Milan edge Fiorentina 2-1 on emotional night in Florence


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AC Milan beat Fiorentina 2-1 away to consolidate second place in Serie A on Saturday at the Artemio Franchi stadium, the home side's first game since the death of director Joe Barone.

Milan have 65 points, six clear of third-placed Juventus who lost 1-0 at Lazio, with leaders Inter Milan, who welcome Empoli on Monday, 11 points ahead. Fiorentina are 10th on 43 points.

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After a scoreless opening half the game picked up after the break when the visitors broke the deadlock inside two minutes through Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Fiorentina responded in the 50th with Alfred Duncan scoring from distance.

Three minutes later Milan reclaimed the lead, and Rafael Leão's goal was the difference between the sides.

A minute's silence, impeccably observed by both sets of fans, preceded the game in memory of Barone, who died on March 19, with his seat in the stands left empty apart from flowers and a Fiorentina jersey with his name on the back.

Milan created the early chances, with Olivier Giroud striking from close range into the arms of goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano, who did well to push away a header from Samuel Chukwueze.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek's goal set AC Milan on the path to victory against Fiorentina.
Claudio Villa/AC Milan via Getty Images

Fiorentina, perhaps suffering from the emotion of the occasion, took almost half an hour to get going, and forward Andrea Belotti should have done better when one-on-one with the keeper but his effort flew straight at Mike Maignan.

Leao had a close-range effort saved by Terracciano when a pass across to the unmarked Chukwueze in front of goal may have been the better option.

Milan broke the deadlock with a clever back heel across goal by Leao falling to Loftus-Cheek who had plenty of time after a slip by Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic and tucked the ball into the empty net.

Fiorentina hit back immediately, with Lucas Beltran passing to Duncan whose fierce shot from distance hit the far bottom corner of Maignan's goal.

The home crowd's joy was short-lived however. Tijjani Reijnders' pass found Leao, who ghosted through Fiorentina's defence and rounded the keeper before rolling the ball home.

Terracciano made another fine save to keep out Alessandro Florenzi's shot from the edge of the area and, with Fiorentina searching for an equaliser, Maignan was called into action by Belotti and Rolando Mandragora.

The last chance for Fiorentina came in added time but a weak header from substitute Nicolas Gonzalez was never going to trouble the keeper and Milan came away with all three points.