Serie A: Genoa 0 Milan 2
AC Milan consolidated third position in Serie A with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over relegation-threatened Genoa on Friday.
Milan were nowhere near their best at the Luigi Ferraris and had Kevin Constant sent off in the second half but did enough to claim all three points courtesy of goals from Giampaolo Pazzini and Mario Balotelli.
Massimiliano Allegri's men, heading into the game on the back of a rousing win against rivals Lazio, made a subdued start with Genoa looking the more likely during a cagey opening quarter.
The visitors suddenly sparked into life midway through the first half when M'baye Niang unleashed a curling effort from the right-hand side of the area that Sebastien Frey pushed away to safety.
But in the 22nd minute Milan went ahead after Pazzini crashed home a wonderful drive from the edge of the area.
It was a terrific strike made all the more remarkable by the fact that Pazzini had, just moments beforehand, suffered an ankle injury that would force him from the field immediately after his goal.
Pazzini's withdrawal resulted in an early introduction for the fit-again Balotelli, who announced his return with a needless push on Juan Manuel Vargas that earned the volatile striker a booking.
Genoa emerged from the interval full of enthusiasm as they went in search of an equaliser but Milan were always dangerous on the counter attack.
And the hosts' chances of salvaging a point were dashed on the hour mark when Balotelli whipped the ball past Frey and into the bottom left corner for his fifth goal since leaving Manchester City in January.
Genoa received a glimmer of hope seven minutes later after Constant was shown a second yellow card for throwing his forehand into the face of Cesare Bovo but Milan held firm to keep their seventh clean sheet of the season.