AC Milan turned on the second-half style to record an impressive 2-0 Serie A victory over Lazio.
Christian Pulisic and Noah Okafor were on target to finally end stubborn Lazio resistance at the San Siro, but Rafael Leao was the star attraction in a commanding performance.
Leao set up both Pulisic and Okafor – and the Portugal winger now has 72 goal contributions since joining Milan in 2019.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) September 30, 2023
Felipe Anderson and Valentin Castellanos had half-chances for Lazio during a first period that took some time to burst into life.
But Lazio, who kept Ciro Immobile until the final 15 minutes, were largely toothless up front.
Milan lost Ruben Loftus-Cheek – who had scored his first goal for the Rossoneri against Cagliari in midweek – to an early injury but gained momentum as the contest moved past the half-hour mark.
Leao saw his near-post effort from a tight angle saved by Ivan Provedel in the Lazio goal.
The deadlock was almost broken on the stroke of half-time after Olivier Giroud brought Provedel into action again.
Provedel could not hold the shot and the loose ball fell to Tijjani Reijnders, who took it around the goalkeeper but, off balance, back-heeled it against the outside of a post.
Milan really upped the tempo after the break and took a deserved lead after an hour.
Leao surged down the left and his cut-back found Pulisic unmarked on the penalty spot.
The American’s shot had enough to get past Provedel for his third goal of the season, although the goalkeeper got a hand to the effort.
Provedel distinguished himself by saving from Yunus Musah after the American had brought the ball down and fired goalwards in one sharp movement.
Reijnders fired into the side netting before Milan put the issue beyond doubt two minutes from time.
Leao was again the instigator with another excellent run and cross which allowed Okafor to convert with a simple tap-in.
It was Okafor’s second Milan goal after his first for the club in the 3-1 win at Cagliari.
Lazio were denied a spectacular consolation in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Spanish substitute Pedro sent a 25-yard shot into the top corner of Mike Maignan’s net.
The officials had spotted an offside in the build-up and there was to be no joy for Lazio after a VAR check.
This was Milan’s third successive league win, while Lazio’s season has yet to get going after this fourth defeat in seven games.