's hopes of a top-four finish, the result served as a warning to Napoli ahead of this month's Champions League quarter-final tie against the Rossoneri.

Pioli, however, does not believe Milan's win will have any impact on those contests, adding: "Certainly today's victory gives us confidence, but they will be different matches. 

"Just because we won 4-0 today, it doesn't mean that Napoli have lost their certainties. We'll think about Napoli and face those two matches – I hope – with the personality of this evening.

"It will be a balanced match between two strong teams who are doing well in the Champions League. This season will be positive if we play in the Champions League again next year.

"There are still 10 days to go. It will be 180 minutes, but now we head to Empoli [on Friday] – in the league we haven't always faced matches with the right attitude."

Since Pioli joined Milan in 2019, the Rossoneri have posted five wins against teams starting that matchday top of the Serie A table – at least two more than any other team in the competition.

Rafael Leao scored two brilliant goals as Milan stunned Serie A leaders Napoli with a crushing 4-0 victory at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday.

Leao netted either side of a close-range strike from Brahim Diaz, opening the scoring with a lobbed one-on-one finish before doubling up with a powerful effort on the break.

With Serie A's leading marksman Victor Osimhen out injured, Napoli applied plenty of pressure but lacked cutting edge, and Alexis Saelemaekers added some gloss with a fine solo goal for the Scudetto holders.

The result saw Milan take advantage of Inter's loss to Fiorentina by going third in the table, and Stefano Pioli will hope it represents a sign of things to come ahead of the teams' upcoming Champions League quarter-final tie.

Giovanni Simeone – starting in place of Osimhen – missed the first clear chance when he fired over from 12 yards out, but it was Milan who struck first after 17 minutes.

Leao raced onto Diaz's throughball before dinking an impudent finish over Alex Meret, silencing the home crowd and ending his 11-game goal drought at club level. 

Things got even better for the Rossoneri eight minutes later, with Diaz sitting Mario Rui down after controlling Ismael Bennacer's left-wing cross before finishing high into the roof of the net.

Mike Maignan made strong saves to thwart Piotr Zielinski and Rui as Napoli looked to hit back, while Olivier Giroud went close to finding the bottom-right corner after the interval.

Despite Napoli dominating possession, Milan went further ahead when Leao capped a lightning break by tricking his way past Amir Rrahmani and lashing into the top-right corner.

With Napoli all at sea defensively, Saelemaekers added a memorable strike of his own, dancing through several Partenopei challenges before prodding beyond Meret after 67 minutes.

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