Zlatan Ibrahimovic needed only nine minutes to fire home the opener after sprinting the offside trap in his first league appearance since picking up a muscle injury against AS Roma on Feb. 28.
The Swede registered his return to the AC Milan starting line-up with a goal in a thrilling 3-2 win at Fiorentina on Sunday, narrowing the gap to Serie A leaders Inter to six points.
The strike made him the oldest player to score 15 goals in a Serie A season, at 39 years and 169 days, and starting the gun to a frantic encounter in Florence.
Erick Pulgar and Franck Ribery struck either side of the break to put the hosts in front, but goals from Brahim Diaz and Hakan Calhanoglu swung the contest back in Milanâs favour.
Milan moved up to 59 points in second place, six behind Inter, but the league leaders have a game in hand after their match against Sassuolo was postponed following a cluster of positive tests for COVID-19.
Impressive response from Milan, who were knocked out of the Europa League by Manchester United on Thursday.
Their full attention will be on reeling in Inter at the top of Serie A, and Ibrahimovic was proud of the character Milan showed to ensure their title hopes did not take a significant blow.
‘After a defeat and going out of the Europa League, now we have the Scudetto to fight for,’ the 39-year-old said. ‘A comeback like this was very important.
‘We had spirit, mentality, we were 2-1 down, but we wanted to win at all costs. We showed the character of this team and we must continue like this.
‘I am taking on my responsibility to help this team any way I can, on and off the field. The team reacted well, this is an intense period of the season and now some have a break. Some don’t.’
Referring to the upcoming international break, which he will be involved with after his recall to the Swedish national setup.
It’s a move which paves the way for the striker to feature in the Euros this summer, and he revealed his excitement at playing for his country once more.
‘My desire was to continue playing, to feel joy in football, and anything extra is a bonus. It is a great honour for me to play with Sweden after a few years.
‘It’s true the coach came to see me at the Milanello training ground, we talked, and now I am called up.’
Fiorentina remain 14th with 29 points, seven clear of the relegation zone.