Kessie scores from the spot, misses penalty as Milan down Fiorentina

Ante Rebic Franck Kessie Rafael Leao Milan Juventus Serie A
The Ivorian stepped up to double the Rossoneri’s lead in Sunday afternoon’s showdown

Franck Kessie scored from the spot and missed a penalty on Sunday as AC Milan defeated Fiorentina 2-0 in Serie A.

The Rossoneri were already leading 1-0 following Alessio Romagnoli’s 17th-minute opener following a Kessie assist when Alexis Saelemaekers was brought down by German Pezzella in the Viola box 10 minutes later.

The visitors had struggled to deal with a through ball as they had pressed forward, and Kessie, taking penalty duties in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, duly stepped up from the spot to double the hosts’ lead, duping Bartlomiej Dragowski to extend Milan’s lead.

Kessie could have extended Milan’s advantage but missed another penalty when he again waited for Dragowski to move but the keeper held his nerve and correctly forecast that the Ivorian would go for the opposite side of the goal than he’d gone for with his first spot kick.

“We started very strongly, because Fiorentina are a good team,” Kessie told DAZN after the match. “We scored two goals early on.

“This is how penalties can go,” he added. “The first I scored, the second not, but I’ll still take the third.”

The win takes the hosts up to 23 points after nine matches so far this season, as they extend their undefeated streak.

Milan remain five points clear of second-placed Internazionale, who won 3-0 at Sassuolo on Friday, and are six ahead of reigning champions Juventus.

The goal was Kessie’s third of the campaign, with the midfield powerhouse also weighing in with two assists so far in nine league outings.

Having had a direct hand in five goals already this term, the 23-year-old has already eclipsed his return from last term, and is firmly on course to register more goal involvements than the 2018-19 season when he had a hand in nine goals in 34 outings for the Lombardy heavyweights.

As well as the goal and the assist, Kessie was among Milan’s most influential players.

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He took five shots throughout the course of the contest, two of which were on target, and also won three aerial battles.

Defensively, he made four clearances as Fiore sought a way back into the match, but also picked up a booking for one of the five fouls he made during the course of the contest.

Next up for Milan, they face Celtic in the Europa League on Thursday, before travelling away to Sampdoria next weekend.