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Milan Hand Roma A French Lesson To Consolidate Third Spot

Milan sit nine points behind league leaders Inter Milan, and took advantage of other top four contenders dropping points to consolidate third place in Italy's top flight.


AC Milan’s French forward #09 Olivier Giroud scores the team’s second goal during the Italian Serie A football match between AC Milan and AS Roma at San Siro Stadium, in Milan on January 14, 2024. (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / AFP)

 

A trio of French goals helped AC Milan strengthen their place in Serie A’s Champions League positions in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Roma.

Yacine Adli’s first Milan goal early on, an Olivier Giroud header 10 minutes after the break and Theo Hernandez’s thumping strike late on earned the points for the seven-time European champions, who had a distinctly French flavour at a freezing San Siro.

Milan sit nine points behind league leaders Inter Milan, and took advantage of other top four contenders dropping points to consolidate third place in Italy’s top flight.

Stefano Pioli’s side are nine points ahead of Lazio who moved up to fifth by beating Lecce 1-0 in Sunday’s early match, while fourth-placed Fiorentina are eight back after only drawing 2-2 with lowly Udinese.

A third straight league win came at the expense of a feeble Roma side missing talisman Paulo Dybala and again lacking attacking creativity.

Jose Mourinho’s side are ninth after a largely dismal display enlivened only by Leandro Paredes’ 69th minute penalty which came completely against the run of play.

It was another hard defeat for Roma after being knocked out of the Italian Cup midweek by local rivals Lazio, who they trail by four points.

The magic appears to have worn off for Mourinho at Roma where he is adored for reaching two European finals in consecutive seasons and winning the inaugural Europa Conference League but is now attracting criticism for poor performances and results.

– Lazio eye top four –

Felipe Anderson crashed in the only goal of Lazio’s hard-fought win in the 58th minute at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, a fifth straight success in all competitions for Maurizio Sarri’s team.

Lazio are breathing down Fiorentina’s necks, with Bologna a further point back in sixth after losing 2-1 at Cagliari, after M’Bala Nzola saved a point for the Tuscan outfit from the penalty spot with three minutes remaining.

Both Lazio and Fiorentina now travel to Riyadh for the revamped, four-team Italian Super Cup.

Fiorentina kick off the tournament on Wednesday with their semi-final against ailing champions Napoli while Lazio face Inter Milan the following day.

However Sarri is not happy about the new Super Cup format and made his feelings very clear to reporters after his team’s win.

“Everyone knows what I think, that this tournament has nothing to do with sport, we’re just taking the money and running,” said Sarri.

“We’re going around the world with our hat in our hands… With all the problems that we have with crowded fixture lists, we then decide to organise a four-team Super Cup.”

Before kick-off in the Italian capital Lazio paid tribute to their former manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, who on Wednesday said he had no more than a year to live after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Eriksson won the Serie A title in 2000 and the last-ever Cup Winner’s Cup the year before with a star-studded Lazio team that featured Sinisa Mihajlovic, Juan Veron, Alessandro Nesta and Marcello Salas.

“My Way” played over the speakers while fans unfurled a banner saying “The battle starts now. Sven, we are with you”.

The match was played in front of fans despite Lazio being hit with one-match stand closures for supporters racially abusing Romelu Lukaku during the midweek Italian Cup win over local rivals Roma.

Lazio will serve the ban in their next home match against Napoli at the end of the month.

AFP