Milan close gap on Inter with comfortable win at Verona

Soccer Football - Serie A - Hellas Verona v AC Milan - Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona, Italy - March 7, 2021 AC Milan's Rade Krunic in action with Hellas Verona's Davide Faraoni REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

VERONA, Italy (Reuters) - Spectacular goals either side of half time earned AC Milan an important 2-0 victory at Hellas Verona on Sunday, as Stefano Pioli's side closed the gap on rivals Inter Milan at the top of the Serie A standings to three points.

Without injured top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was watching from the stands, Milan went ahead in the 27th minute when Rade Krunic fired a stunning free kick into the net -- the Bosnian's first league goal for Milan.

The visitors' second, five minutes into the second half, was just as impressive, as Diogo Dalot arrowed his first Serie A goal since joining on loan from Manchester United into the top corner.

Milan saw out just a second win in their last seven games in all competitions to move on to 56 points, three behind Inter, who are in action against Atalanta on Monday, and four ahead of third-placed Juventus, who have a game in hand. Verona stay eighth.

With Inter hitting top gear in recent weeks, it was crucial for Milan to close the gap at the top after they dropped two points in their midweek draw at home to Udinese.

The injury-hit title-chasers looked blunt in attack early on in Verona, however, and it required something special from Krunic to edge Pioli's side in front, opening his Milan Serie A account in style.

Verona came into the contest in good form, unbeaten in their previous four league games, and continued to press, but the final pass deserted them time and again.

There were plenty of goals in the other afternoon kick-offs in Serie A, as Fiorentina and Parma played out a thrilling 3-3 draw while bottom side Crotone boosted their confidence with a 4-2 win over fellow strugglers Torino.

(Reporting by Peter Hall; editing by Clare Fallon)

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