AC Milan sent out a powerful message to fellow Serie A title contenders with a convincing 3-0 victory against their third-placed Napoli at the San Siro.
A win for the visitors would have drawn them level with the Rossoneri at the top of the standings but second-half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimović, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Pato instead lifted Massimiliano Allegri’s men five points clear of closest challengers Inter Milan.
Napoli appeared nervous in the opening 45 minutes and were fortunate to make it to half-time on level terms but the home side were more clinical in the second period. Mark van Bommel saw an early effort pushed away by Morgan De Sanctis but moments later Salvatore Aronica was penalised for handball in the area and Ibrahimović scored from the penalty.
Pato, a constant menace all evening, was denied from the edge of area by De Sanctis with the goalkeeper then thwarting Robinho’s point-blank effort. Substitute Boateng finally claimed the second after 77 minutes after being teed up by Pato, and the Brazilian rounded off a resounding victory with a sumptuous third from 20 metres two minutes later.
This was a huge win for AC Milan, especially as they play Juventus and Tottenham in their next two games. Inter push pressure on them by winning yesterday, but Milan answered in style today. Against Napoli they looked very much like the team that is going to win its first Scudetto since 2005.