ROME - AC Milan missed the chance to
close within a point of Serie A leaders Inter Milan on Saturday
when they were held 0-0 at AS Roma.
Second-placed Milan were on top for most of the match and
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar headed over a glorious chance to break the
deadlock in the closing stages.
Juventus boosted their Champions League qualification hopes
with a 2-1 victory at Fiorentina that lifted them to fourth.
Roma made an aggressive start at a packed Stadio Olimpico
with Daniele De Rossi shooting just wide and Julio Baptista
forcing a decent save from Christian Abbiati with a powerful
strike early on.
But Milan gradually worked their way into the match and they
were in control by the middle of the first half.
Marco Borriello blasted wide a good chance set up by
Ronaldinho's threaded pass and Roma defender Nicolas Burdisso
was lucky an attempt to head away a Mathieu Flamini cross did
not fly into his own net.
The visitors continued to make the running after the break
and Roma's Julio Sergio just managed to scramble the ball away
in the 55th when Borriello burst into the area and aimed inside
the near post.
Roma were more dangerous after striker Luca Toni came on
just before the hour as he returned from a calf injury that had
sidelined him since January.
Mirko Vucinic nodded a fine opportunity wide and Abbiati did
well to repel a John Arne Riise piledriver in stoppage time.
Milan coach Leonardo had sprung a surprise by giving
Huntelaar injured Alexandre Pato's place in his attacking
trident rather than David Beckham, who set up a good chance for
Ronaldinho after coming on in the 72nd minute.
The England midfielder will hope he was being rested for
Wednesday's visit to his former club Manchester United in the
Champions League last 16, when Milan need to reverse a 3-2
In Florence Italy full-back Fabio Grosso, who came on as a
substitute at the start of the second half, fired home what
proved to be the winner from a tight angle in the 68th minute.
Juve's Brazilian playmaker Diego had dribbled past keeper
Sebastien Frey and slotted into an empty net to give the
visitors the lead in the second minute after Antonio Candreva
had sprung the offside trap with a smart pass.
Former Juve midfielder Marco Marchionni headed the home side
level in the 32nd when Alex Manninger, standing in for injured
Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, came out to intercept a cross
but missed the ball.
Juve have 44 points from 27 games, one more than Palermo who
can regain fourth place by beating lowly Livorno in Sicily on
Faltering Fiorentina, who host Bayern Munich on Tuesday in
the Champions League last 16, are 10th.
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