Giroud strike sends Milan top of Serie A

AC Milan's Olivier Giroud scores the only goal of the game in their Serie A home win over Torino.
AC Milan's Olivier Giroud scores the only goal of the game in their Serie A home win over Torino.

France striker Olivier Giroud's early strike has earned AC Milan a 1-0 win over Torino to send Stefano Pioli's side back to the top of the Serie A standings.

In an otherwise uneventful first half, Giroud, starting in place of another veteran Milan forward - Zlatan Ibrahimovic - tapped home his fourth league goal of the season for what proved to be the winner in the 14th minute.

Torino's Italy striker Andrea Belotti, making his first start for the club since August having recovered from injury, had the visitors' best chance to level in the second half but missed his kick with the goal at his mercy.

Milan goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu preserved his side's lead late on with a fine save to deny Torino substitute Antonio Sanabria as the hosts opened up a three-point gap at the top of the table over Napoli, who host Bologna on Thursday.

Torino are 13th.

"I think we played a good game," Giroud told DAZN. "Torino are a strong team, they are aggressive in the tackle.

"I am very happy because we did well from the start and Torino didn't really threaten many scoring opportunities.

"That means we've been very solid at the back and we take the three points, that's the most important thing.

"We play every three days, that's not easy on the body. Everything was not perfect."

Before the match, coach Pioli had warned his side that they needed to start winning ugly if they were to make the next step and win the Scudetto this season.

And win ugly they did as, after Giroud's goal from Rade Krunic's flick, they did not create another meaningful chance.

That mattered little, however, as Milan have now won nine of the first 10 Serie A matches of a season for the first time since the 1954-55 campaign.

Meanwhile, Salernitana moved off the bottom of the table as they snatched a 2-1 win at 10-man Venezia.

Salernitana moved a point above Cagliari and level on points with 18th-placed Genoa, who drew 1-1 at Spezia.

Australian Associated Press