Milan 1-0 Fiorentina: Late Rafael Leao strike edges Rossoneri closer to Scudetto glory

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Milan moved closer to a first Serie A title triumph in 11 years thanks to a late strike from Rafael Leao in Sunday's 1-0 home win over Fiorentina.

Inter's shock 2-1 loss to Bologna in midweek handed the Scudetto initiative to Milan and the Rossoneri just about took full advantage with this third league victory in a row.

The visitors had lost three games on the spin in all competitions but frustrated their table-topping opponents until Leao made the most of an error to fire in an 82nd-minute winner.

That strike was enough as Milan moved five points clear of Inter, who travel to Udinese later on Sunday. Should it come to it, the Rossoneri boast the better head-to-head record.

Milan 1-0 Fiorentina
Milan 1-0 Fiorentina

Theo Hernandez had an early goal ruled out for an offside infringement against Junior Messias in the build-up in what turned out to be a frustrating contest for Milan.

The hosts probed away without regularly testing Pietro Terracciano, with Olivier Giroud clipping the ball wide when played through from the pick of their first-half chances.

Fiorentina, who are battling for a top-six finish, had some promising opportunities themselves and did at least force Mike Maignan into a save through Riccardo Saponara's shot.

But the best openings continued to fall Milan's way, with Leao slipping when firing over from a glorious position.

Milan needed Maignan to keep out an Arthur Cabral header from point-blank range and that proved a huge moment as Leao's winning goal arrived soon after.

Terracciano mishit his kick from the back and Leao brought the ball inside before calmly curling home to spark jubilant scenes.

What does it mean? Milan's title hopes still in their own hands

Just when the Scudetto race appeared to be heading for yet another twist, up popped Leao to salvage a second successive late victory for a determined Milan side.

The Rossoneri were good value for their win, finishing with an expected goals (xG) return of 1.21 compared to Fiorentina's 0.82.

It means that regardless of how Inter get on, Milan will be champions of Italy for the first time since 2011 if they collect seven points from the remaining nine on offer.

Leao leaves it late

With his well-taken goal late on, Milan forward Leao now has 10 goals for the season in the Italian top flight.

That makes him the fifth Portuguese player to reach double figures in a single Serie A season after Cristiano Ronaldo, Rui Barros, Rui Costa and Beto.

Terracciano's howler

Fiorentina did well to frustrate Milan and would have left San Siro with a valuable point if not for Terracciano, who simply lost concentration when gifting the hosts their late goal.

Milan deserve credit for again keeping their opponents at bay, though, having now conceded just eight goals in 16 Serie A games – only Liverpool (6) have conceded fewer in Europe's top five leagues in 2022.

What's next?

Milan's Scudetto quest continues with a trip to Verona in a week's time, while Fiorentina will look to respond when they host Roma the following day.

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