Football: Beckham Inspires AC Milan To Second Spot
Posted February 2, 2009on:
ROME: David Beckham created two goals as AC Milan thrashed Lazio 3-0 at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Sunday to move into second place in Serie A.
The victory allowed Milan to cut Inter Milan’s lead at the top to six points after their bitter city rivals were held to a 1-1 draw at home to lowly Torino.
Beckham was chief orchestrator with pin-point crosses to create the first two goals before Kaka rounded off the scoring late on.
Milan demonstrated their attacking intent on seven minutes when Marek Jankulovski took a pass from Kaka at pace into the box but Fernando Muslera was equal to his stinging shot.
On 35 minutes Lazio had the first of two chances in quick succession as Goran Pandev curled his effort just past the angle of post and bar.
Moments later he released Mauro Zarate who tried to round Christian Abbiati only to be stopped by the goalkeeper before Pandev poked the rebound into the side-netting.
The hosts were made to pay as Beckham escaped down the right and crossed perfectly for Pato to steer home, although there was more than a hint that the former England captain was offside.
In first-half injury-time Beckham crossed for Pato to head home but this time the linesman’s flag did go up.
But only three minutes into the second period, Beckham punished Lazio’s shoddy marking once again with a sumptuous delivery from a free-kick that Massimo Ambrosini gleefully headed home.
Thereafter Milan repeatedly beat Lazio’s hapless offside trap but both Pato and Kaka overran the ball before the latter then hit the outside of the post on his next escape.
Lazio didn’t learn their lessons though and once again Kaka got in behind the hosts’ defence on 83 minutes before slotting home from an angle.
After Juventus’s shock 3-2 home defeat to Cagliari on Saturday, Inter could have gone nine points clear with victory but they missed a glut of chances.
Coach Jose Mourinho was not pleased with the dropped points but praised Torino for their fighting spirit.
“I never like drawing at home but I accept it. We created many chances. Torino defended for their lives and I prefer to talk about the team that played the game of their lives.”
Inter endured a frustrating first 45 minutes as they struggled to break down stubborn opponents.
They only had one clear sight of goal when Julio Cruz brought a fine save out of Matteo Sereni on 35 minutes from a firm header.
“If we had started as we finished the game it would have finished differently. We had a great reaction, in the last 15 minutes we did everything to win,” added Mourinho.
Mourinho’s team fell behind on 47 minutes when Davide Santon failed to close down Blerim Dzemaili on Torino’s right.
The Swiss midfielder crossed into the box where Ivan Cordoba was left flat-footed and former Manchester City forward Rolando Bianchi arched backwards and steered a header past Julio Cesar.
On 38 minutes, Sereni was at fault as he failed to reach a corner, allowing Nicolas Burdisso to head home from little more than six yards out.
Inter looked for a winner but substitute Hernan Crespo spooned a shot onto the roof of the net and Ricardo Quaresma fired his effort too close to Sereni.
With five minutes left Sereni turned a Crespo header onto the post as Inter piled forward and forced a succession of corners.
The hosts came even closer again in injury time as Zlatan Ibrahimovic also hit the post before Sereni smothered Esteban Cambiasso’s follow up.
Genoa tightened their grip on fourth and the final Champions League qualifying place as Domenico Criscito scored two minutes from time to give them a 1-0 home win over Palermo.
AS Roma’s charge up the table was blunted at Reggina despite a brace from Chile midfielder Claudio Pizarro as they were held to a 2-2 draw.
It was only the third time in their last 12 matches they had failed to win and leaves them three points behind Genoa.
Atalanta 1 Catania 0
Chievo 1 Sampdoria 1
Genoa 1 Palermo 0
Inter Milan 1 Torino 1
Reggina 2 AS Roma 2
Siena 1 Lecce 2
Lazio 0 AC Milan 3
Bologna vs Fiorentina – postponed, to be played Monday
Channel News Asia