MILAN - Two goals from Ronaldinho helped
AC Milan to a 3-0 win at toothless Juventus on Sunday which
piled the pressure on Juve's rookie coach Ciro Ferrara.
Alessandro Nesta netted in the first half and Ronaldinho
twice after the break to push Leonardo's side eight points
behind leaders Inter Milan, who beat Siena 4-3 on Saturday.
Second-placed Milan, who have a game in hand and meet Inter
on Jan. 24, condemned Juve to their fourth defeat in five
matches in all competitions and reports linking the Turin club
with Russia coach Guus Hiddink have already re-emerged.
The visitors were far from spectacular on a cold night but
third-placed Juve's confidence is so low that an average display
was enough to win handsomely.
Juve midfielder Felipe Melo, much derided for his poor form
since a July move from Fiorentina, failed to clear a corner on
the half hour and Nesta could not miss at the far post.
Milan doubled their lead on 72 minutes when Ronaldinho's
header from a corner was deflected in by Paolo De Ceglie and the
Brazilian added the third from David Beckham's cross late on.
The hosts, with a raft of injuries, had their best
half-chance when Dida denied defender Giorgio Chiellini.
"Inter won yesterday so we had to win this game to stay in
the race," Milan's Pirlo, back to his best after the whole team
struggled in Leonardo's first months in charge, told Sky TV.
"We've changed tactics and mentality. The title race is
Napoli earlier surged to fourth, level with Juve, after
Argentine German Denis sealed a 1-0 home win over Sampdoria.
Substitute Denis came on in the first half for injured
compatriot Ezequiel Lavezzi and put in a man-of-the-match
display for coach Walter Mazzarri, who left as Samp boss in May.
Napoli have gone 12 games unbeaten under Mazzarri, who
replaced Roberto Donadoni in October and is hoping to return the
club to the glory days of Diego Maradona in the 1980s.
Fiorentina, who like Napoli went bust in the previous
decade, also continued their pursuit of the fourth Champions
League spot they bagged last season with a 2-1 win over Bari.
Cesare Prandelli's side have a game in hand and lie three
points behind Napoli while fifth-placed AS Roma are two above
the Florence club following Saturday's 1-0 win over Chievo.
Palermo are level with Fiorentina after Edinson Cavani's
second-half penalty secured a 1-0 home win over strugglers
Atalanta, who are poised to appoint Lino Mutti as Antonio
Conte's successor as coach according to media reports.
Genoa beat Catania 2-0, Livorno defeated Parma 2-1, Udinese
drew 1-1 with Lazio and Cagliari won 1-0 at Bologna.
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