AC Milan snatched a last gasp winner against Fiorentina to seal a 2-1 victory at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Serie A on Sunday.
Rafael Leao had put the champions ahead with less than two minutes played, but Stefano Pioli’s side were unconvincing and Fiorentina drew level through Antonin Barak in the first half.
Just as it looked as though the game was heading for a costly draw for Milan, they went ahead deep in stoppage time as a looping Aster Vranckx cross hit Nikola Milenkovic and went in.
It took the Rossoneri just two minutes to race into the lead, as Leao latched onto a deflected Olivier Giroud pass to sprint into the box and coolly slot the ball beyond Pietro Terracciano and into the far corner.
Fiorentina looked to hit back immediately and Arthur Cabral had seen a low shot saved, Barak found space and cut back for Cristiano Biraghi, but his strike came back off the post.
The Viola weren’t to be denied for long though, and drew level before the half hour mark when Barak collected the ball after it had ricocheted in the box, and drilled in via a deflection.
After Fiorentina had looked the likeliest to take the lead, Milan had a fine chance of their own in the second half as Giroud met a Kalulu cross at the far post and forced an excellent stop.
Milan goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarasanu was alert to deny a Kalulu own goal after the defender inexplicably stabbed a loose pass into the box back towards his keeper. The Romanian lunged down to palm the ball around the post and spare his teammate’s blushes.
At the other end, Giroud rose up to meet a Leao cross with an acrobatic overhead kick, but he sliced his effort just wide.
The Rossoneri ought to have gone ahead late on when Leao was left in acres of space in the box, but the Portuguese somehow scooped over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
However, it was Fiorentina who looked like they were going to snatch the points at the death as Jonathan Ikone met a lofted cross and fired home, only for Fikayo Tomori to block on the line.
With the match heading for a draw, Vranckx’s cross evaded Terracciano and deflected off defender Milenkovic for a desperate own goal, after a lengthy VAR check.
Milan cling on in Scudetto race
Napoli’s stunning form in the first half of the season has made them favourites to win a first Scudetto since 1990, although Milan have not given up hoping of defending their title.
The Rossoneri had hit a poor spell of form at the wrong time after just one win in their last three matches, and looked to be set for more dropped points in the final game of 2022.
A last-gasp own goal keeps the deficit to Napoli at eight points, allowing Pioli the winter break to focus his team on a push to claw back the Partenopei after Christmas.