AC Milan secure crucial victory over Lazio but are dealt Rafael Leao injury blow

The Champions League battle in Serie A is just getting tighter and tighter with AC Milan taking early control over an abject Lazio side. It was not all good news for the Rossoneri, though, with Rafael Leao going off injured.

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AC Milan were in serious need of a victory when they took on Lazio at San Siro on Serie A Matchday 34 as they were slowly drifting out of the Champions League qualification fight.

Stefano Pioli’s side had fallen into another abject run of form but they impressively picked themselves up to grab an early lead against a Lazio side who are now finding themselves in some concerning form at the wrong time of the season.

The margins are so fine in the top four race and the Matchday 34 clash between the two sides was a perfect example of how hard things can be to predict.

Theo Hernandez celebrates for AC Milan. [@acmilan]

AC Milan finally win, but Leao is a concern

Milan had been limping to a disappointing end to the domestic campaign, having drawn four of their last five Serie A outings and putting up a pretty disastrous defence of their Serie A title.

In their previous two fixtures with Cremonese and AS Roma they were rescued by injury-time goals from Junior Messias and Alexis Saelemaekers respectively, while Bologna were much the better side during another 1-1 stalemate on Matchday 30 and Milan sent spectators to sleep during a goalless draw with Empoli to begin this terrible run of form.

Ahead of a crucial Champions League semi-final first leg against Inter, the Rossoneri knew that they needed not only three points, but also a big performance. They got the work done early in the first half with goals from Ismael Bennacer and Theo Hernandez. The latter was a superb strike.

There was a major undertone of concern during much of the game, though, as after just 11 minutes, Rafael Leao had to be withdrawn with what seemed to be an abductor injury. The fans will be eagerly awaiting any update on Leao’s fitness because if he is out of the Champions League first leg, it is a very different tie.

AC Milan’s Olivier Giroud celebrates. [@acmilan]

Lazio’s impressive campaign at risk

This was a surprisingly abject display given how impressive Lazio have performed against their Scudetto chasing rivals this season, with only newly crowned champions Napoli having taken more points from fixtures against the current top seven sides in Serie A, with the Biancocelesti winning 21 points from 12 matches.

Much of that success has been underpinned by displays away from the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, having kept the most clean sheets away from home in Europe’s top five leagues – 11 in 16 games. That is another exhibitor as to why the display away at Milan was so out of keeping with the standards they have set all season long.

Whilst they remain in second place, they seem to have missed the chance to set themselves apart from the other Champions League qualification chasers. They are right in the thick of the fight with everyone else.

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