Fiorentina 2-1 Milan: Rossoneri resurgence halted by Gonzalez and Jovic
Milan saw their Serie A top-four hopes dealt a blow after Nicolas Gonzalez and Luka Jovic proved the difference in a 2-1 win for Fiorentina on Saturday.
Stefano Pioli's side had reeled off three straight league wins but came unstuck at Stadio Artemio Franchi with an underwhelming display.
Gonzalez's 49th-minute penalty was no less than Vincenzo Italiano's hosts deserved before substitute Jovic put the game beyond Milan, despite Theo Hernandez's stoppage-time strike.
Defeat left Pioli's men 18 points adrift of runaway leaders Napoli and looking over their shoulders at fifth-placed Roma, who could move level with victory against Juventus on Sunday.
Fiorentina were unable to reap the rewards of their first-half dominance against a Milan defence that had not conceded since February 5.
Giacomo Bonaventura was a constant threat against his former side, with Mike Maignan pushing away his free-kick and Fikayo Tomori clearing the midfielder's bobbling close-range finish off the line.
Milan offered little in response yet Pietro Terracciano still had to be alert to thwart Olivier Giroud's inventive left-footed volley.
Fiorentina's pressure told after the interval, though. Tomori dragged down Jonathan Ikone inside the area and Gonzalez rolled into the bottom-right corner from 12 yards.
An apparent Arthur Cabral handball seemed to offer Milan late hope, but the referee overturned his original penalty decision.
Jovic then headed in from Dodo's right-wing cross soon after, rendering Hernandez's subsequent thumping left-footed effort a mere consolation in a disappointing Milan defeat.
What does it mean? Rossoneri revert to familiar failings
A seven-game winless run at the start of 2023 – including humbling defeats to Inter, Lazio and Sassuolo – raised questions over the Serie A champions' capabilities this term.
While regaining the Scudetto resembles a pipedream, given Napoli's dominance in Italy this campaign, Pioli's side may have taken comfort from their response to a woeful period.
But the Rossoneri reverted to previous struggles with a toothless performance punished by Fiorentina, who won for only the fourth time in 17 home games against Milan.
Bonaventura haunts former side
Bonaventura seemed to have a point to prove against Milan, whom he played for between 2014 and 2020 after leaving Atalanta.
The Italy international twice went close in the first half and created a game-leading three chances in an impressive display against his former employers.
Tomori kept Milan in the contest with a last-ditch block against Bonaventura in the first half, but that intervention perhaps belied an otherwise poor showing.
The centre-back gave away the penalty for Fiorentina's opener after being easily beaten by Ikone and won just half of his six duels amid a performance that had him often looking awkward at the back.
Key Opta facts
- Luka Jovic has scored the joint-most headed goals in all competitions this season among Serie A players (five, level with Victor Osimhen).
- Milan have lost four Serie A games in 2023. Only Cremonese, Sampdoria and Salernitana (all six) have lost more.
- Milan are the team with whom Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played the most league matches in his career (123).
Milan take a slender 1-0 Champions League last-16 lead to Tottenham on Wednesday, while Fiorentina host Sivasspor in the first leg of their Europa Conference League round-of-16 clash a day later.