Keisuke Honda answered his critics by scoring the winner for AC Milan, his maiden Serie A goal, in a precious 2-1 win at Genoa on Monday which maintained the Rossoneri's hopes of European football next season.
Honda has failed to live up to expectations for Clarence Seedorf's ailing side since joining the club from CSKA Moscow in October.
But after Adel Taarabt had given the visitors a 20th-minute lead with a wonderful strike at a packed Luigi Ferraris Stadium - his third goal in eight league games - Honda latched on to the Moroccan's pass in the 56th minute to ride a challenge from onrushing goalkeeper Mattia Perin and watch the ball roll into the net.
Honda couldn't quite believe his luck, and the joy on the faces of his team-mates as they swamped him in celebration spoke volumes about the 27-year-old's frustration in his previous 11 league games for the Rossoneri.
Milan remain in 11th spot but a third consecutive win means they are now only five points adrift of fifth-placed city rivals Inter, who occupy the first available Europa League qualifying spot.
Inter's Europa hopes were dented on Saturday in a 2-2 draw at home to Bologna, their fourth consecutive game without a win.