Keisuke Honda had a splendid performance as Milan beat Genoa 2-1, scoring one and creating another for Carlos Bacca.
Jack Bonaventura returned to the fold, though Ignazio Abate and Juraj Kucka were sidelined, while the visitors missed Leonardo Pavoletti, Cristian Ansaldi and suspended Tomas Rincon. Tim Matavz was given his debut Serie A start. Gianluigi Donnarumma’s older brother Alfredo, also a goalkeeper, was on the Genoa bench.
The Grifone had won their last three meetings with Milan, home and away, including a 3-1 at San Siro in April 2015.
The Rossoneri got off to a blistering start, as within four minutes Keisuke Honda’s screamer had been palmed out of the near top corner by Mattia Perin. After the resulting corner, Honda did well to keep the ball in play and his cross was flicked on by M’Baye Niang for Carlos Bacca to lash home at the back post.
Perin rushed off his line to clear Luca Antonelli’s through ball off the feet of Bacca, but Genoa started to get into the game as the half wore on and their strikers just failed to meet a Gabriel Silva cross.
There was an exchange of loaners at half-time, as Alessio Cerci was greeted by San Siro jeers when replacing fellow ex-Milan man Suso.
Alessio Romagnoli nodded a corner wide, while Bonaventura’s strike was smothered, but Milan doubled their lead with a goal out of nowhere.
Honda was a good 25 metres out when he suddenly unleashed a scorching left-foot effort that surprised Perin to swerve in at the near bottom corner. It was the Japan international’s first Serie A goal since October 2014 and he celebrated by kissing the badge on his Milan shirt, dispelling talk he requested a transfer.
Moments later Perin prevented a third goal, charging down Bonaventura from point-blank range, then he was beaten by Riccardo Montolivo’s remarkable volley from the edge of the box on a corner only for it to thump the base of the upright. On the rebound Perin fingertipped away Bacca’s angled drive, but the Colombian was offside anyway.
Jeremy Menez made his first appearance in eight months to huge applause from San Siro.
Genoa did get a consolation goal with Cerci, who had already been jeered every time he touched the ball. The first thing Gigio Donnarumma had to do was get down to beat away a sudden Nicola Rigoni snapshot and Cerci was quicker to react on the rebound than the Milan defenders.