Milan (AFP) – Ante Rebic scored a hat-trick and Theo Hernandez a double as AC Milan thrashed Torino 7-0 to keep their push for a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2014 on track.

The battle for elite European football remains tight with just three points separating second-placed Atalanta and Juventus in fifth.

Atalanta moved back second ahead of Napoli with a 2-0 win over relegation candidates Benevento.

The Bergamo side are equal on points with AC Milan, with Napoli a further two points adrift in fourth.

“Until you cross the finish line, you can’t give up on anything,” said Milan coach Stefano Pioli. 

“We’ve done so much we have to hold on for a week. The team deserves it and the club deserves it.”

Juve are a further point adrift after getting back to winning ways after last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at home to Milan.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala both scored their 100th goals for the club in all competitions to keep the Turin giants hopes of Champions League football alive with a 3-1 win over Sassuolo.

“We breathe for half an hour, then we throw ourselves back headlong in the next two games,” said coach Andrea Pirlo. 

“It was not easy to recover after the defeat the other night and we did well to play a match of this type against Sassuolo. “

Juventus dropped out of the top-four after their defeat to AC Milan and play Inter Milan and Bologna in their last two matches.

Gianluigi Buffon was in the Juventus goal days after announcing his departure at the end of the season.

And the evergreen 43-year-old made history becoming the oldest goalkeeper in Serie A history to stop a penalty, denying Domenico Berardi from the spot after quarter of an hour.

Adrien Rabiot opened the scoring just before the half hour with Ronaldo claiming his 28th goal this campaign just before the half-time whistle.

Giacomo Raspadori pulled a goal back for Sassuolo before  the hour but Dybala got the third after 66 minutes.

“In football, the champions are always the ones who make the difference, we have a lot of them, tonight they marked the match,” said Pirlo of Buffon, Ronaldo and Dybala.

“But you also have to compliment the others. 

“It was not easy to raise your head after a bad defeat, we are still here, alive, we will fight to the end.”

Antonio Conte’s Inter extended their unbeaten league run to 20 games, and claimed a 15th home win, 3-1 over Roma.

Romelu Lukaku scored just before the whistle to bring his tally to 22 goals this campaign, six less than Ronaldo, with Marcelo Brozovic and Matias also on target.

Milan shook off the absence of injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic to overrun Torino with Hernandez striking the first goal after 19 minutes.

Franck Kessie got the second from the penalty spot seven minutes later for a Lyanco foul on Samu Castillejo.

Ivory Coast’s Kessie then teed up Brahim Diaz for the third five minutes after the break, with the visitors scoring four in a fifteen minutes spell after Hernandez completed his brace just after the hour.

Rade Krunic provided two crosses for Rebic who struck three times in a 12-minute spell to pile the pressure on Torino who are just four points above the relegation zone.