Krzysztof Piatek has taken centre-stage in the Coppa Italia Round of 16 tie with SPAL, scoring one and assisting Samu Castillejo as Milan lead 2-0 at half-time.
The winners go on to face Torino in the Quarter-Finals on January 28.
The Rossoneri opened their Coppa Italia campaign at San Siro, leaving Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael Leao on the bench, as Ante Rebic received a rare start with debutant Simon Kjaer having just completed his loan move from Sevilla, via Atalanta. Gianluigi Donnarumma had a slight muscular injury, so his older brother Antonio stepped in. SPAL gave new buy Bryan Dabo his debut in midfield, with ex-Milan players Bartosz Salamon and Alberto Paloschi.
Ismael Bennacer hit a rocket just wide from a good 25 metres out, while Samu Castillejo had a huge chance when sent clear on goal by Rebic, but hesitated and allowed Etrit Berisha to rush out and make the block.
It was Piatek who broke the deadlock when he sprung the offside trap on Bennacer’s pass and kept his cool to beat on-rushing Berisha from just inside the penalty area.
Piatek pulled back for Castillejo, who was denied by a crunching Igor tackle in the box, but the Spaniard did get his goal on the stroke of half-time.
Piatek provided the assist and Castillejo picked his spot with a magnificent left-foot curler into the far top corner. It was his first goal of the season, as he is relishing the new 4-4-2 formation.
Milan 2-0 SPAL (Half-Time)
Piatek 20 (M), Castillejo 44 (M)
Milan: A Donnarumma; Conti, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Castillejo, Krunic, Bennacer, Bonaventura; Piatek, Rebic
SPAL: Berisha; Salamon, Vicari, Tomovic, Strefezza, Murgia, Tunjov, Dabo, Igor, Jankovic; Paloschi, Floccari
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Football Italia staff