Brahim Diaz scored his first goal for Milan as they claimed a 2-0 Serie A win away to Crotone on Sunday.
Franck Kessie opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half before Brahim struck early in the second to secure a fourth win in four games in all competitions in 2020-21.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was again absent after testing positive for coronavirus on Thursday, but Stefano Pioli’s men were in control throughout at Stadio Ezio Scida as they stretched their unbeaten Serie A run to 14 matches.
There was a blow for Milan, though, who saw Ante Rebic leave the pitch in the second half with a nasty arm injury sustained after he tripped and fell.
Milan’s early control of possession yielded little in terms of chances, although a header from Simon Kjaer bounced off the turf and then the crossbar from Hakan Calhanoglu’s corner.
As the half moved into injury time, Rebic was felled by Luca Marrone in the penalty area and, after the forward escaped a possible handball following a VAR check, Kessie made no mistake with an emphatic finish from the spot.
Milan doubled their advantage just five minutes into the second half, Brahim finishing low on the turn after the ball fell kindly to him in the six-yard box at the end of a swift break involving Alexis Saelemaekers and Calhanoglu.
Crotone did not lack endeavour but Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal was rarely threatened as the Serie A newcomers slipped to a second successive defeat.
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) September 27, 2020
What does it mean? No Zlatan, no problem for Rossoneri
While the 3-2 win over Bodo/Glimt on Thursday was a little closer than Milan would have liked, this was an assured and controlled outing in Calabria.
Crotone did not manage a shot on target as the visitors eased to another victory and clean sheet and a fifth league game without defeat against this opposition.
Brahim building bridges
Not only did he score one of his two shots on target, Brahim also completed all but one of his 23 attempted passes, 15 of which were in the final third.
The Real Madrid loanee might have been on the fringes of things in the Spanish capital, but he is already at the heart of things in the Milan attack.
Can I be blunt?
Crotone’s starting attacking pair of Simy and Denis Dragus managed not one shot or chance created between them. Crotone will not last long in the top flight if they cannot start at least threatening a goal.
Key Opta Facts
– Milan have gone 17 matches unbeaten in all competitions (W13 D4) for the first time since March 1996, under Fabio Capello (27 in that case).
– Milan have scored in in 22 consecutive matches in Serie A for the first time since March 2009.
– Milan have won six matches in a row in all competitions for the first time since August 2017.
– Milan have won their first two games of a top-flight season without conceding a goal for the first time since 2002-03 under Carlo Ancelotti.
Milan head to Rio Ave in the Europa League play-offs on Thursday before hosting Spezia in Serie A three days later. Crotone head to Sassuolo next Saturday.