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Football
Rossoneri recapture Italian lead
Fresh from Champions League triumph AC Milan snatch Serie A lead from rivals Juve with win at lowly Cesena.
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2012 17:48
Sulley Muntari gets on the score sheet as AC Milan move past rivals Juventus [EPA]

AC Milan stormed back to the top of Italy’s Serie A with a 3-0 win at lowly Cesena on Sunday as they made light of the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

In two games since the big Swede has been suspended for slapping Napoli's Salvatore Aronica, Milan have won both.

Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari, on his debut, and versatile Dutchman Urby Emanuelson both scored their first goals for the club with Robinho adding the third as Milan went a point clear of Juventus, although having played a game more.

The two Italian giants meet next week in a top of the table clash at the San Siro.

Juventus had taken over at the summit on Saturday with a 3-1 win over 10-man Catania.

Daniel Pudil scored Cesena's consolation goal and defeat sees them go bottom of the table.

Quick start

Milan were quick out of the blocks and could have had three goals inside the first 10 minutes.

Muntari turned smartly in the box from Ignazio Abate's deflected cross but shot just past the upright.

Francesco Antonioli then tipped over an Emanuelson shot from distance before the two Milan midfielders combined to put in captain Massimo Ambrosini one-on-one but the goalkeeper saved with his legs.

Robinho almost caught out Cesena when nipping onto a deflected cross but he headed wide. The breakthrough came on 29 minutes as Thiago Silva thumped a free-kick goalwards that Antonioli spilled, allowing Muntari to nip in and score.

And just two minutes later Emanuelson countered with Robinho before cracking in a low shot from outside the post inside the corner.

Cesena did create a pair of chances but Christian Abbiati tipped over Vincenzo Iaquinta's header while Adrian Mutu headed over from six yards. And 10 minutes into the second period it was game over as Robinho took a pass from Abate, surged between two defenders and finished into the far corner for his third goal in a week.

Pudil gave the home fans something to cheer about midway through the second period with a precise volley into the far corner

Iaquinta had a couple more chances but could not find the net while Milan substitute Stephan El Shaarawy went through one-on-one with Antonioli but was denied by the goalkeeper.

Roma, Lecce win

Roma moved up to fifth and sent Inter Milan, who lost 3-0 at home to Bologna on Friday night, down to seventh with a 1-0 win over Parma.

Fabio Borini scored the only goal from a tight angle after being played in by Miralem Pjanic.

Lecce came from a goal down to beat Siena 4-1 to boost their hopes of beating the drop this season.

Lecce remain two points from safety but with Siena the team occupying the final survival position it was a crucial success.

Cristiano Del Grosso had given the visitors the lead with a back post volley from six yards but Lecce came roaring back.

Luis Muriel equalised before the break from close range following a melee at a corner.

And the Colombian then went on a mazy run, jinking his way into the box before earning a second half penalty.

Muriel did flop easily to the ground but having grabbed the forward around the waist with both arms, Alessandro Gazzi could have no complaints, protest as he did.

David Di Michele converted the spot-kick before Lecce added two late goals.

Another Colombian Juan Cuadrado went on another eye-catching run on the counter-attack before cleverly chipping goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo while Davide Brivio scored his first ever goal in Serie A with a rasping free-kick. 

Source:
AFP
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