ROME, April 7 (Xinhua) -- AC Milan raised their hopes for a UEFA Europa League spot next season when they notched up their third success in a row with a 2-1 win over Genoa on Monday.
Thanks to goals in each half from loanee Adel Taarabt and Keisuke Honda, the Milan side claimed a hard-fought win and close within five points of rivals Inter, who sit fifth and occupy Serie A's final European place.
They managed to stave off a late fightback by Genoa who pulled one back with 17 minutes to play through defender Marco Motta.
The hosts were inches away from claiming an equalizer, with Philippe Mexes getting back to nod Motta's header off the line and away to safety as Milan's good run continued.
They stay at the 11th place of the Serie A table after a dreadful start to the season, the fact they can still reach Europe will encouraged coach Clarence Seedorf.
"I am certainly happy with the performance of the team, which was able to battle against a Genoa side that proved it had heart. Genoa really pushed hard, so to win here was a great result. Adel Taarabt had a good performance, but so did everyone," said Seedorf.
"The Europa League is closer, but there are many teams fighting for those positions and closer to the target, so we'll keep going and see what happens," he said.
The visitors left Mario Balotelli out of the starting line-up because of illness and Genoa dominated possession early on, but the visitors took the lead following a surging run from Taarabt. The former Fulham player drilled a right-footed shot towards the far post and out of Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin's reach.
Milan's second goal came against the run of play, as Honda scored for the first time in the league for the Italian giants.
Taarabt's ball played Honda through and he cleverly dinked over Perin, only to see Giuseppe Sculli tracking back and closing in on the ball.
Sculli should have kept the ball out but could only help it over the line with a despairing effort, giving Milan much-needed breathing space.