Milan defeated Atalanta 2-0 at San Siro to move level on points with second-place Inter in a match that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic make his first appearance in nine months.
Inter’s surprise 1-0 loss to Bologna earlier on Sunday opened the door for Milan to pounce and they took full advantage on home soil with a fourth win in a row in all competitions.
Juan Musso’s 25th-minute own goal – after Theo Hernandez’s long-range volley hit the frame of goal and went in off the goalkeeper’s back – put Stefano Pioli’s side on their way.
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The hosts, who also had fit-again keeper Mike Maignan back in their side for the first time since September, added a deserved second through Junior Messias late on following the long-awaited return of Ibrahimovic.
There was a slice of fortune involved in Milan’s opener as Hernandez’s sublime strike from 25 yards was helped over the line by Musso after the ball had hit the post.
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Rafael Leao clipped the side-netting, fired over from a glorious position and was then denied by a fine Musso save as Milan struggled to make their superiority truly show.
Messias was the next Milan player to fire off target with plenty of the goal to aim for, with that proving to be the moment Pioli turned to Ibrahimovic.
The home side finally killed off the contest through Messias’ clipped finish over Musso four minutes from time after being played through on goal by Leao.