Spaniard could ease pressure of faltering season with Inter Milan as his side compete in Club World Cup in Emirates.
|Ibrahimovic scored a classy third for Milan as the Rossoneri stamped their dominance on Serie A [Reuters]|
AC Milan were starting to escape from the pack in the Italian Serie A after winning for the 10th time in 12 league games with a 3-0 victory at Bologna.
The Rossoneri went six points clear of the rest on Sunday as goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng, Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic eased them to a comfortable victory.
Title rivals Lazio ensured that Milan kept their cushion at the top as they conceded at the death in a 2-1 defeat at Juventus late on Sunday.
Juve moved second and level on points with Lazio after Milos Krasic’s effort from a narrow angle went in off goalkeeper Fernando Muslera deep into stoppage time.
The hosts took an early lead when Giorgio Chiellini headed in a corner but Lazio, who beat champions Inter Milan last time, soon levelled through Mauro Zarate after another corner.
‘Suffer and strike’
“This is a big step forward,” Chiellini told Sky.
“We know how to suffer and then strike. To score right at the end was great.”
Milan went ahead on nine minutes as Ibrahimovic hit an inswinging cross from the left and Boateng burst into the box between two defenders to stretch out his right leg and prod the ball home from six yards.
|Serie A results|
Saturday December 12
Genoa 0-1 Napoli
Sunday December 13
On 18 minutes Andrea Pirlo – playing alongside fellow old-timers Gennaro Gattuso and Massimo Ambrosini in midfield – fired just over from distance.
The second came on 35 minutes as Robinho shot between goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano’s legs after a Boateng flick slipped him in on goal.
It could have been worse for Bologna as Robinho then played in Ibrahimovic, who also shot between Viviano’s legs but this time the ball clipped one of them and diverted wide.
Then deep into injury time inexplicable hesitancy in the Bologna defence allowed Gianluca Zambrotta to win the ball in the box and fire a shot off the crossbar.
Viviano came to his side’s rescue from an Ibrahimovic shot just after the restart but then Abbiati almost gifted Bologna a goal.
The shot-stopper ran out wide to prevent a corner but was then dispossessed outside his box before he could clear his lines but Ramirez’s snap-shot hit the side-netting.
The game was over on the hour mark as Pirlo’s inch-perfect pass picked out Ibrahimovic and the big Swede did the rest, chesting the ball down before pushing a half-volley into the corner.
There was still time for Milan to concede what was incredibly the first penalty against them this season, although it was generous to say the least as Marco Di Vaio flung himself to the ground after the slightest contact with substitute Clarence Seedorf.
Justice was done though as Abbiati plunged to his right to stop Di Vaio’s spot-kick.
Milan’s easy victory meant they moved 13 points ahead of faltering champions Inter Milan, who are not playing this weekend because of their involvement in the Club World Cup.
Bologna’s players have not been paid for weeks and the club has been put up for sale with the first team able to walk out for free in January if wages are still not forthcoming.
A group of local businessmen including the owner of coffee company Segafredo are interested and a deal could come soon.
Last season’s runners-up Roma are 10 points behind Milan after a 1-0 victory over rock-bottom Bari where Francesco Totti missed a penalty before his chip set up Juan to score.
Sampdoria, who will find out at a hearing on Monday if banished striker Antonio Cassano can be sacked, missed the chance to keep pace with Roma when new Brescia coach Mario Beretta oversaw a 1-0 triumph for the strugglers against Sampa.
Fellow promoted side Lecce also picked up a 3-2 victory over Chievo but stayed third-from-bottom while Brazilian striker Nene netted a hat-trick in Cagliari’s 3-0 win over nine-man Catania.
On Saturday Napoli went second as Marek Hamsik’s goal gave them a 1-0 win at Genoa.
Palermo moved to within a point of the European Champions League places as they came from behind to beat Parma 3-1 in Sicily.