An AC Milan response was very much needed in front of the over 68,000 fans who braved the cold however the first 45 minutes was very much a repeat of previous games, as Vanja Milinkovic-Savic in the Torino goal had virtually nothing to do.
AC Milan found the moment of quality that they were looking for in the second half and it came from Olivier Giroud, who decided the same fixture last season. This time it was a perfectly placed header from a Theo Hernandez cross that brought about audible relief from the crowd.
It was far from a vintage performance however it was three very much needed points to end a run of seven games without a win and four defeats on the spin, registering a first clean sheet since November 8 too to move back into the top four for the time being.
Stefano Pioli made four changes to the starting line-up compared to the defeat against Inter as Malick Thiaw came in for Matteo Gabbia in the three-man defence, Junior Messias made way for Brahim Diaz, Alexis Saelemaekers started at right wing-back over Davide Calabria and Rafael Leao got the nod over Divock Origi in what was a slightly altered 3-4-3 system.
Theo Hernandez – sporting a new bleached hairstyle with a red face drawn on it – made inroads inside the opening couple of minutes as he galloped into space down the left but slashed an effort well over the bar from just inside the box.
Milan’s play in the opening exchanges was largely sloppy as they often gave the ball away in their own half and did not look any closer to resolving the problem of playing out from the back that Pioli had identified, with Miranchuk luckily lacing a shot over from 20 yards and failing to punish a bad giveaway.
The chances continued to be for the away side as Sanabria became the latest to test his luck from just outside the box having not been closed down, though the ball fizzed past the near post and should have been a corner as Tatarusanu got a slight touch.
The Rossoneri began to gain a bit of a foothill in the game and had a couple of half-chances close to the half-hour mark as Leao got into a good position but saw a cut-back towards Olivier cut out, then Theo again shanked an effort wide from inside the box.
AC Milan were given a huge let-off not long before half time as Sanabria pursued Simon Kjaer who tripped over while trying to play the ball inside the box handing possession to the striker, but Tatarusanu was quick off his line to thwart the danger.
Milinkovic-Savic had a quiet night in the Torino goal up until the 54th minute when Milan finally managed to counter-attack quickly, with Giroud aiming to square for Leao who was unmarked but seeing his pass deflected, and while the winger did reach it he shot straight at the Serbian who came off his line quickly.
In the 62nd minute, AC Milan got the goal that there second half pressure had been threatening. A free-kick wasn’t fully cleared by Torino and it allowed the Rossoneri to recycle possession to Theo Hernandez, who whipped in a gorgeous cross that Giroud flicked with his head at the near post and nestled it inside the far stick.
The first change of the night came with 20 minutes left as Kjaer was withdrawn in place of Matteo Gabbia. There was a moment of panic not long after when a corner from the visitors was met with the back of Tonali’s head as he crumpled in a heap and the ball landed just wide of the far post.
The game really should have been put to bed with 15 minutes left on the clock as a corner was cleared and Kalulu was put through down the left side and provided a low cross on a plate for Theo with the outside of his boot, yet the full-back dragged his first-time effort wide.
A second change came straight after as Charles De Ketelaere replaced Brahim Diaz. With a few minutes remaining, Tommaso Pobega, Divock Origi and Davide Calabria came off for Tonali, Giroud and Saelemaekers.
In the end there would be no more drama as Milan saw out the remaining minutes rather comfortably, securing a return to winning ways ahead of the visit of Spurs in the Champions League on Tuesday.