Milan, February 18: Ante Rebic scored his sixth goal of 2020 as Milan claimed a first win in four in all competitions and climbed to eighth place in Serie A with a 1-0 victory over Torino on Monday (February 17).
In-form Rebic found his opportunities limited earlier in the season but has now scored in three consecutive games after strikes against Inter and, in the Coppa Italia, Juventus.
Unlike in those matches, Milan this time held onto their lead to secure a victory that boosts their hopes of a Europa League place.
Torino, who rarely threatened at San Siro, have a five-point cushion to the relegation places but have now suffered four consecutive defeats.
9 - AC Milan have gone unbeaten in nine home games in a row in all comps for the first time since January 2017, under Vincenzo Montella - they played the ninth match against Torino in that occasion too. Run.#MilanTorino #SerieA pic.twitter.com/n30PdtVKTTOptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) February 17, 2020
Milan put the visitors under pressure from the off, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic was integral to much of their approach play, holding the ball up to fashion a chance for Lucas Paqueta to see a low shot saved brilliantly by Salvatore Sirigu.
The hosts led after 25 minutes through Rebic, who got in front of his marker to meet Samu Castillejo's low cross and clipped a finish into the bottom-left corner of the net.
Ibrahimovic and Castillejo each fired wide from the right-hand side of the box shortly after the break, with the latter particularly wasteful, as Milan pressed for a second.
Torino began to show greater ambition as the second half wore on but struggled to find a way past a disciplined and organised Milan defence.
Alex Berenguer's free-kick was punched clear by Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Cristian Ansaldi could only slice the rebound wide.
Milan threatened on the counter-attack as Torino pressed yet Castillejo and Ibrahimovic were again guilty of wayward finishing, with Stefano Pioli's men forced to settle for a one-goal win.
What does it mean? Milan remain in European hunt
It has been a testing season for the Rossoneri, but securing Europa League football for next year could at least salvage something from the 2019-20 campaign. After getting back on the winning trail, Milan are behind sixth-placed Hellas Verona only on goal difference.
Red hot Rebic strikes again
Having spent much of the first half of the season on the bench, the Croatia international has become integral since the start of 2020. Ibrahimovic undoubtedly brings the stardust to Milan's attack but Rebic is more than playing his part.
Berenguer mistake proves costly
Berenguer worked Donnarumma in the second half, but a mistake from the winger before the break led to the only goal of the game. Rather than clear the ball in a defensive position, he tried to dribble his way out of trouble and squandered possession, allowing Castillejo to cross.
Milan have an away trip to Fiorentina in Serie A on Saturday (February 22), while Torino host Parma the following day.