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Udinese and Lazio joint top as Milan lurk

06 Nov 2011 19:47:02

Udinese and Lazio joint top as Milan lurk

Udinese went top of Serie A with a 2-1 home success against Siena on Sunday but champions AC Milan are now lurking ominously a point behind in third after thrashing Catania 4-0.

Lazio are level on points with Udinese in second on goal-difference after they beat Parma 1-0 at Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

With previous leaders Juventus's match at Napoli called off due to the rain all three teams knew they had the opportunity to go top if they won.

And that prize went to Udinese thanks to goals from Dusan Basta and emblematic captain Antonio Di Natale.

Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin claimed this result vindicated his decision to play a largely reserve side against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League on Thursday.

"I want to thank my team who produced a performance of great heart and character," he said.

"I want to thank the whole staff and I dedicate this win to those 1,500 fans who went to Madrid and who deserve this present.

"If I had made different choices in Madrid we would have finished the game today with four or five players."

Udinese wasted no time in going in front taking just 54 seconds to do so, although it was a scrappy goal.

Di Natale turned neatly on the left wing and although his low cross was poor it still landed at the feet of Antonio Floro Flores, whose shot was scuffed but went to Basta, who managed to prod it past Zeljko Brkic.

The captain added the second on 64 minutes when released by a raking high ball from Pablo Armero, cutting inside a covering defender and finishing with the outside of his right foot.

Siena gave themselves a lifeline 13 minutes from time when Francesco Bolzoni caught Emanuele Calaio's cushioned header with a sweet half-volley.

Lazio were made to wait until five minutes from time to snatch victory as German striker Miroslav Klose surged into the box and pulled the ball back for Libor Kozak.

His shot was blocked on the line but Giuseppe Sculli followed up to poke home from less than a yard out.

Lazio coach Edy Reja was understandably delighted with his team's position.

"We're fine here, we've no problems. We have players who are used to being high up in the league," he said.

"These are the type of games we must win if we want to stay at the top."

At the San Siro, Milan ran riot with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Gianluca Zambrotta getting on the scoresheet, alongside an own goal from the unfortunate Francesco Lodi.

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was happy with his side's position going into the international break following five successive league wins.

"Now we can enjoy a nice break given that the last one wasn't," he said referring to Milan's lowly league position during the last international break having won only one of their opening five Serie A matches.

"Twenty points in 10 matches is good. We're very close to the top, we're returning to our (rightful) position.

"We need to be in the top half, either near the top or right at the top."

They went ahead after Davide Lanzafame was, perhaps harshly, adjudged to have brought down Robinho in the box.

Ibrahimovic's seventh minute penalty just about squeezed under goalkeeper Mariano Andujar.

The champions doubled their advantage on 24 minutes when Ibrahimovic sent Robinho scampering down the left, the Brazilian cutting inside Giuseppe Bellusci, who slipped, and then curling the ball around Andujar.

The killer third came on 69 minutes as Robinho was played in by Ibrahimovic and although Andujar got a touch on the Brazilian's shot to slow it down, the back-tracking Lodi bundled the ball against the post and back off his thighs and in.

Three minutes later Andujar couldn't hold Alberto Aquilani's free-kick and Zambrotta fired home the follow-up.


AFP

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