AC Milan went a point clear in
Serie A on Saturday after Antonio Nocerino and a Zlatan
Ibrahimovic penalty gave the champions a hard-earned 2-0 win
over lowly Siena at the San Siro.
Nocerino opened the scoring nine minutes after the break
with a deflected shot from the edge of the box before Sweden
striker Ibrahimovic doubled Milan's lead on 63 minutes following
a controversial penalty award.
Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said it was not one of his
side's better performances.
"When you play badly and win it's a good sign," he told
Italy's Sky Sport channel. "We had to be patient in the first
half and almost fell behind. In these games, either you finish
them off quickly or you need the energy to fight until the end."
In Florence, an acrobatic strike two minutes from time from
Stevan Jovetic earned Fiorentina a 2-2 draw against Atalanta.
Italy striker Alberto Gilardino gave the hosts the lead on
nine minutes, skilfully volleying home Juan Vargas's centre for
only his second goal of the season.
But just as it looked as though Fiorentina would bank a
much-needed three points, midfielder Andrea Masiello fired home
a 25-metre equaliser on 81 minutes before Argentina striker
German Denis struck a typical poacher's goal at the back post to
give Atalanta the lead with four minutes to go.
Montenegrin striker Jovetic saved new coach Delio Rossi's
blushes on 88 minutes, volleying in superbly.
The point leaves Fiorentina struggling on 17, the same as
Atalanta, who were docked six points at the start of the
"We lost the midfield in the second half and we weren't able
to close the game out," said Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi.
"[Valon] Behrami almost made it 2-0 but then we made mistakes.
It was a hard and intense match."
With Taye Taiwo and Philippe Mexes drafted into an
injury-hit defence, the hosts began the game on the front foot
with Ibrahimovic making a nuisance of himself inside the box
before volleying fractionally over on 16 minutes.
Milan enjoyed virtually blanket possession and four minutes
later Kevin-Prince Boateng forced Zeljko Brkic into a diving
save after a fine turn and angled shot.
But it was Siena who came closest to taking the lead on 24
minutes when Francesco Bolzoni broke through the heart of the
defence but could only watch agonisingly as his poked effort
dropped the wrong side of the post with Marco Amelia beaten.
The away side appeared to grow in confidence after the
opportunity but they fell behind on 54 minutes when Nocerino,
running on to a well-worked short corner, saw his deflected shot
travel through a crowd of players and past the unsighted Brkic.
Milan made it 2-0 when Ibrahimovic slammed home a spot kick
after Boateng had been felled by Brkic following a lightning
break. Replays suggested he had gone to ground easily.
With 20 minutes left, Pato, on for Brazilian compatriot
Robinho, had two golden chances inside the six-yard box to add a
third but saw his goalbound effort blocked before firing the
second effort high over.
Earlier on Saturday, goals either side of half-time from
Cyril Thereau and Gennaro Sardo helped Chievo Verona to a
comfortable 2-0 home win over Cagliari. The winners climbed to
eighth in the table with their first win in four matches.
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