Hakan Calhanoglu and Jack Bonaventura efforts from the edge of the box gave Milan a much-needed victory at the Stadio Dall’Ara.
The Rossoneri had just four stalemates from their last six rounds going into this fixture and had slipped down to seventh place, so even their Europa League qualification was at risk. Coach Gennaro Gattuso was so furious at their home defeat to relegated Benevento that he cancelled a planned two days off. Lucas Biglia joined Alessio Romagnoli and Andrea Conti on the treatment table, but Hakan Calhanoglu returned. Bologna were comfortably mid-table, though missed Mattia Destro, Filip Helander and Godfred Donsah.
Milan’s last defeat at the Stadio Dall’Ara was in 2002, followed by eight wins and three stalemates.
Riccardo Orsolini’s header bounced off the upright and Rodrigo Palacio turned in the rebound, but the offside flag was up.
The Rossoneri found a breakthrough with their first chance of the game, as Patrick Cutrone knocked down the ball to the edge of the box for Hakan Calhanoglu’s daisy-cutter into the far bottom corner.
Gianluigi Donnarumma needed all his height to keep out an Ibrahima Mbaye header with his fingertips.
Bologna thought they had equalised with an Orsolini strike after Milan failed to clear their lines, but after viewing it on VAR, the referee decided to disallow for handball. It was a 50-50 situation, as Davide Calabria arguably kicked it on to Palacio’s hand from close range.
Instead, Milan doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time. Erick Pulgar’s awful back-pass was a gift to the Rossoneri and eventually came to Jack Bonaventura, who fired in the angled drive after turning Adam Nagy inside out.
Cutrone came close to a third, his shot from the edge of the box smacking against the upright and Suso unable to turn in the rebound. Suso wasted another huge chance when ballooning over relatively undisturbed, then he squirmed between two defenders to roll across only for Cutrone to scuff the finish straight at Mirante.
They were almost made to pay, as Palacio’s strike was deflected just wide and La Trenza’s effort from a Verdi corner was cleared off the line by Davide Calabria.
Bonaventura thought he’d completed his brace, but the strike bounced off the top of the bar. They were made to pay for all those errors, as Bologna did get one back through Sebastien De Maio’s header on a Verdi assist.
Donnarumma had to deny Mbaye an equaliser from point-blank range and Milan held on under pressure for the final moments.
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