MILAN: Juraj Kucka and M’Baye Niang struck either side of half-time and Carlos Bacca added a flukey third as AC Milan moved up to third in Serie A with a 3-1 win at Chievo on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
Chievo had been among the early season pacesetters in Italy’s top flight, Rolando Maran’s men sitting among the top five after starting their campaign with a 2-0 home win over Inter Milan.
But the Flying Donkeys were brought back to earth with a bump with a first home defeat of the season that, for seven-time European champions Milan, revived ambitions of qualifying for continental football next season.
Milan’s fifth win of the campaign moved them up to third, behind Roma on goals difference, five points behind leaders and champions Juventus and two ahead of Napoli.
Montella left Colombian striker Carlos Bacca on the bench for the trip to Verona to give up and coming Gianluca Lapadula his chance.
But it was a 45th minute screamer from Kucka that had the visiting Rossoneri fans on their feet after the Slovakia midfielder pulled the trigger from just outside the area.
Niang added a second for the visitors immediately after the restart when he was sent through the middle to beat Stefano Sorrentino at his far post.
Milan should have added more but Niang and Lapadula were wasteful in front of goal, before Chievo chalked one back thanks to former Milan midfielder Valter Birsa’s 76th minute consolation.
Bacca came on for Niang in the final two minutes and twisted and turned his way through the Chievo defense before deciding to strike the ball with no apparent intent.
Fortunately for Milan, it took a wicked deflection off defender Dario Danielli and had a stranded Sorrentino scrambling to rescue, in vain, at his far post.