Injury-hit Milan wins 2-0 at Verona to boost title hopes

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MILAN (AP)AC Milan boosted its title hopes by winning 2-0 at Hellas Verona in Serie A on Sunday despite missing a number of key players through injury.

Rade Krunic and Diogo Dalot scored for Milan, which moved to within three points of league leader Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri host Atalanta on Monday.

Second-place Milan is four points above Juventus and six above Roma in fourth. Juventus beat Lazio 3-1 on Saturday, while Roma beat Genoa 1-0 earlier Sunday.

Napoli was sixth after a 3-1 win over Bologna.

The win will boost Milan’s confidence ahead of the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 against Manchester United on Thursday. The Rossoneri had only won one of their previous six matches in any competition.

”We have shown that we are still up there and we still believe in ourselves,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. ”Playing so often helps you to also overcome slipups, we have always been balanced, even in evaluating our victories.

”We know how to deal with our defects and we know our strengths … now we’ll focus on the Europa League, on a really stimulating match in Manchester.”

Milan was desperate for a victory in Verona to put pressure on city rival Inter. But it was without a long list of injured players including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mario Mandzukic, Ante Rebic and Hakan Calhanoglu.

Milan’s injury problems seemed to get worse when Gianluigi Donnarumma appeared to pick up a knock early on and reserve goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu started warming up but Donnarumma was able to continue.

Krunic fired Milan in front in the 27th minute when he curled a magnificent free kick into the top right corner after he had been tripped by Verona defender Giangiacomo Magnani on the edge of the area.

Milan doubled its lead five minutes after the interval when Dalot finished a well-worked team move with a shot into the top left corner.

RACE FOR FOURTH

Gianluca Mancini’s bullet header helped Roma move back into the top four and the Champions League spots.

Mancini scored the only goal of the match in the 24th minute as Roma moved a point above fifth-place Atalanta.

Genoa remained seven points above the relegation zone after its second loss in three matches. It had only lost one of the previous 10 since Davide Ballardini replaced Rolando Maran as coach.

Roma dominated and broke the deadlock when Mancini rose highest in the middle of the area to head Lorenzo Pellegrini’s corner into the top right side of the net.

Roma almost doubled its lead in the 67th but Gonzalo Villar’s effort was deflected onto the right post by Genoa midfielder Ivan Radovanovic.

The hosts did have the ball in the back of the net shortly after. Pedro’s backheeled flick came off the left post and Borja Mayoral turned in the rebound but it was ruled out for a narrow offside.

Genoa fought hard for the equalizer until the end but struggled to create opportunities of note.

Napoli moved within three points of the Champions League places with its win over Bologna, getting two goals from Lorenzo Insigne and another from Victor Osimhen.

RELEGATION SCRAPS

Simy scored twice to help bottom club Crotone beat Torino 4-2 in a direct fight to avoid relegation.

It ended a seven-match losing streak for Crotone. It was also Serse Cosmi’s first win, in his second match since replacing Giovanni Stroppa as coach.

Crotone inched to within five points of 18th-place Torino. Fiorentina moved six points above the relegation zone after drawing 3-3 against 19th-place Parma.

Also, Radja Nainggolan scored an equalizer six minutes into injury time for Cagliari in a 2-2 draw with Sampdoria.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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