Real loanee Diaz opens AC Milan account in Crotone win

(Reuters) - AC Milan continued their perfect start to the Serie A season with a 2-0 win over Crotone on Sunday, as on-loan Real Madrid forward Brahim Diaz struck his first goal in Italian football.

Franck Kessie’s penalty put the visitors in front in first-half injury time before a close-range finish by Diaz, who joined Milan on a season-long loan earlier in September, wrapped up the points.

Stefano Pioli’s side were without influential striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Swede tested positive for COVID-19 during the week, but they cruised to their second consecutive league win in his absence.

Milan have six points from their opening two games and are yet to concede a goal, while they have also won two Europa League qualifying matches since the season began.

There were concerns for the Rossoneri when forward Ante Rebic landed badly on his arm midway through the second half, and the Croatian was immediately replaced as he headed down the tunnel for treatment.

But Milan coach Pioli was hopeful after the game that Rebic will not be forced into a long spell on the sidelines.

“The good news is that it seems like there isn’t a fracture and this would reduce the recovery time a lot,” he told Sky Italia.

“I hope this news is confirmed and that we can get him back as soon as possible.

“With the absence of Ibrahimovic, we are a bit short in that area of the pitch.”

Milan are one of three teams to have picked up maximum points from their opening two games, along with Napoli and Hellas Verona, while Crotone are bottom of the table on goal difference after two defeats.

Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; editing by Ian Chadband