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Rediff.com  » Sports » Europe football round-up: Milan climb to third; Fifth straight win for Hoffenheim

Europe football round-up: Milan climb to third; Fifth straight win for Hoffenheim

October 31, 2016 14:43 IST

AC Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura celebrates their Italian Serie A win at the end of the match against Pescara at San Siro on Sunday

IMAGE: AC Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura celebrates their Italian Serie A win at the end of the match against Pescara at San Siro on Sunday. Photograph: Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters

Giacomo Bonaventura's free kick earned Milan a 1-0 win over Pescara to move them into the top three of Serie A on Sunday.

Milan had been second best before the break in the San Siro but the Rossoneri took the lead when Bonaventura was fouled on the edge of the area in the 49th minute by Alexandru Mitrita, picked himself up and then found the net with a low shot.

With second-placed Roma only drawing 0-0 at Empoli, Milan moved to within one point of them and five behind leaders Juventus, who beat Napoli on Saturday.

"It was a precious victory against a very tough opponent," coach Vincenzo Montella told the club's website.

"We should have been more clinical and put the match to bed earlier, but I am pleased with the team's spirit, so well done to the boys."

It was hardly a convincing performance from Montella's side, though, and struggling Pescara kept Milan's precociously talented keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma busy before and after falling behind.

Donnarumma made a superb double save to deny Ledian Memushaj while Pescara, without a win in eight league games before Sunday, twice had the ball in the net only to have their celebrations cut short by offside flags.

Carlos Bacca did hit the woodwork in the second half for Milan but the hosts were relieved to hear the final whistle.

"We didn't start that well. We didn't take advantage of spaces, but then we improved and dominated the game," Montella, whose team travel to Palermo next week, said.

Empoli have scored only two goals in 11 Serie A games this season but defended resolutely to frustrate Roma who had been expecting a fifth consecutive league win.

Lazio also climbed above Napoli into fourth spot after goals from Senad Lulic and Ciro Immobile earned them a 2-1 win over Sassuolo.

Inter Milan slumped to their fourth defeat in five league games, going down 1-0 at Sampdoria in Sunday's late game.

Fabio Quagliarella's goal just before halftime settled the contest, sending Sampdoria level on points with 11th placed Inter.

Bottom club Crotone won their first match of the season, beating Chievo Verona 2-0.

Hoffenheim up to third, Modeste hat-trick boosts Cologne

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's Pavel Kaderabek and Hertha BSC Berlin's Peter Pekarik vie for possession during their German Bundesliga match at Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Germany on Sunday

IMAGE: TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's Pavel Kaderabek and Hertha BSC Berlin's Peter Pekarik vie for possession during their German Bundesliga match at Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Germany on Sunday. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Hoffenheim edged visitors Hertha Berlin 1-0 with a first-half goal from Niklas Suele on Sunday to leapfrog their opponents into third place with a fifth straight Bundesliga win.

Unbeaten Hoffenheim now have 19 points, four behind leaders Bayern Munich, while Hertha, who had goalkeeper Rune Jarstein to thank for a string of superb saves, are fifth on 17.

Cologne are up to fourth courtesy of French forward Anthony Modeste's first Bundesliga hat-trick in a 3-0 win over bottom side Hamburg that takes them on to 18 points.

Hoffenheim needed 20 minutes to settle but then took control, rattling the crossbar with a Pavel Kaderabek header after Jarstein had denied Lukas Rupp from close range.

The hosts broke the deadlock in the 31st minute with Suele's header and were rarely threatened, apart from a Vedad Ibisevic effort which was parried by keeper Oliver Baumann.

Norwegian Jarstein thwarted Hoffenheim's strikers several more times but could do nothing to prevent their first defeat in October.

Cologne's Modeste grabbed a second-half treble, after Hamburg's Bobby Wood was sent off in the 58th for elbowing an opponent, to become Bundesliga top scorer on 11 goals.

Hamburg, still without a win this season, remain stuck on two points after their seventh defeat in nine matches.

Bayern are top on 23 points after Saturday's 3-1 win at Augsburg, with RB Leipzig two points behind in second following their 2-0 win at Darmstadt 98.

Source:
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