Milan beat the nine-man Bologna to become Serie A front-runners

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Ismael Bennacer gave Milan a second lead with six minutes from time before Zlatan Ibrahimovic sealed a hard-fought win over a team from Bologna that sent Adama Soumaoro and Roberto Soriano off the field in the first hour.

Stefano Pioli’s undefeated Milan are one point ahead of Napoli, who will travel to Roma on Sunday hoping to hold their previous record of 100 percent this season but were not happy with his performance.

It comes after a painful Champions League loss to Porto mid-week and with a number of first-choice players injured or sidelined with Covid-19.

“We thought we won the game because we were two ahead and an extra man, but if you stop playing you are taking a risk,” Pioli told Sky Sport Italia.

“It’s a big win. We know it will be a difficult game when you have European commitments and you play someone who has had all week to prepare.”

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s Bologna are in ninth place after a 12-point defeat, which will frustrate their Serbian coach after battling to equalize shortly after the break.

“With nine men, ten men and even eleven we were better than Milan today, they did little. It wasn’t easy, but we showed today that we are a good team,” said Mihajlovic.

“We lost the points, but we won when it comes to play, fighting spirit, courage and all the things that make a good team.”

Everything seemed to be going in the right direction for Milan in the 16 th minute when Rafael Leao Ibrahimovic’s fine through ball received a shot after a great kill by Gary Medel.

Soumaoro was then shown a red card for bringing down Rade Krunic when the Bosnian raced through on Simon Kjaer’s pass.

When Davide Calabria scored the second goal in the 35th minute, Milan looked dry, but Bologna came out of the trap after the break and were level within seven minutes of the restart.

In the 49th minute, Ibrahimovic cast a weak look at Nicolas Dominguez’s corner under little pressure, then Musa Barrow slipped behind a stunned Milan defense to confidently cross the finish line after Soriano’s pass.

Soriano then left his team at nine with more than half an hour to go after setting his foot on Fode Ballo-Toure’s ankle as the Senegalese international crossed the ball.

And Bennacer broke the home side’s resistance with a stylish first finish when the ball fell on him from a height.

Ibrahimovic then gave the result a more flattering appearance when he picked up from Bennacer and scored his second league goal of the season.

Previously, Empoli had fought Salernitana to win an exciting Serie A competition 4-2 after taking the lead by four goals at halftime and finishing them 10th with 12 points.

Sassuolo made it out of the relegation zone with a 3-1 win against newly promoted Venezia, which puts them in 12th place with 11 points.

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