(Reuters) – AC Milan’s Rafael Leao took advantage of a late goalkeeping howler as the Serie A leaders went five points clear at the top with a 1-0 win against Fiorentina at San Siro on Sunday.
With eight minutes left on the clock, Leao latched on to a misplaced pass from Fiorentina keeper Pietro Terracciano and strode towards the goal before firing in a low effort to keep Milan in the hunt for their first league title in more than a decade.
Stefano Pioli’s side have 77 points from 35 games, five more than Inter Milan who can cut that gap with a win at Udinese later on Sunday.
“The best moment for a player,” said Leao after scoring the winner. “The important thing was the victory. We created a lot, a little anxiety about wasted opportunities. It was a final, now we have to stay focused on our goal.”
After a goalless first half during which Milan failed to hit the target, the hosts missed a gilt-edged chance to go ahead when Leao skied his shot from close range two minutes into the restart before Theo Hernandez’s half-volley also sailed over.
Milan found themselves in promising positions down the left side but failed to force Terracciano into any notable saves and were lucky to not have Hernandez sent off after the Frenchman swung an elbow at Lucas Martinez Quarta.
“We had a lot of opportunities. We had the right mentality, we continued to work as a team,” Pioli told DAZN. “In this kind of game, there’s always a little bit of tension; we were fighting for a very important goal.”
Fiorentina almost grabbed a shock lead in the 75th minute but Arthur Cabral’s header was brilliantly kept out by Mike Maignan before Leao made up for his earlier miss by calmly slotting past Terracciano.
Pioli added: “The team played, fought against a team that created difficulties for us. We were dangerous, another step forward and there is satisfaction both for us and for our fantastic fans.”
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)