AC Milan stay top of Serie A

Source: AFP Published: 2020/12/24 18:08:39

Theo Hernandez of AC Milan (right) vies for the ball against Andreas Pereira of Lazio on Wednesday in Milan, Italy. Photo: VCG

Theo Hernandez nodded in a late winner to keep AC Milan top of Serie A heading into the winter break with a 3-2 victory over Lazio on Wednesday.

Milan are one point ahead of city rivals Inter who earlier extended their winning run to seven games with a 2-1 win over Hellas Verona.

Lazio had come from two goals down thanks to Luis Alberto and Ciro Immobile but French defender Hernandez headed in his third goal in as many games in injury time to seal all three points.

Milan shook off the continued absence of injured star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to continue their unbeaten run which goes back to last March as they target a first Serie A title since 2011.

The two Milan clubs have surged ahead of their rivals, with Roma moving up to third, six points behind Inter, after a 3-2 win over Cagliari.

"I'm very proud of these lads," said coach Stefano Pioli whose side have 34 points in 14 Serie A games, twice as many as at this stage last season. "With Ibra on the pitch we are stronger, but we are taking advantage of everyone's characteristics even without him. The fire we have inside is making a difference and we must keep it alight."

Napoli dropped from third to fifth, two points behind Roma, despite Lorenzo Insigne scoring late to rescue a 1-1 draw at home with rock-bottom Torino.

Reigning champions Juventus are sixth - 10 points adrift of top spot - after crashing to their first Serie A defeat of the season, 3-0 at home against Fiorentina.

"It'll certainly be a more even league, because many teams have strengthened and want to have their say," said Inter coach Antonio Conte. 

Sassuolo, boosted by the return of Francesco Caputo, moved up to fourth with a 3-2 win over Sampdoria.

In seventh, Atalanta threw away a two-goal advantage after Luis Muriel scored twice within a minute midway through the first half, only to settle for a 2-2 draw at Bologna.

"It's a terrible result, we had absolute domination of the match and we could never have predicted this ending," fumed coach Gian Piero Gasperini.

At the San Siro, Ante Rebic headed in the opener for Milan from a Hakan Calhanoglu corner on 10 minutes, with the Turkish midfielder adding a second from the penalty spot seven minutes later.

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved an Immobile penalty but Luis Alberto headed in the rebound. 

Lazio's top scorer grabbed the equalizer before the hour mark, finishing off a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic cross for his ninth league goal of the campaign, only for Hernandez to have the final say.

In Verona, Inter extended their winning run as they target a first Scudetto since 2010 with their European hopes now over. Lautaro Martinez broke through in the 52nd minute, connecting with an Achraf Hakimi cross to volley in his sixth goal this season.

On-loan Manchester City midfielder Ivan Ilic pulled the hosts level on 63 minutes after Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic let a Davide Faraoni cross slip, with Milan Skriniar failing to stop the Serb tapping in his first Verona goal. 

But Skriniar made up for his error six minutes later, getting his head to a Marcelo Brozovic cross to beat Verona keeper Marco Silvestri.

Inter equaled their best goalscoring start to a season since 1960-61, when they also scored 34 goals after 14 games.
Newspaper headline: Late winner

Posted in: FOOTBALL

blog comments powered by Disqus