AC Milan one point clear of Juve before direct clash
By Alberto Cagliano Feb 19, 2012, 16:05 GMT
Rome - AC Milan won 3-1 at Cesena on Sunday to regain first place in the Italian Serie A from Juventus Turin ahead of their table topper next weekend.
Unbeaten Juve, who defeated Catania 3-1 on Saturday, are one point behind Milan but have a game in hand.
Missing the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic, plus the injured Pato and Kevin-Prince Boateng upfront was not an issue for the Devils, who pummelled the hosts and took the lead by the half hour from Sulley Muntari.
The Ghanaian, who transferred from Inter Milan in January and recently returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, flicked home after Francesco Antonioli fumbled a free kick from Thiago Silva.
Two minutes later Dutchman Urby Emanuelson drilled a precise shot by the post to the left of Antonioli.
The 42-year-old custodian was stunned again by Brazilian Robinho 10 minutes into the second half, which the hosts opened with a couple of missed chances from Adrian Mutu and Vincenzo Iaquinta.
Czech newcomer Daniel Pudil pulled one back from the distance 10 minutes later.
'Until 3-0 ours was a great game, well played and with good chances,' Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said.
'Then after the third goal we let (Cesena) play and we at times played backwards. Then we conceded a goal and complicated our game. Next weekend (against Juve) it will be a fascinating game and we are ready to play it.'
Lazio stayed eight points from the top after a 5-1 drubbing away to Palermo, where they had defender Andre Dias dismissed with two yellow cards.
A scoreless home draw with Cagliari only allowed Udinese to draw level on points with Lazio in the race for a third available Champions League berth.
Roma moved to fifth place, leapfrogging Napoli and Inter Milan, with a 1-0 win over Parma, Chievo won 1-0 at Genoa, Novara and Atalanta drew 0-0 and Lecce beat Siena 4-1. On Friday, Napoli beat Fiorentina 3-0 and Inter crashed at home to Bologna with the same scoreline.