Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty but Ante Rebic turned in the rebound as AC Milan beat Bologna 2-1 on Saturday to move five points clear on top of Serie A.
Milan got back winning after consecutive losses to Atalanta in the league and crashing in the Italian Cup to city rivals Inter on Tuesday, a game in which Ibrahimovic was sent off.
Stefano Pioli’s side pulled clear of second-placed Inter who later host 11th-placed Benevento, with champions Juventus 10 points off top spot with a game in hand before their trip to midtable Sampdoria.
“It was a strong response from the team. We played the match we needed. Now we have a week to prepare for the next, which we haven’t had until now,” said Pioli.
Despite numerous chances Ibrahimovic drew a blank for consecutive games for the first time this season.
Bologna keeper Łukasz Skorupski made a double early save off the Swede and Alessio Romagnoli early.
The visitors got their first chance when Mitchell Dijks fouled Rafael Leao with Ibrahimovic stepping up.
But the 39-year-old’s poor record from the spot this season continued with his fourth penalty miss in all competitions.
Rebic was on hand to fire in off Skorupski’s clearance.
And Franck Kessie took Milan’s second penalty opportunity 10 minutes after the break following an Adama Soumaoro handball.
The Ivorian made no mistake past Skorupski.
Substitute Andrea Poli pulled a goal back for 13th-placed Bologna against his former club with nine minutes to go.
Milan could thank goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma for their three points, denying Roberto Soriano’s diving header a minute later and a late charge from Bologna.