AC Milan back winning in Bologna to keep Europa League push alive

by Emmeline MOORE
AC Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu shows his appreciation for the club badge after opening the score in a precious 2-1 Serie A win at Bologna on Sunday

AC Milan returned to winning ways with a 2-1 success at Bologna keeping Gennaro Gattuso's side in the chase for European football next season.

Milan had dropped out of the Europa League places into seventh after a six-game winless streak including last week's shock defeat to bottom club Benevento.

But first-half goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Giacomo Bonaventura ensured Milan -- one point behind sixth-placed Atalanta, who beat Genoa 3-1 -- keep touch with the Europa League places.

"It was not easy after the week we've just had, the tension inside Milanello after the defeat to Benevento," said Gattuso.

"We hadn't won a match in 40 days and have done everything to complicate life.

"We've got to get back on our feet and some players who are struggling physically. We've got Verona next, then the Italian Cup final (May 9) against Juventus and then Atalanta. We can't drop points."

Turkish midfielder Calhanoglu, returning from a knee injury, latched onto a Patrick Cutrone cross after 34 minutes to put Milan on front at the Stadio Dall'Ara.

Riccardo Orsolini thought he had equalised for Bologna but the video assistant referee (VAR) disallowed the goal for a Rodrigo Palacio handball in the build-up.

Bonaventura doubled Milan's advantage going into the break after poor Bologna defending.

But Milan proved wasteful in the second half with Cutrone and Bonaventura both rattling the woodwork with Sebastien De Maio heading in for Bologna after 73 minutes.

Napoli travel to Fiorentina later Sunday looking to keep their title hopes alive after champions Juventus opened up a four-point lead on Saturday with a 3-2 win at Inter Milan.

Saturday's defeat damages Inter's hopes of Champions League football next season as they stay fifth behind Roma, third after beating Chievo 4-1, and Lazio who play Torino in Sunday's late match.

In the battle against relegation, SPAL moved out of the bottom three win a 3-1 win against Verona, who now look destined for the drop.

A late Bacary Sagna goal grabbed a 3-3 win for Benevento against Udinese, who had looked set to earn a first win under new coach Igor Tudor after a 12-match losing streak cost predecessor Massimo Oddo his job during the week.

Chievo, whose coach Rolando Maran was fired on Sunday, drop into the relegation zone with just three games to play.

Meanwhile, Marcello Trotta and Nigerian forward Simy scored a brace each as Crotone beat Sassuolo 4-1 to move away from the drop zone.

AC Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu shows his appreciation for the club badge after opening the score in a precious 2-1 Serie A win at Bologna on Sunday