Milan resurgence continues with win at Berlusconi's Monza
MILAN (AP) — Resurgent AC Milan won at Silvio Berlusconi’s Monza 1-0 and moved back into Serie A's Champions League qualifying spots on Saturday.
Junior Messias scored the only goal of the derby to help Milan to its third straight victory.
The Rossoneri appear to have turned things around after a terrible start to the year, moving level on points with second-placed Inter Milan, which hosted Udinese late. Runaway leader Napoli was 18 points clear.
Monza’s first league loss in 2023 upended the last unbeaten team in Serie A this year.
It was a special match as Berlusconi, along with Monza CEO Adriano Galliani, oversaw 29 trophies in 31 years at Milan before selling the club in 2017. He bought Monza the following year and took the club from the third division to its first appearance in Serie A this season.
Monza started aggressively and Milan goalkeeper Ciprian Tătărușanu had to make two saves in the opening 72 seconds.
But those were to be Monza’s only attempts on goal in the half.
Home goalkeeper Michele Di Gregorio was by far the busier goalkeeper and kept Milan at bay until the 31st minute. Matteo Pessina tried to head clear a cross but it fell to Messias, who controlled it before firing into the right side of the net. Di Gregorio got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.
Rafael Leão had also seen a long-range effort clip the outside of the right post in the 19th minute for Milan.
Monza almost leveled in the 73rd but Patrick Ciurria’s shot bounced off the right upright, hit Tătărușanu on the back and ricocheted off the post again.
The 41-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimović was on the bench for a second straight Serie A match but he will have to wait longer for his first appearance on the soccer field since undergoing knee surgery last May.
Sampdoria’s lengthy wait for a home goal ended but a missed penalty and a late winner saw it lose to Bologna 2-1.
Substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri converted a penalty with practically his first kick of the match in the 68th for Samp’s first home goal in the league since September.
But Bologna goalkeeper Łukasz Skorupski saved Sabiri’s second penalty attempt three minutes later.
Roberto Soriano gave Bologna a first-half lead and Riccardo Orsolini snatched all three points in the final minute.
Samp remained eight points from safety while Bologna moved into the Europa Conference League qualifying spot.
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Daniella Matar, The Associated Press