Milan 2-0 Salernitana: Kessie on target as leaders cruise to victory

By Sports Desk December 04, 2021

Milan ended a three-game winless run at home with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Serie A's bottom club Salernitana on Saturday.

First-half goals from Franck Kessie and Alexis Saelemaekers eased the league leaders to three points at San Siro.

It should have been a more one-sided scoreline, the Rossoneri spurning a host of second-half chances through Brahim Diaz and Junior Messias to extend their lead.

The contest was firmly in Milan's control almost from the off. Kessie squeezed a left-foot shot into the bottom-right corner with just five minutes played, and both Saelemaekers and Brahim were whiskers away from adding a second.

Milan suffered a blow when Pietro Pellegri was forced off injured after a quarter of an hour, but a deserved second goal soon followed, Saelemaekers given time to consider a cross before placing a fine finish beyond Vid Belec's reach from just inside the box.

Rade Krunic was denied by Belec and Kessie side-footed wide just before the interval, with Alessio Romagnoli heading wide just after the restart.

It began to look a case of when rather than if Milan would score again: Fikayo Tomori nodded wide and Messias was denied by a fine one-handed save from Belec, who also smothered the ball at the feet of the lively Brahim.

Messias stung the palms of Belec from the edge of the box and both Brahim and Sandro Tonali prodded wide with the goal at their mercy, but the risk of a Salernitana comeback was never on the cards.

What does it mean? Rossoneri put pressure on chasing pack

Having lost 11 of their first 15 league games this season, few expected Salernitana to spring a surprise at San Siro and the contest looked over as soon as Kessie broke the deadlock.

The result leaves Stefano Colantuono's side bottom, while Milan's lead at the top is at two points ahead of Inter's tricky trip to Jose Mourinho's Roma and Napoli's home game with Atalanta.

A fitting tribute

Saelemaekers celebrated his goal by holding up a Simon Kjaer shirt in support of the centre-back, whose season has been ended by injury.

It was a moment to cap a lively overall performance. Saelemaekers attempted the most opposition-half passes (41) and open-play crosses (three) from the right of the Milan attack.

Sinking feeling

Nadir Zortea tested Mike Maignan late in the first half, after which Salernitana failed to trouble the Milan keeper with a shot on target.

It is hard to see how they will haul themselves out of trouble if their attacking play does not improve.

What's next?

Milan host Udinese next Saturday but, before then, there is the small matter of a home Champions League clash with Liverpool that offers the chance to qualify for the last 16.

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    ROUND-UP

    - Goal claims that Barcelona are working on a plan to raise €100million (£83m) in funds to lure Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland to the Catalan club. The Blaugrana are determined to win the race to sign Haaland despite interest from wealthy giants Real MadridManchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

    - Bayern Munich's 32-year-old forward Thomas Muller has drawn interest from Newcastle United and Everton as he approaches the final year of his contract, claims Sport Bild.

    - L'Equipe claims that Bruno Guimaraes had told Lyon he wants to join Newcastle after the Magpies tabled a bid.

    - The Sun reports that Manchester United have put their search for a new manager on hold as they consider whether to make Ralf Rangnick's stay permanent.

    - Staying at United, numerous reports in England suggest Jesse Lingard is angry with the club as their demands have put off Newcastle's attempt to sign the player on loan.

    - Ousmane Dembele wants to stay at Barcelona after all, according to Sport. The France international's representatives met with Barca boss Xavi this week.

    - Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele is set to join Valencia on loan, reports Telefoot.

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