19.09.2015 23:20 h

Bacca hits brace as Milan edge Palermo

Carlos Bacca struck twice, including a second-half winner as AC Milan got back to winning ways after last week's derby defeat thanks to a 2-1 win over Palermo at the San Siro on Saturday.

Bacca was one of two strikers, along with Luiz Adriano and on-loan Liverpool misfit Mario Balotelli, recruited by the fallen Serie A giants during the summer, as they look to become protagonists in Serie A this season in a bid to qualify for Europe.

The Colombian international opened the scoring in the 21st minute and, after Oscar Hiljemark had hit his second of the night to level Giacomo Bonaventura's 40th minute free kick, he restored Milan's lead on 75 minutes with a powerful glancing header.

Milan, defeated 1-0 by Inter Milan in the city derby last week, held on to claim their second win in four games to move up to ninth place at three points behind leaders Inter ahead of the rest of the weekend's fixtures.

Inter are away to on-form Chievo on Sunday, when Roma host Sassuolo and champions Juventus, in lowly 16th with just one point from three games, face a potentially difficult trip to Genoa.

After a commendable performance away to Inter last week, Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic had stressed the need to get back to winning ways and the Rossoneri were quickly into their stride.

The hosts were almost gifted an early opener when Palermo 'keeper Stefano Sorrentino stuck out a thigh to stop Aljaz Struna's ball going into his own net.

Milan suffered an early blow when defender Ignazio Abate suffered a thigh problem and was forced off to be replaced by 18-year-old Davide Calabria.

But the early setback failed to unsettle the hosts, who broke the deadlock on 21 minutes when Bacca pounced on Giacomo Bonaventura's neat backheel flick inside the area to beat Sorrentino with the outside of his right boot.

Milan should have doubled their lead when Bacca was fed inside the area after Keisuke Honda intercepted a poor clearance, but the Colombian saw Sorrentino block.

Yet the hosts were never far from danger and Hiljemark exposed their defensive frailties just after the half hour when he nicked in between two defenders to head past Diego Lopez from close range following a corner.

Bonaventura restored Milan's lead in style with a superb curling free kick that beat Sorrentino on 40 minutes, but the goal failed to dampen the visitors' spirits.

Palermo, unbeaten in their opening three games, were intent on taking a share of the spoils back to Sicily and levelled in style on 72 minutes when Hiljemark finished off a fine passing move with Alberto Gilardino to run in unchallenged and slot the ball under the onrushing Lopez.

It looked to have secured a point for Giuseppe Iachini's men, but their celebrations were soon cut short when Bacca rose to meet Juraj Kucka's swinging cross in from the right to power a glancing header past the diving Sorrentino.

To their credit, Palermo piled on the pressure and Lopez was tested twice immediately, the Spaniard getting down low to bat away Hiljemark's drive from 25 metres and then diving to his left to cover Franco Vazquez's drive as it inched past the upright.