Serie A Wrap: Joy for Kaka, pressure mounts on Ballardini
Mario Balotelli gave Clarence Seedorf’s side the lead after just four minutes in Saturday's clash, getting on the end of Adil Rami’s cross to volley home from close range.
That goal seemed to settle any potential nerves in the ranks, as rampant Milan took the game to Chievo in an action-packed first half.
And their lead was doubled after 27 minutes when Keisuke Honda’s wonderfully chipped ball found Kaka, who produced a brilliant first touch before rolling it into the net.
The 31-year old then rolled back the years nine minutes after the break, pouncing on a poor defensive clearance to curl a stunning effort into the top corner of the net.
Chievo were given a chance to grab a consolation one minute into stoppage time, when substitute Cyril Thereau was brought down by Cristian Zaccardo in the box.
The Frenchman dusted himself off to take the resulting spot-kick only to be denied by the crossbar on what was a difficult night for the visitors, who remain three points above the relegation zone, while handing a boost to Milan’s slim hopes for European qualification.
Meanwhile, Atalanta strengthened their own bid for a Europa League spot with a 2-0 win at Bologna in the day’s other game.
The hosts fell behind after 22 minutes when Giuseppe De Luca pinched the ball from Diego Perez in midfield, before bursting into the box and slotting home for his second goal in as many games.
Much of the pre-match talk had been about the future of Bologna boss Davide Ballardini, with growing rumours suggesting the club may turn to former coach Stefano Pioli, who was only shown the door at the Renato Dall’Ara in January.
And things got worse for Ballardini just four minutes later when a well-organised Atalanta doubled their lead through a stunning 30-yard effort from Marcelo Estigarribia.
The result was Atalanta’s sixth consecutive victory in Serie A and a new club record, while Bologna sit two points clear of the relegation zone, although nearest rivals Livorno could overtake them with a win over Inter on Monday.