Tue, Nov 06, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Last-gasp Romagnoli fires AC Milan up to fourth spot


AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli, center, celebrates scoring against Udinese in their Serie A match at the Dacia Arena in Udine, Italy, on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

Alessio Romagnoli on Sunday scored the only goal after 97 minutes as AC Milan reclaimed fourth place in Serie A amid drama at 10-man Udinese ahead of SS Lazio, who earlier crushed SPAL 4-1 with Ciro Immobile bagging a brace.

Defender Romagnoli fired in the winner amid a scramble in front of goal to add to his midweek winner against Genoa, for a confidence-boost ahead of next weekend’s visit by champions Juventus to the San Siro.

“I know it burns to lose in the last minute,” said Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso, whose side have won three league games in the past week after losing the Milan derby to Inter following a dramatic Mauro Icardi stoppage-time winner.

“I liked really our performance and attitude. We arrived with injuries and suffered, but deserved this victory,” added Gattuso after Milan kept their first clean sheet of the campaign.

AC Milan and Lazio both have 21 points from 11 games, with Gattuso’s side occupying the final UEFA Champions League spot on goal-difference.

The two teams are 10 points behind leaders Juventus, who continued their unbeaten run with a 3-1 win over Cagliari on Saturday.

Milan suffered an early blow when Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain was forced off after 35 minutes with a back problem and was replaced by Samu Castillejo.

“Higuain felt a twinge in his back, but it doesn’t seem to be anything serious,” Gattuso said.

Earlier, Lazio bounced back from last week’s 3-0 home defeat to Inter.

“We had to redeem ourselves after the knockout against Inter,” said coach Simone Inzaghi, whose side are now five points ahead of city rivals AS Roma, who were held 1-1 by ACF Fiorentina on Saturday. “Today’s three points are very important for us in terms of ranking. The lads remained united and compact without suffering the psychological backlash [of defeat to Inter].”

Italy international Immobile volleyed in the first after 26 minutes off a Danilo Cataldi corner, past SPAL goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, brother of SS Lazio midfielder Sergej, who was also playing at the Stadio Olimpico, but the celebrations were short-lived with Mirco Antenucci tapping in the equalizer two minutes later.

Felipe Caicedo then broke through the SPAL defense and set up Immobile, whose shot took a deflection off Filippo Costa over the SPAL goalkeeper.

Blunders by SPAL defender Everton Luiz allowed Cataldi and Marco Parolo to break through in the second half, but Immobile was denied a hat-trick by the woodwork.

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