Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice on his first start in two months as Milan beat Cagliari 2-0 on Monday to pull ahead of city rivals Inter on top of the Serie A table.
Ibrahimovic got the first from the penalty spot after seven minutes, adding a second just after the break in Sardinia.
Milan, targeting their first league title since 2011 when Ibrahimovic last played in the team, pull three points ahead of Inter who beat champions Juventus 2-0 in the San Siro on Sunday.
The 39-year-old Swede proved he has returned to his best after injury.
He brought his tally to 12 goals in eight games with five doubles, including a brace on November 22 against Napoli, when he picked up a thigh injury.
Milan shook of the absences of defender Theo Hernandez and midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu who tested positive for coronavirus.
The visitors quickly took control of the game after Cagliari defender Charalampos Lykogiannis fouled Ibrahimovic.
Ibrahimovic decided to take the penalty ahead of regular spot kicker Franck Kessie after the Swede had missed twice from the spot twice before his injury.
Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno cleared a long-range Davide Calabria effort after 24 minutes with the Italy defender hitting the post 10 minutes later.
Back after the break Ibrahimovic connected with Calabria’s long-range effort finishing off with the goal confirmed after a VAR review.
Milan held their advantage despite playing the final quarter of an hour a man down after Alexis Saelemaekers was sent off for two bookings.
Cagliari, just above the relegation zone in 17th position, fall to their fifth consecutive defeat on an 11-match winless run stretching back to November 7.