GENOA: Serie A leaders AC Milan battled their way to a 2-1 win away to a dogged Sampdoria side to remain unbeaten in the league this season and stay five points clear at the top on Sunday. Franck Kessie broke Sampdoria’s resistance from a penalty in the 45th minute and substitute Samu Castillejo rifled in the second for Milan in the 77th minute before Albin Ekdal headed one back to set up a nerve-wracking finale for the visitors. Milan, again missing leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic through injury, have 26 points from 10 games, with Inter Milan on 21 and Napoli and titleholders Juventus on 20. Sampdoria are 12th with eleven points. The hosts wore special blue and white halved shirts, the original kit of the Andrea Doria club which merged with Sampierdarenese to form Sampdoria in 1946. Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri, whose side are winless in their last six games in all competitions, was determined to make life as tough as possible for Milan and turned the first half into a midfield war of attrition with precious few chances. The hosts had the first opening when Lorenzo Tonelli’s header was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma and Tonelli was also in action at the other end where he performed a miraculous clearance off the line to deny Ante Rebic. Rebic ran onto a long ball forward and flicked it over goalkeeper Emil Audero towards goal but Tonelli managed to hook it away with centimetres to spare, the ball hitting the post before bouncing away to safety.