Serie A: AC Milan unbeaten after 15; Inter Milan win 8th straight; Juve 10 points back
A roundup of the weekend’s results in Serie A, where AC Milan improved to 15 games unbeaten to start the season, Inter Milan are now winners of eight straight games, and and Juventus remain 10 points behind the leaders…
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Benevento 0-2 AC Milan
Despite second-place Inter Milan’s torrid pace, Stefano Pioli’s AC Milan has seen its Serie A lead shrink very little in recent weeks thanks to some impressive results of their own, including Sunday’s 2-0 victory, which saw them play for nearly an hour with just 10 men, away to Benevento.
Franck Kessie opened the scoring from the penalty spot after just 15 minutes, but things appeared to be headed south when Sandro Tonali was shown a straight red card for putting his studs into the knee of an opponent in the 33rd minute.
Nevertheless, AC Milan held on to their clean sheet, despite being out-shot by a margin of 25-10, and added a second goal by way of Rafael Leao’s opportunistic curler from wide of the penalty area in the 49th minute. With the goalkeeper having come off his line and finding himself in no man’s land, Leao hooked a beauty toward the far post and completed the scoring from a rare angle.
Inter Milan 6-2 Crotone
Inter Milan actually feel behind early, and even found themselves level at 2-2 nearly 60 minutes into Crotone’s visit to the San Siro Stadium. Alas, Lautaro Martinez eventually bagged a hat trick (20th, 57th and 78th minutes) to keep Antonio Conte’s side just one point back of their Milan rivals.
It was Martinez who pulled Inter Milan level at 1-1, before Luca Marrone’s own goal put the home side ahead in the 21st. It was quickly 2-2, though, and it remained that way until the 57th minute when Martinez struck again. Romelu Lukaku got in on the goals seven minutes later to make it 4-2, Martinez got no. 3 just before the 80th, and Achraf Hakimi completed what had by that point become a rout in the 87th.
Cagliari 1-4 Napoli
Speaking of routs, Napoli put on a show of their own just to remain within viewing distance (10 points off the top, with a game in hand) of the Milan clubs, crushing 15th-place Cagliari 4-1 away from home.
Piotr Zielinski got goals no. 1 and 2 in the 25th and 62nd minutes, followed by Mexican star Hirving Lozano’s seventh Serie A goal of the season in the 74th. Lorenzo Insigne finished the rout from the penalty spot in the 86th minute.
Juventus 4-1 Udinese
As for the nine-time defending champions Juventus, Andrea Pirlo’s side was victorious without gaining any ground this weekend. Even if they win their game in hand, they’ll still trail AC Milan by seven points as we near the halfway point of the season.
The big story from the Allianz Stadium, though, was Cristiano Ronaldo tying and passing Pele with the 757th and 758th goals (for club and for country) of his professional career. Josef Bican now sits just one goal ahead of Ronaldo as the all-time leading scorer. The Portuguese made it 1-0 and 3-0 with his goals in the 31st and 70th minutes on Sunday.
Federico Chiesa added goal no. 2 in the 49th and Paulo Dybala finished the scoring for 4-1 in the 92nd.
Other Serie A results
Roma 1-0 Sampdoria
Parma 0-3 Torino
Spezia 0-1 Hellas Verona
Atalanta 5-1 Sassuolo
Fiorentina 0-0 Bologna
Genoa 1-1 Lazio