Nikola Kalinic's first goals for AC Milan were enough to secure a 2-1 win over Udinese at the San Siro.
The signing from Fiorentina twice demonstrated predatory instincts to beat his marker and score from close range and had a third ruled out for offside as Milan return to winning ways in Serie A after last weekend's 4-1 humbling at Lazio.
Kevin Lasagna cancelled out the Croatian's first goal with a fine finish, and had earlier seen a goal ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee (VAR) system.
Udinese had chances to claim a point in the second half through Seko Fofana and Andrija Balic, but Milan held firm to secure their third league win of the season.
Vincenzo Montella's side will be looking to make that four when SPAL visit the San Siro on Wednesday. Udinese, meanwhile, face Torino in midweek as they target just a second win of the Serie A campaign.
22' GOOOOOOAAAL Nikola Kalinic! Our no.7 breaks the deadlock! / Il vantaggio rossonero! Primo gol per 1-0 September 17, 2017
Milan were almost made to pay for that profligacy just a minute later, but they were spared by the VAR system. Lasagna latched onto a clinical throughball to roll the ball past Gianluigi Donnarumma, but his celebrations were cut short after the officials decided he had strayed into an offside position.
Technology was used again in the 18th minute to deny Milan the opener. Kalinic's header from a corner crashed back off the post and was stabbed towards goal by Leonardo Bonucci from close range, but was hacked away before the whole ball could cross the line.
Minutes after being denied by the woodwork, Kalinic did get on the scoresheet as he beat his marker to bundle home Calabria's cross from close range.
Milan's advantage did not last for long, though, as Lasagna took full advantage of an inexplicable pass across his own area by Alessio Romagnoli to drill a left-footed strike past Donnarumma.
The goal did little to dampen Milan's attacking instincts and they reclaimed the lead after 31 minutes. Kalinic got on the end of Franck Kessie's header from a corner to prod home from almost on the line.
Milan twice came close to scoring their third in the early stages of the second half, but Giacomo Bonaventura's audacious overhead kick just screwed wide and Romagnoli's header was repelled by Simone Scuffet.
Udinese nearly pulled level for the second time after 63 minutes, but Donnarumma was equal to Fofana's fierce drive. Soon after substitute Balic saw a looping header arc agonisingly over the Milan goalkeeper's bar.
Milan squandered opportunities through Calabria and substitute Hakan Calhanoglu to extend their advantage, while Kalinic was denied a hat-trick after the VAR system was once again used to rule out his late strike.
Key Opta stats:
- Kalinc has scored his first Serie A brace since December against Sassuolo.
- In total, 27 of Kalinic's 29 Serie A goals have come from inside the box.
- This is the first AC Milan's win against Udinese after three Serie A clashes with a draw and two losses.
- AC Milan have picked up 9+ points after four Serie A MDs for the first time since the 2006-07 season (10 points).
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