MILAN: Krzysztof Piatek struck again to rescue a 2-1 win for AC Milan at bottom club Chievo on Saturday, keeping their Champions League push firmly on track, but the Polish striker was accused of scoring with a 'kung fu' kick.
Piatek joined Milan from Genoa in January and has now scored eight goals in nine matches, as the club notched up a fifth straight league win to remain unbeaten since before Christmas.
Returning from injury, Lucas Biglia opened with a curling free kick after 31 minutes in Verona. It was just his second goal for Milan and first since February last year.
Finnish midfielder Perparim Hetemaj got his head to the end of Leris cross to pull the hosts level four minutes before the break.
But once again Piatek proved crucial, scoring the winner after 57 minutes in controversial circumstances.
The 23-year-old met Samu Castillejo's header amid a goalmouth scramble, during which the Pole looked to have struck a Chievo player while attempting an overhead kick.
A VAR review confirmed the goal to the fury of Chievo coach Domenico Di Carlo."
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"I don't want excuses but in the last six matches all the VAR decisions have gone against us," said Di Carlo, whose side have won just one of 27 games played.
"Piatek's move on (Fabio) Depaoli wasn't football, it's kung fu.
"You can write the headline: 'Chievo beaten by a kung fu kick.'"
Piatek joins Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo and Sampdoria's Fabio Quagliarella on top of the Serie A scorers' chart with 19 goals this season.
Milan consolidate third position to move five points behind second-placed Napoli who travel to Sassuolo on Sunday.
Champions Juventus pulled 19 points clear at the top on Friday with Moise Kean scoring a brace in a 4-1 win over lowly Udinese.
Inter Milan, are fourth, four points behind Milan, before hosting SPAL on Sunday.
The Milan teams will go head-to-head next weekend.
"We started off well, controlled the game but we then conceded a goal and then lost the compass for a moment," said Milan assistant coach Luigi Riccio.
"Fortunately Krzysztof Piatek got the winner and sorted things out.
"We know the difficulties involved in a derby and wanted to get to that game with this kind of standing. We're on the right road and want to continue like this."
However, coach Gennaro Gattuso was sent to the stands for arguing on the sidelines with Chievo midfielder Riccardo Meggiorini in the first-half and now risks a suspension for the derby.
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"We hope Gattuso will be there for the derby, it would be an added bonus for us," said Riccio.
"These things happen, Gattuso spoke to the referee afterwards and it's all sorted out. All clarified."
Roma, in fifth, three points off the Champions League places begin life under new coach Claudio Ranieri at home against Empoli on Monday.
Czech midfielder Juraj Kucka scored the only goal as Parma ended mid-table rival's Genoa's six-game unbeaten run.
Kucka broke through after 78 minutes against his former club on a rebound after Brazilian goalkeeper parried his header.
Parma overtake Genoa to move two places up to 11th position.