Krzysztof Piatek scored one and set up another for Samu Castillejo, while Theo Hernandez hit a thunderbolt, as Milan swept SPAL aside 3-0 in the Coppa Italia.
The winners go on to face Torino in the Quarter-Finals on January 28.
The Rossoneri opened their Coppa Italia campaign at San Siro, leaving Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael Leao on the bench, as Ante Rebic received a rare start with debutant Simon Kjaer having just completed his loan move from Sevilla, via Atalanta. Gianluigi Donnarumma had a slight muscular injury, so his older brother Antonio stepped in. SPAL gave new buy Bryan Dabo his debut in midfield, with ex-Milan players Bartosz Salamon and Alberto Paloschi.
Ismael Bennacer hit a rocket just wide from a good 25 metres out, while Samu Castillejo had a huge chance when sent clear on goal by Rebic, but hesitated and allowed Etrit Berisha to rush out and make the block.
It was Piatek who broke the deadlock when he sprung the offside trap on Bennacer’s pass and kept his cool to beat on-rushing Berisha from just inside the penalty area.
Piatek pulled back for Castillejo, who was denied by a crunching Igor tackle in the box, but the Spaniard did get his goal on the stroke of half-time.
Piatek provided the assist and Castillejo picked his spot with a magnificent left-foot curler into the far top corner. It was his first goal of the season, as he is relishing the new 4-4-2 formation.
It should’ve been 3-0 straight after the restart, as Ante Rebic shrugged off Nenad Tomovic to roll across for Piatek, but he fired straight at the goalkeeper. The Poland international wasted another great chance when clear on goal, allowing Tomovic to get back for the block, and Rebic hesitated too long too.
Suso was introduced to loud jeers from the crowd and Rebic wasted another chance, but Theo Hernandez showed how it’s done with a rocket from the edge of the box.
Antonio Donnarumma had just one real save to make in the entire match and that was an acrobatic denial of Alessandro Murgia’s free header from six yards at the 85th minute.
SPAL were awarded a very harsh penalty for Lucas Paqueta charging down a shot with his elbow, but his arm was flush to his torso as he came sliding in, so under the current guidelines should not have been considered handball. Inevitably, the referee changed his mind after the VAR on-field review.
Milan 3-0 SPAL
Piatek 20 (M), Castillejo 44 (M), Theo Hernandez 66 (M)
Milan: A Donnarumma; Conti, Kjaer (Gabbia 82), Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Castillejo (Suso 64), Krunic, Bennacer, Bonaventura (Paqueta 75); Piatek, Rebic
SPAL: Berisha; Tomovic (Salamon 65), Vicari, Igor; Murgia, Jankovic (Valoti 72), Dabo (Zanchetta 85), Strefezza, Tunjov; Paloschi, Floccari
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://www.premiersports.com/subscribenow