It’s been a thorny start to the campaign for Carlos Bacca and his AC Milan team-mates, but the Colombian’s renowned finishing ability is breathing new life into the Rossoneri.
Prior to a recent three-game winning streak, which put AC Milan back on the Serie A map, the Diavolo languished in mid-table, seemingly without a prayer of making up any significant ground on the league leaders.
They travelled to coach Sinisa Mihajlovic’s former club Lazio last weekend - who boasted a perfect home record heading into the contest - as underdogs.
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Surprisingly, the previously unbeatable hosts came a cropper against a rampant Milan side that had won only once away from home in the league all season.
Throughout an already-turbulent transitional period under new boss Mihajlovic, one constant has remained in the shape of South American star Bacca’s promising form, which appears to be gaining momentum following his latest effort in that welcome 3-1 victory.
Mihajlovic’s adjustment to a 4-3-3 formation coincided with an upturn of fortunes which allowed the resurgent Rossoneri to sweep Lazio aside, as well as Sassuolo and Chievo before them.
It has relieved the pressure on the Serb while prized forward Bacca has blossomed at the head of the three-pronged attack with three goals in his last four outings.
The ex-Sevilla star has simply continued where he left off last season in La Liga – a competition in which he managed 20 goals – by becoming the most economical striker in Serie A.
Bacca has converted six attempts from a meagre average of 1.6 shots per game – a divisional best.
The 29-year-old notched all six goals inside the penalty area, coming from his first nine shots on target in Milan colours, thus showcasing supreme predatory instincts within the confines of the 18-yard box.
Playmaker Giacomo Bonaventura has been switched to a more advanced role on the left of the Colombia international, while they have also been in the process of developing an understanding that has seen the attacking midfielder assist two of Bacca’s six strikes to date.
Keeping the dynamic duo working in tandem to such great effect throughout the remainder of this campaign will be absolutely crucial to Milan’s hopes of building upon their current sixth spot in the Serie A standings.
And, with winger Alessio Cerci finally beginning to find his feet on the right-hand side - after a torrid ten months at the San Siro for the Italian - Bacca can surely look ahead with glee to the future creation of numerous golden chances.
Milan must feed him at every opportunity because doing so will be the difference between a European place and another dose of mid-table obscurity this season.