Serie A review

Milan still lead as top three all win

January 8, 2012
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng kept AC Milan at the Serie A summit with a 2-0 victory at Atalanta.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
GettyImagesZlatan Ibrahimovic has been recognised by his peers

The hosts had the better of the opening stages and could have taken the lead in the first minute, when Ezequiel Schelotto failed to unduly extend goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.

Simone Padoin then had two chances to put Atalanta ahead, but fired wastefully over from good positions in the away penalty area. But when the breakthrough came in the 22nd minute, it was at the other end. Thomas Manfredini brought down Pato and Ibrahimovic calmly stroked the ball into the bottom corner.

Milan's Antonio Nocerino and Ibrahimovic went close with efforts from outside the area before their side extended their lead in the 82nd minute. Ibrahimovic picked out Boateng in the centre of the penalty and the Ghanaian midfielder found the roof of the net.

Alessandro Matri scored the only goal of the game to see off bottom side Lecce 1-0 and keep Juventus neck and neck with Milan.

Matri headed home from close range after 27 minutes to settle a game in which neither side made the most of plenty of chances.

Udinese put the pressure on with a convincing 4-1 win over struggling Cesena at the Stadio Friuli.

Antonio Di Natale started and finished the scoring for the Bianconeri, with Citadin Eder giving the visitors hope with an equaliser in the 39th minute. Kwadwo Asamoah and Dusan Basta scored the home side's other goals in the second half as Cesena struggled with 10 men following the dismissal of Maurizio Lauro on the hour mark.

Francesco Totti struck twice from the penalty spot to end his goalscoring drought and fire Roma to a 2-0 victory over Chievo.

The Giallorossi captain scored his first goal of the season in the 34th minute after Erik Lamela was brought down inside the area by Chievo's Nicolas Frey. Totti again converted from the spot with 12 minutes to go after Bostjan Cesar had been penalised for handball.

Bortolo Mutti experienced a home debut to forget as coach of Palermo as the Rosaneri succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to Napoli at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.

Mutti, who replaced Devis Mangia just before Christmas, watched on as his side slumped to an uncontested defeat as Napoli joined Roma in sixth place, 10 points adrift of the Serie A summit.

Goran Pandev gave Walter Mazzarri's side the lead 10 minutes before the interval and Edinson Cavani made it two 10 minutes after the break. Marek Hamsik sealed the win on the hour mark with Napoli then controlling the game with ease as the stadium emptied prematurely as the home fans voted with their feet, most of them missing Fabrizio Miccoli's 89th-minute consolation.

Stevan Jovetic bagged a brace as Fiorentina cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory at Novara.

Jovetic was on target in either half to take his tally for the season to nine while Riccardo Montolivo also weighed in with his first of the campaign as Novara meekly surrendered at Stadio Silvio Piola.

Cagliari joined Genoa in mid-table on 21 points with a convincing 3-0 win at the Stadio Sant Elia.

Pasquale Marino will certainly have imagined a different debut after replacing Alberto Malesani as Genoa coach over the festive period as he saw his side fall apart at the seams, even losing Emiliano Moretti to the sixth red card for a Genoa player this season.

Joaquin Larrivey put Cagliari ahead from the penalty spot in the 12th minute and Victor Ibarbo doubled their lead early in the second half. An own goal from Andrea Granqvist in the 72nd minute compounded a miserable day for Genoa and a glorious win for the Sardinians, led by former Genoa coach Davide Ballardini.

Bologna enjoyed a strong start to the year by posting a 2-0 victory over 10-man Catania .

Substitute Nicolo Cherubin put the hosts ahead early in the second half before Catania lost Marco Biagianti to a red card 12 minutes from time and Marco Di Vaio sealed victory at the death with Bologna's second of the match.