LaLiga: Milan defeat Empoli to strengthen top four credentials

AC Milan consolidated their place in Serie A’s Champions League positions on Sunday with a straightforward 3-0 win over lowly Empoli.

A sumptuous early strike from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Olivier Giroud’s 31st minute penalty set third-placed Milan on the way to a win which was sealed by Chaka Traore with two minutes remaining.

Missing a host of players to injury and the Africa Cup of Nations, Milan took advantage of their closest rivals dropping points.

Stefano Pioli’s team are six points ahead of fourth-placed Fiorentina who lost 1-0 at Sassuolo on Saturday, and a further point in front of Bologna in fifth following their draw at Genoa.

However, they trail league leaders and city rivals Inter Milan by nine points and are four behind second-placed Juventus, who play Salernitana later on Sunday.

Empoli stay second-from-bottom after failing to win for the seventh straight match, Aurelio Andreazzoli’s side missing seven first-team starters and no match for Milan.