AC Milan went three points clear at the top of Serie A after cruising to a 3-0 win over lowly Brescia at the San Siro on Saturday with all of their goals coming in the first half.
Kevin Prince Boateng scored his first Milan goal on four minutes, and, in a two--minute spell either side of the half-hour mark, Robinho grabbed a fifth and Zlatan Ibrahimovic an eighth goal of the season.
In Saturday’s early match Roma missed the chance to move into third after Chievo fought back from a two-goal first-half deficit to draw 2-2.
Lazio’s 3-1 win over Inter on Friday had seen them join Milan at the summit of Serie A, but Massimiliano Allegri’s side betrayed little anxiety against a Brescia side who had gone 10 games without a win.
“I’m pleased we started with the right attitude and scored early, but then we relaxed for a while and had to thank [Christian] Abbiati for a terrific save. At 3-0 we closed the game out and I was able to rest some legs,” Allegri said. “When Inter return from the World Club Cup, I’m sure they will be back to their best so we will have to keep up our form. The season’s very long and there are still many teams left in contention for the title.”
There were barely four minutes on the clock when Ibrahimovic combined with Massimo Ambrosini down the left before cutting the ball back for Boateng to side-foot home from 6m.
Third from bottom at the start of play, Brescia responded by dominating possession. After a beautifully crafted move on 17 minutes, Christian Abbiati pulled off a -superb save to deny an acrobatic overhead from lone striker Andrea Caracciolo.
The save proved significant as, 12 minutes later, Robinho picked up a horribly directed backpass by Perparim Hetemaj and slotted coolly home left-footed. After 30 minutes, it was 3-0 as Ibrahimovic teased a clutch of Brescia defenders on the edge of the area before moving the ball to his favored right foot and slamming an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
As Brescia’s defense crumbled it was left to goalkeeper Matteo Sereni to keep the score down. Left one-on-one, he saved well from Boateng, and then parried to safety a free kick from the recalled Andrea Pirlo. Robinho and substitute Ronaldinho fired over as the Rossoneri eased off the gas in a quiet second period.
In Verona, Fabio Simplicio struck a brace in the 26th and 44th minutes in a match that only went ahead after a late pitch inspection at the icy Marc’Antonio Bentegodi stadium.
However, Roma were punished in the second period for sitting on their lead. Goalkeeper Julio Sergio allowed a long-range effort from Davide Moscardelli to slip through his grasp just after the hour. And with seven minutes remaining Pablo Granoche slotted home the equalizer before Roma’s misery was compounded when skipper Daniele De Rossi was sent off for a reckless lunge on Moscardelli.
“The pitch made it like a beach soccer match,” Roma coach Claudio Ranieri said. “After 2-0 we couldn’t string two passes together on it. I’m just happy nobody was injured.”
Roma stay seventh in Serie A, with Chievo ninth ahead of yesterday’s matches.