The champions have closed the deficit on Napoli, who play Inter Milan in the day’s final game at the San Siro, to 36 points thanks to goals from Rafael Leao and Sandro Tonali in the first half in Salerno.
In addition, Milan has a five-point advantage over third-placed Juventus going into their encounter against struggling Cremonese.
Mid-table Salernitana’s Federico Bonazzoli scored with seven minutes left to play after new goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made numerous saves to prevent Milan from winning by a bigger margin at the Stadio Arechi.
After the game Tonali told Sky:
“We were almost perfect because we could have scored one or two more goals to win more comfortably.”
“We’re aware of the importance of what we did last season, we’ll defend the title to the last bead of sweat we’ll leave on the pitch.”
In the absence of the injured Luigi Sepe, veteran Mexican international Ochoa, who has 17 points, made his debut for the southern Italian club last month.
Leao was initially stopped by Ochoa in a one-on-one situation before the Portugal international rolled in his goal in the 10th minute after skipping past the 37-year-old.
In the 15th minute, just seconds before Tonali scored his second goal of the year and doubled the advantage for the opposition, he also stopped Tonali’s curling attempt.
In the following minutes, just after the halfway point, Milan should have added more goals, but Ochoa made some astute saves to deny Olivier Giroud and Theo Hernandez—the latter of whom ought to have done better with his sloppy one-on-one finish.
With eight minutes left, Ochoa made a sensational double stop from France forward Giroud and Charles De Ketelaere after Brahim Diaz’s third goal for Milan was disallowed for offside.
Then, to give the home team some hope, Federico Bonazzoli smashed in Lassana Coulibaly’s deep cross in the following seconds. Ochoa, however, was the busier of the two goalies as Milan easily held out to earn the points.
Sampdoria defeated Sassuolo 2-1 thanks to a fantastic bicycle kick goal from Manolo Gabbiadini, giving them just their second victory of the year. In the 25th minute, Gabbiadini hooked in Samp’s first goal.
Three minutes later, Tommaso Augello scored the game-winning goal to pull his club to within four points of Spezia, who are currently narrowly outside the relegation zone and are hosting Atalanta.