Milan, November 14: A last-gasp Nikola Milenkovic own goal handed Milan a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina at San Siro on Sunday (November 13) to cut Napoli's lead at the top of Serie A.
Rafael Leao opened the scoring after just two minutes, but Fiorentina responded fiercely, finding an equaliser before the half-hour mark through Antonin Barak's deflected effort.
It appeared Milan would have to settle for a share of the points, which would have seen them sit 10 behind Napoli, but a remarkable end saved the hosts.
Milenkovic diverted the ball into his own net to deny Fiorentina in cruel fashion, with their appeals for VAR to intervene being waved away.
4 - Rafael Leão is the fourth player to have scored more than five goals in at least four consecutive seasons in Serie A with AC Milan in the three points for a win era, after George Weah, Kaká and Alexandre Pato. Certainty.#MilanFiorentina— OptaPaolo 🏆 (@OptaPaolo) November 13, 2022
The hosts came out of the blocks flying, Olivier Giroud flicking a pass for Leao to charge into the box and slot home into the bottom-right corner with just two minutes on the clock.
Fiorentina had a swift chance to equalise, Riccardo Saponara smashing an effort against the frame of the goal, before pulling level minutes before the half-hour mark as Barak's drive took a wicked deflection off Malick Thiaw to beat Ciprian Tatarusanu.
Milan were back on the front foot at the start of the second period, Giroud forcing a close-range save from Pietro Terracciano and Leao thumping an attempt wide of the post.
At the other end, a superb last-ditch tackle from Fikayo Tomori on Jonathan Ikone kept Fiorentina at bay, with a VAR check confirming no infringement from the England international.
Tomori was again on hand to prevent Ikone, clearing off the line, which proved to be decisive when Milenkovic sent the ball into his own net after Terracciano failed to punch the ball away.
What does it mean? Rare draw denied
Milan and Fiorentina had only drawn one of their past 14 Serie A matches at San Siro heading into the game, with the last time points were shared in the fixture coming in October 2014.
It appeared that streak would end before the dramatic conclusion, with the late own goal ensuring Milan now boast nine wins in their past 15 home matches against La Viola in the league.
Leao streak continues
Leao's opening goal against Fiorentina was his third against La Viola in four Serie A matches, with all of those goals coming at San Siro, including his very first goal in the competition in September 2019.
The Portugal international becomes the fourth player to score at least five Serie A goals in four consecutive seasons for Milan, after George Weah, Kaka and Alexandre Pato.
A draw for Fiorentina would have extended their unbeaten streak away from home to four, which would have seen the mark achieved for the first time under Vincenzo Italiano.
Instead, it is a third game in a row without a win for La Viola in Serie A, leaving them locked firmly in mid-table and eight points off the European spots.
Milan have to wait until January 4 for their next taste of Serie A action, away to Salernitana, while Fiorentina host Monza on the same day.