Leonardo Bonucci made the most of an Alex Cordaz howler to give Milan a hard-fought victory over Crotone.
Both sides were in dire need of a boost to climb the table after a poor first half to the season. The hosts missed Ignazio Abate, Marco Storari, Gabriel Paletta and Andrea Conti, but Nikola Kalinic was on the bench again after his ankle injury, so Patrick Cutrone started once more. Crotone had lost six of the previous seven rounds, but were only marginally beaten by leaders Napoli last time out. Andrea Nalini, Daniel Pavlovic, Stefan Simic and Marco Tumminello didn’t make the trip.
When these sides met in Week 1, Federico Ceccherini was sent off after four minutes, so the contest never really got going in a 3-0 result at the Stadio Scida. Crotone have never beaten the Rossoneri, managing a 1-1 draw and three losses between Serie A and the Coppa Italia.
The Diavolo poured forward from the start with determination, but not a great deal of accuracy, seeing numerous shots charged down.
Alex Cordaz used his legs to parry a Hakan Calhanoglu angled drive, while Franck Kessie blasted over. Milan dominated the match, but weren’t making all of that pressure count in the form of goals or even particularly clear-cut chances.
They were getting closer towards half-time, as Cordaz flew to palm away a Lucas Biglia chest and volley from the edge of the box.
Moments later, Suso’s cross-shot was flicked on by Jack Bonaventura, but somehow Cordaz fingertipped it on to the inside of the woodwork and it bounced back out.
Milan were also angry as Federico Ceccherini brought down Cutrone right on the edge of the area, but the referee waved play on.
The Rossoneri finally broke through with a bizarre incident, as Cordaz flapped a corner, sending it on to Leonardo Bonucci’s head to ricochet into the net. The defender seemingly didn’t know much about the situation.
Cordaz did make up for it by fingertipping a Bonaventura scorcher over the bar, and on the resulting corner Kessie fired in, but only after he had fouled Rolando Mandragora.
Gianluigi Donnarumma made his first save of the game on 70 minutes, getting down for a one-handed block to turn Marcello Trotta’s angled drive off target.
Suso curled wide and Calhanoglu scuffed from 10 yards, but Donnarumma was alert to rush off his line and close down Simy. Deep into stoppages, Nikola Kalinic had the ball in the net, but play had been halted for a push.