AC Milan won 2-1 at Salernitana on Wednesday to resume the Serie A season by closing to within five points of league leaders Napoli.
First-half strikes from Rafael Leao and Sandro Tonali in Salerno moved the champions up to 36 points, closing the gap on Napoli who face Inter Milan at the San Siro in the day’s late match.
Milan are also five points ahead of third-placed Juventus ahead of their match at struggling Cremonese.
Federico Bonazzoli pulled a goal back with seven minutes remaining for mid-table Salernitana after new goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made a host of saves to deny Milan a wider margin of victory at the Stadio Arechi.
“We were almost perfect because we could have scored one or two more goals to win more comfortably,” Tonali told Sky.
“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.”
Veteran Mexico international Ochoa moved to the southern Italian club, on 17 points, last month and made his first start in the absence of the injured Luigi Sepe.
Ochoa kept out Leao with an early one-on-one stop before the Portugal international rolled in his 10th-minute opener after skipping round the 37-year-old.
He also saved Tonali’s curling effort just seconds before the Italy midfielder lashed in first time to double the away side’s lead with his second of the season in the 15th minute.