MILAN (AFP) – Japanese international Keisuke Honda scored a late free-kick to help seal the points for AC Milan in a 2-0 win over Chievo at the San Siro on Saturday as the Rossoneri ended their three-game winless run.
Milan hosted the Verona-based side looking to get back to winning ways after two successive draws, against Cesena and Empoli, and a 1-0 home defeat to Juventus last month.
A mis-hit volley from Sulley Muntari gave Milan the lead 10 minutes after the restart and as Chievo pressed for a late equaliser, Honda settled nerves with a well-struck curler which beat Chievo ‘keeper Francesco Bardi at his near post in the 78th minute. Milan’s third win of the season moved them up to provisional fifth place, four points behind leaders Juventus who host second-placed Roma in a top-of-the-table clash in Turin on Sunday. Having endured a mitigated first season at Milan, Honda has been on fire this season.
Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi hailed the Japan star, but admitted his side still have to work on limiting the threat of counter-attacks. Television pictures appeared to show Chievo should have been awarded a penalty when Milan defender Alex fouled Maxi Lopez in the box, and Eugenio Corini lashed out: “It was a foul on Maxi, no doubt. It can be annoying when you’re not given a penalty award.
Inzaghi gave Fernando Torres his full debut at the San Siro but it was a frustrating night for the former Chelsea striker, who was replaced by Stephan El Sharaawy with around 15 minutes remaining.
Torres saw an early chance go wide when his first-timer from Honda’s lay-off came off the foot of Giacomo Bonaventura to sail just wide, but chances were few and far between for the Spaniard.