Verona, May 9 (BUS): A double from boy Sandro Tonali pushed Milan one step closer to their first Serie A title in 11 years after reclaiming the top spot with a 3-1 victory over Hellas Verona.
After Inter Milan temporarily advanced to the top of the standings with a 4-2 win over Empoli, the pressure on Stefano Pioli’s side and their victory over ninth-placed Verona put them two points clear at the top with two rounds left, Reuters reported.
“We were not up to anyone’s expectations (as contenders for the title). We are bringing back the fruits of our unfinished work,” Pioli told reporters.
“Before the match, Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) said something beautiful: ‘If we want them to remember us, we have three matches (to win).’ Now we have two.”
Milan dominated the first stages and had several chances to score, but it was Verona who drained the blood for the first time in the 38th minute when she found a crucial pass on Darko Lazovic, who hit a cross from his colleague Davide Varoni.
But Milan refused to give up and at the end of the first half, Rafael Leao – who fired after receiving a yellow card – danced inside the penalty area and cut the ball back for 22-year-old Tonali to score from close range.
The duo met again four minutes into the first half with a counter-attack from Milan, with Liao sprinting past a flailing Verona defense before turning a low cross into an empty net by Tonali.
Alessandro Florenzi, who came on as a late substitute, scored the three points when the full-back found space to run inside the penalty area and fired a powerful half ball past the goalkeeper in the bottom corner.
Earlier, bottom club Venice beat Bologna 4-3 after Dennis Johnson scored a thrilling 93rd-minute win in the top corner to end a 10-game losing streak and give the team hope of surviving relegation.
Venezia is five points behind Salertina, who is 17th, who drew 1-1 with Cagliari. Atalanta beat its host Spezia 3-1 to equalize 59 points with sixth-placed Roma, who has a game in hand.