AC Milan maintain Serie A lead with win over Atalanta

January 9th, 2012 - 3:54 pm ICT by IANS  

AC Milan Rome, Jan 9 (IANS) AC Milan held on to their lead in the Italian Serie A football with a 2-0 away win over Atalanta Sunday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng scored to keep AC Milan at the Serie A summit, where they were pressured by Juventus, the most consistent team with an unbeaten record so far this season.

Atalanta had the better of the opening stages, but it was Milan who scored first in the 22nd minute when Pato was fouled in the area and Ibrahimovic calmly stroked the penalty into the bottom corner, Xinhua reported.

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 center of the penalty and the Ghanaian midfielder found the roof of the net.

Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri hailed his side’s win in the first game after the winter break.

“It was an entertaining and physical game. Atalanta could have caused us problems on the counter and that proved to be the case, but my lads adapted very well in midfield,” he said.

“The team fought hard and made a very difficult test seem simple. It was important to win coming back from the winter break and we achieved that,” he said.

His Atalanta counterpart Stefano Colantuono complained that a ” non-existent penalty” proved decisive in his side’s defeat.

“The non-existent penalty proved decisive,” Colantuono said. ” If anything, it was a foul on Manfredini. He had the advantage and Pato barged into him with his hip. I think the images speak very clearly. You can see Pato change direction mid-run.”

Alessandro Matri came off the bench to score the sole goal to help Juventus beat bottom side Lecce 1-0 and keep 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.

In the other fixtures of the day, Udinese put the pressure on with a convincing 4-1 win over struggling Cesena at the Stadio Friuli.

Francesco Totti struck twice from the penalty spot to end his goal scoring drought, firing Roma to a 2-0 victory over Chievo.

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

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

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

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