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Serie A: Milan defeat Lecce to boost top four hopes

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AC Milan 2-0 Lecce: Serie A
AC Milan forward Rafael Leao celebrates after scoring in the Serie A match against Lecce. | PHOTO: Sky |
  • AC Milan hosted Lecce at the San Siro in a Serie A clash on Sunday evening
  • Milan needed a win to bolster their hopes of finishing in the top four this season
  • A double from Rafael Leao ensured Milan eased past the visitors on Sunday

Rafael Leao scored a lethal double as AC Milan returned to winning ways in Serie A and improved their chances of qualifying for the Champions League with a 2-0 victory against Lecce.

Stefano Pioli’s side advanced to the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Napoli, although their recent domestic league play had been disappointing.

The Rossoneri had only won one of their previous six league games, but Leao scored in both half on Sunday at San Siro to break their losing streak against their relegation-threatened opponents.

After the Bianconeri’s 15-point deduction was reversed, Milan went level on points with fourth-placed Roma, who face Atalanta on Monday, and three behind Juventus.

Wladimiro Falcone deflected Sandro Tonali’s early 25-yard drive before Theo Hernandez thought he had gained a penalty for Milan.

After a Federico Baschirotto tackles on Hernandez, Daniele Chiffi was directed to the spot, only for the referee to overrule his decision after consulting the VAR and touchline monitor.

Lameck Banda of Lecce missed a golden 19th-minute opportunity by heading onto the left post from close range, and Milan punished him five minutes later.

Tonali crossed towards the back post, where Leao towered above Valentin Gendrey to head into the left corner thanks to an ingenious short-corner routine.

Leao wastefully chipped over after 73 minutes, but he made amends a minute later with a fine individual run and a low left-footed drive that went in off the right post.

Milan avoid hangover in Serie A after Champions League triumph over Napoli

Milan battled to a 1-1 draw against Napoli to earn their first Champions League last-four spot since 2007, and they avoided any previously usual indicators of a slump in form following that triumph.


The Rossoneri had drawn their previous two league games following a Champions League encounter, as well as three stalemates in their previous five Serie A fixtures, but Pioli’s team were excellent value for victory over Lecce.

AC Milan 2-0 Lecce Serie A 2023 | 04/23/2023 - Rafael Leao

AC Milan players celebrate after Rafael Leao scored against Lecce in the Serie A on Sunday, April 23 2023. | PHOTO: AC Milan |

However, there is still a chance that Milan will not compete in UEFA’s top club competition next season, since they must either defeat Roma or Juventus, or both, or win this year’s Champions League outright.

ALSO READ: Champions League: AC Milan takes a slender lead over Napoli

Leao was a central figure to Milan’s Scudetto success last season, attracting interest from the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.

The Milan winger became just the second Portuguese player to hit the 10-goal mark in two consecutive Serie A campaigns, after Cristiano Ronaldo did so for Juve three seasons in a row between 2018-19 and 2020-21.

Milan faces Roma on Saturday in a crucial clash in the top-four race, while Lecce hosts Udinese the day before.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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