ITALY: Leão’s “heart & mind in Milan” after winning goal against Fiorentina [video]

Rafael Leão was the difference-maker for AC Milan in their victory over Fiorentina on Saturday, scoring and providing an assist as the Rossoneri continued their recent good form with a 2-1 away victory.

Milan made it six wins in a row in all competitions to strengthen their hold on 2nd place in Seria A, with Portuguese forward Leão indicating after the match that he does not envisage a future away from San Siro.

After a goalless first half, the match at the Artemio Franchi exploded into life after the break, beginning with Leão creating the opener for Ruben Loftus-Cheek (47’) with a clever backheel to leave his teammate with a simple close-range finish. However, Fiorentina drew level just minutes later when Alfred Duncan beat Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan from outside the box with a brilliant low finish.

Leão’s winner came shortly thereafter, meaning three goals scored in the first eight minutes following the re-start. The former Sporting man found himself with an inexcusable clear run through on goal from Tijani Reijnders’ pass, leaving Leão to demonstrate his typical calm in front of goal as he strolled past Fiorentina goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano to slot home.

“We wanted to win here, because we hadn’t won in Florence for a long time,” Leão said after his goal proved decisive. “Fiorentina are a quality team, we could’ve scored I think three goals in the first half already, but we came out for the second half with the right mentality and got the result.”

Asked his he would be joining coach Stefano Pioli in committing his future to the club, Leão appeared keen to remain in Italy. “I have a contract with Milan, you never know what the future holds,” he said. “However, my heart and mind are with Milan, this is my home, they helped me grow as a player and I am happy here.”

Although 11 points off city rivals and Serie A leaders Internazionale, Leão’s side are comfortably clear in 2nd place, with a 7-point advantage over 3rd place Juventus. Milan’s best chance of a trophy remains the Europa League, where they will meet Roma in an all-Italian quarter final later this month.

By @SeanGillen9