AC Milan moved to within a whisker of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals with a slender 1-0 Group C victory against FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the Giuseppe Meazza stadium
Jon Dahl Tomasson's second-half goal made it three wins out of three for Carlo Ancelotti's side, who took 62 minutes to have something to show for their dominance - but were always in control once the Danish striker had breached the hard-working Lokomotiv defence.
The first half was a tight affair with the visitors largely restricting Milan to shots from outside the area. Rui Costa, the home side's outstanding performer in the first 45 minutes, saw his stinging 22-metre attempt saved and went close twice more with swerving efforts from the inside-left channel.
Filippo Inzaghi should have done better with a glancing header from a few metres out and Rivaldo had two chances to break the deadlock - first firing straight at the superb Sergei Ovchinnikov in the Lokomotiv goal, then rifling a half-volley narrowly over from 20 metres out.
At the other end, Maxim Buznikin had an eighth-minute drive comfortably saved and Ruslan Pimenov did well to set up the tireless Vladimir Maminov - but the midfield player's thunderous effort was blocked by a Milan defence which spent much of the game in a spectating capacity.
Milan were a far more potent force after the break and it took just two minutes of the second half for them to carve out a chance. Tomasson brought the ball down on his chest six metres out but Jakob Lekcetho, the Lokomotiv defender who was later booked and will miss next week's return match in Russia, whipped the ball to safety before the striker could pounce.
The home side's supporters were beginning to get restless as Milan's frantic attacking play continued to prove ineffective - Andrea Pirlo watched his 56th-minute effort skid wide of the target and a minute later Tomasson took too long over his shot, which was blocked after Inzaghi had cut in from the left and fed Rui Costa, who slipped the ball to the unmarked striker.
But Tomasson came good five minutes later after Inzaghi controlled a high ball from Rui Costa and fired a shot at Ovchinnikov, who parried the ball straight to the Danish international. Tomasson gleefully tucked the ball into the unguarded Lokomotiv net to put Milan on their way to their third successive 1-0 victory.
Maminov and Lokomotiv captain Dmitri Loskov had half-chances for the visitors, who gamely pushed for an equaliser, but it was Milan who twice went closest to scoring a second goal. Substitute Serginho hit the bar with Ovchinnikov beaten and the Brazilian's fine run in added time provided Inzaghi with a gilt-edged chance to score his tenth goal of the campaign. But he watched in disbelief as the Lokomotiv goalkeeper scrambled across goal to block his shot.