Serie A: AC Milan beat Roma 2-1 on Sunday.© AFP
AC Milan won an intense battle with rivals Roma 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico in the Italian capital, as Stefano Pioli’s side push for a first league title since 2011. A Franck Kessie penalty gave Milan the lead five minutes before the interval after Federico Fazio fouled Davide Calabria. Jordan Veretout pulled Roma level five minutes after the break with an arrowed shot, but the away side were soon back in front. Ante Rebic drilled home the winner eight minutes later after collecting a pass from Alexis Saelemaekers following a poor clearance from Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez.
Off-form Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic had been substituted shortly before Croatia international Rebic scored the decisive goal.
“I told the lads that two games (losses) cannot take away the confidence build up over a year,” said Pioli.
“It’s an important win at a decisive moment in the season which takes us out of two very strange weeks.”
Ibrahimovic watched the end of game with an ice pack on his left thigh before a week in which he will juggle football and show business as one of the star presenters of the San Remo music festival.
Atalanta kept their Champions League push alive with a 2-0 win over Sampdoria with goals in either half from Ruslan Malinovskyi and Robin Gosens.
Napoli’s record goalscorer Dries Mertens returned from injury to help the southerners boost their own top four hopes with a 2-0 win over local rivals Benevento that puts them a point behind Roma in sixth.
Mertens started for the first time in over two months and the 33-year-old got his boot to a Faouzi Ghoulam cross after half an hour for his 131st Napoli goal.
Matteo Politano turned in the second in the 66th minute and Gennaro Gattuso’s side held on for the points despite Kalidou Koulibaly’s sending off 10 minutes from time.
In the relegation battle, Cagliari snapped their 16-match winless run in coach Leonardo Semplici’s first match in charge with a 2-0 success over rock-bottom.
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