Olivier Giroud’s early strike earned AC Milan a narrow 1-0 win over Torino on Tuesday to send Stefano Pioli’s side top of the Serie A standings.
In an otherwise uneventful first half, Giroud, starting in place of another veteran Milan forward – Zlatan Ibrahimovic – tapped home his fourth Serie A goal of the season for what proved to be the winner in the 14th minute.
Torino striker Andrea Belotti, making his first start for the club since August having recovered from injury, had the visitors’ best chance to level in the second half but missed his kick with the goal at his mercy.
Milan goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu preserved his side’s lead late on with a fine save to deny Torino substitute Antonio Sanabria as the hosts opened up a three-point gap at the top of the table over Napoli, who host Bologna on Thursday.
“I think we played a good game,” Giroud told DAZN. “Torino are a strong team, they are aggressive in the tackle.
“I am very happy because we did well from the start and Torino didn’t really threaten many scoring opportunities. That means we’ve been very solid at the back and we take the three points, that’s the most important thing.
“We play every three days, that’s not easy on the body. Everything was not perfect.”
Milan have now won nine of the first 10 Serie A matches of a season for the first time since the 1954/55 campaign.
Salernitana moved off the bottom of the table as they snatched a 2-1 win at 10-man Venezia for Stefano Colantuono’s first victory in charge.
Salernitana again conceded early as Mattia Aramu fired Venezia in front in the 14th minute, but Federico Bonazzoli leveled in the 61st minute. Matters went from bad to worse for the home team seven minutes later when Ethan Ampadu was shown a red card.
Andrea Schiavone drilled home the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time for his first ever Serie A goal.
Salernitana moved a point above Cagliari and onto level points with 18th-placed Genoa. They are a point from safety after Genoa drew 1-1 at Spezia.