Rebic fires resurgent AC Milan into Europa League places

MILAN (AFP) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up Ante Rebic to score the only goal as AC Milan beat Brescia 1-0 to claim a third consecutive Serie A win for the first time this season on Friday night.

Ibrahimovic missed a chance in front of goal before the break but provided the cross after 71 minutes that allowed substitute Rebic to finish off his third goal in two games.

Milan have taken 10 points in four games since Ibrhimovic’s return to the club this month.

Stefano Pioli’s side move up to sixth position into the Europa League berths and seven points adrift of the Champions League places.

“It wasn’t a beautiful Milan, but a winner,” said Pioli.

AC Milan forward Ante Rebic applauds at the end of the match against Brescia. PHOTO: AFP

“We can play better, but we had a great attitude, now we know how to suffer. We must continue like this.”

Milan are on a run of four consecutive wins including the Italian Cup, and next play Torino on Tuesday for a place in the semi-finals.

“We’re recovering,” continued Pioli. “We’re a completely different team now both on the pitch and in attitude.

“Ibra is an added value, both on and off the field. But the whole team has been good at turning things around after the violent fall in Bergamo (5-0 defeat to Atalanta).”

Italy forward Mario Balotelli was suspended for hosts Brescia against his former club.

Brescia had their chances with Sandro Tonali and Ernesto Torregrossa threatening Gianluigi Donnarumma in the Milan goal.

Ibrahimovic missed a chance five minutes before the break sending a Theo Hernandez cross wide on front of goal.

But the 38-year-old controlled a Hakan Calhanoglu pass sending through at an angle with Rebic, who came on 13 minutes earlier, pouncing to finish off amid confusion in front of goal.

The Croatian forward had already scored his first two goals for Milan last weekend against Udinese.

Samu Castillejo had a goal ruled out with seven minutes to go because of Ibrahimovic’s offside position in the build-up with Hernandez clipping the crossbar.

Donnarumma dived to deny Emanuele Ndoj an equaliser as Brescia piled forward in search of the equaliser but they remain second from bottom of the league.