Even though it wasn’t the liquid performance, Gianluigi Donnarumma managed to keep a clean sheet at one end while some quality from Ibrahimovic and lucky positioning from Rebic was sufficient to nick a winner within the last 20 minutes.
This is just the sort of game that teams battling for European areas should win, and it places Milan in sixth place for now.
Here are five things we learned…
With four clean sheets in the last five matches we continue to mention how good Gianluigi Donnarumma is.
While having not conceded a goal might mean that your defence is doing brilliant, that isn’t true for the Milan side as the young Italian goalkeeper is making save after save even under stress.
He’s shown in recent weeks how good and how valuable he is, growing with each match to frustrate his opponents with a range of excellent shot stopping and good aerial command.
The 20-year-old is a blessing to observe and Pioli will hope that the keeper continues to play in a similar manner as the Rossoneri are well back in the fight for Europe.
A step back
While Rafael Leao was making progress in recent months, he did not have the best of nights against Brescia.
Not only did the Portugal U21 international struggle while his team was attacking, but also showed poor discipline when he needed to help his team-mates in the middle as he was often seen walking rather than chasing an opponent nearby.
Without a doubt we have seen his potential lately and even more so from the venture he has developed with Ibrahimovic, but the youngster needs to mature even more so he can bring more consistency to his game.
Hero yet again
While many were anticipating Ante Rebic to start from minute one following his brilliant screen off the bench against Udinese, Pioli opted for Calhanoglu on the left as the Turk recovered from harm.
However, is seems though the Croatian is eager to make his starting place as he again scored when coming off the seat and managed to provide his team with three crucial points.
It would be fair to say though that although Calhanoglu did not have a good match overall his participation in the build-up to the goal and the amazing pass he gave to Zlatan were crucial to the win.
But, Rebic will surely get his start soon if he continues to possess this degree of effect, and with the Coppa Italia on the corner, there could be another ideal opportunity for the winger to further prove his worth.
Efficiency from Pioli
We need to give some praise to Pioli with respect to how his team is acting recently: how many clean sheets is growing, as are the possibilities created and the number of goals scored — arguably the three main indicators which a team is changing.
His formation change has helped players improve their performances with Bennacer growing with each and also the likes of Kessie, Castillejo, Rebic and Leao building up momentum also.
While there’s considerably more needed and a lot of work still to do, we definitely should provide Pioli some credit for the work he is doing in recent weeks.
Ismael Bennacer had yet another brilliant and commanding performance in the center of the park.
His skills on the ball are crucial as he can carry the drama forward with energy that the team lacked before him in that position.
The former Empoli man is doing great when the opposition is trying to apply pressure on him also, with his dribbling skills allowing him to easily get out of tight situations. It is no surprise therefore that he has the maximum proportion of successful dribbles in Serie A with 85.1%.
His passing skills are another thing that benefits his teammates as when he gets out of the tight situations he is more than capable of launching incisive balls forward penetrating the opposition lines.
This, in turn, has helped Kessie as the Ivorian must return and that allowing him to use his strength and defensive abilities to regain ownership while Bennacer is dictating the game.
However, that by no means is saying that the Algerian is doing bad when needed to defend. He’s proved to be competitive and being more than capable of gaining back ownership with the only minus he earns yellow cards easily. But surely, Bennacer is proving to be an amazing move for the Rossoneri.