Red-hot Rebic and Calhanoglu strike late
Paulo Fonseca's Roma were unable to make it four Serie A wins in a row as Ante Rebic and Hakan Calhanoglu scored late goals.
Ante Rebic's eighth Serie A goal of 2020 and a late penalty from Hakan Calhanoglu dented Roma's top-four hopes as Milan claimed a 2-0 Serie A win at San Siro.
The Giallorossi were seeking four successive top-flight victories for the first time all season but hot and humid conditions in Milan seemed to sap them of any creativity.
Edin Dzeko missed the target with a close-range header in the first half and the contest was heading for a dour draw until Rebic popped up with the opening goal 14 minutes from time to continue his fine form since the turn of the year.
Theo Hernandez was then tripped in the box by Chris Smalling with two minutes to go, allowing Calhanoglu to make sure of the points with an emphatic penalty
Both sides were slow to get going but it was Roma who eventually seized some sort of control.
Dzeko really should have scored with a header when unmarked six yards out but he could only flick Justin Kluivert's deflected cross wide.
It was a similar story at the other end when Calhanoglu nodded off target from Hernandez's delivery, with the presence of Antonio Mirante possibly putting the Milan man off.
Milan failed to register a single shot on target in the first half but they twice worked Mirante in quick succession midway through the second period following the introduction of Lucas Paqueta and Alexis Saelemaekers from the bench.
Calhanoglu got behind the Roma defence via a one-two with Saelemaekers but Mirante denied the Turkish midfielder with his legs before pushing away an effort from Paqueta.
A Milan goal did eventually come, though, after Davide Zappacosta gave the ball away to Rebic in his own half.
Mirante saved from Franck Kessie and then diverted Rebic's first attempt onto the post but the in-form forward rifled the rebound into the roof of the net.
Hernandez's driving run then paid off when he reached the ball before Smalling, and Calhanoglu converted his penalty to give Milan breathing space.
What does it mean? Top four a tall order for Roma
Fonseca's side still have Atalanta in their sights but the team currently occupying fourth won their fifth league match in a row by beating title contenders Lazio on Thursday.
Roma can therefore not afford any slip-ups, and this was a damaging result for their Champions League aspirations as they failed to close the gap to three points.
Rebic finds a way through
Chances were few and far between in this one and, though he squandered the first opportunity that came his way, Rebic made amends with the rebound.
After a slow start to life at San Siro, the former Eintracht Frankfurt star has come alive and has scored eight of their 18 Serie A goals – 44 per cent - in 2020.
Oh no, Dzeko
While Rebic was ruthless with his finishing, Dzeko was unusually wasteful when opportunity knocked early on.
The ex-Manchester City striker has scored four times against Milan in Serie A but he failed to make that five on an afternoon when he won only a third of his aerial duels and was taken off.
Milan have a midweek trip to SPAL before visiting Lazio while Roma host Udinese on Thursday prior to a trip to Napoli on Sunday.
- Journalist at JJA Sport Studio: Football / Soccer
- Leader columnist department