Rediff.com  » Sports » Soccer PIX: Milan go top in five-goal thriller

Soccer PIX: Milan go top in five-goal thriller

October 17, 2021 11:17 IST
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Images from soccer matches played across Europe on Saturday.

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action during the Serie A match against Hellas Verona at San Siro, Milan,  on Saturday

IMAGE: AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action during the Serie A match against Hellas Verona at San Siro, Milan, on Saturday. Photograph: Daniele Mascolo/Reuters

AC Milan produced a superb second half fightback from two goals down to beat Hellas Verona 3-2 at San Siro on Saturday and go top of the Serie A table.

Milan have now picked up 22 points after eight league games, their best record in the three-points-for-a-win era, going back to 1994-95.

A Gianluca Caprari strike and Antonin Barak penalty gave the visitors a comfortable halftime lead, but Olivier Giroud halved the deficit with a 59th-minute header.

The Rossoneri then turned the game on its head in the space of two minutes, as Franck Kessie equalised from the penalty spot and Koray Gunter steered an attempted clearance into his own net.

 

There was further good news for the hosts when Zlatan Ibrahimovic, their top scorer last season, made his return from injury from the bench for the final 13 minutes after more than a month out.

Milan are one point clear on top ahead of Napoli, who play Torino on Sunday, while Verona are 13th with eight points.

Pioli’s side had a bad week with injuries, as goalkeeper Mike Maignan was ruled out for 10 weeks following wrist surgery before Theo Hernandez and Brahim Diaz tested positive for COVID-19.

They looked like a depleted force in the first half as stand-in keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu was forced into a save on an Ivan Ilic shot before Caprari smashed in the opening goal after seven minutes.

Things got worse when Barak converted a penalty after Nikola Kalinic went down under a challenge from Alessio Romagnoli, and Milan’s injury list grew longer when Ante Rebic limped off.

But the hosts were a team transformed in the second half and pulled one back when Giroud, making his first appearance since the end of September due to injury, headed in a Rafael Leao cross.

Kessie pulled Milan level with a 76th minute spot kick, and two minutes later Gunter had a moment he will want to forget quickly when a cross came in and he could not sort his feet out and accidentally guided a volley into his own net.

Ibrahimovic’s return gave the home crowd another moment to cheer, and the Swede tried to make it a memorable comeback with a spectacular overhead kick attempt, but he did not connect properly.

Lazio inflict first defeat of the season on champions Inter

Felipe Anderson and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored late to complete a 3-1 comeback win for Lazio against Serie A champions Inter Milan in Rome on Saturday, as Simone Inzaghi fell to his first league defeat as Inter coach against his former club.

Ivan Perisic’s penalty put Inter in front at the break, but Ciro Immobile levelled in the second half with a spot kick of his own.

Anderson then fired Lazio ahead after 81 minutes, leaving Inter players furious that the hosts continued playing while the Nerazzurri had a man down, but Milinkovic-Savic made sure of victory with a close-range header in stoppage time.

"For an hour we put in one of our best performances. Then we conceded a penalty and when the strange second goal arrived we lost our heads," Inzaghi told DAZN.

"This must not happen. It can happen that the referee does not blow his whistle or the opponent does not put the ball out. But Milinkovic-Savic was alone for the third goal."

Inter’s first defeat of the season leaves them third in the standings on 17 points, with Lazio moving up to fifth place, three points behind them.

It was an emotional day for Inzaghi, who left Lazio in the off-season after 22 years there as a player and coach to take charge of Inter, and returned for the first time as an opposing manager.

The 45-year-old was warmly greeted by the home crowd, with a banner held up saying “22 years with our colours will not be forgotten”, and it was Inzaghi’s side who took charge early on.

Perisic converted from the spot on the 12th minute after Elseid Hysaj tripped Nicolo Barella in the box, and the Croatian came close to a second before the break when his powerful strike was well saved by Pepe Reina.

The home side were struggling to find a way through a resolute visiting defence until they were awarded a penalty of their own on the 64th minute for an Alessandro Bastoni handball, which Immobile dispatched.

But the game truly came to life in the final 10 minutes. Anderson’s equaliser, a rebound from a Samir Handanovic parry, sparked an angry reaction from the Inter players, as the counter-attack leading to the goal came while Federico Dimarco was lying on the pitch with an injury.

The goal was checked by VAR and allowed to stand and Lazio went on to add a third on the 91st minute, nodding in a Luis Alberto free-kick.

However, scuffles between players reignited after the full-time whistle and Biancocelesti defender Luiz Felipe was shown a red card.

Earlier on Saturday, Spezia came from behind to beat second-bottom Salernitana 2-1 and move up to 15th place in what could prove to be a crucial result in the relegation battle.

Haaland scores twice on return to send Dortmund top of Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund's Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates during the Bundesliga match against 1. FSV Mainz 05 - Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund

IMAGE: Borussia Dortmund's Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates during the Bundesliga match against 1. FSV Mainz 05 - Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund. Photograph: Leon Kuegeler/Reuters

Borussia Dortmund top striker Erling Haaland scored twice on his return from injury with a second half penalty to help his team beat Mainz 05 3-1 on Saturday to go top of the Bundesliga table.

The Norwegian forward, who had been out since late September with a muscle injury, looked to be back at his very best and continued his sensational scoring run in the Bundesliga, having now netted 49 times in 49 league matches.

The 21-year-old opened his account on Saturday with a spot kick in the 54th minute following a lengthy VAR review over a hand ball and then struck again deep in second-half stoppage time.

 

Dortmund go top on 18 points, two ahead of champions Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen, who face each other on Sunday. Freiburg are also on 16 points following their 1-1 against RB Leipzig.

"It is clear he had been missing in our team," Dortmund captain Marco Reus, who scored their opener, said of Haaland. "It is important that he plays because he constantly keeps two or three players occupied."

"To score two goals on his comeback is top. That is why we signed him."

The hosts, who travel to Ajax Amsterdam for the Champions League next week, had shot out of the blocks and earned a dream start with Reus thumping in a deflected cutback in the third minute for a dream start.

It was Reus's 14th goal in 20 games against Mainz, the most he has scored against any Bundesliga club.

In a tense first half Dortmund had three quarters of possession but had to wait almost the entire half for another chance in stoppage time, when a Jude Bellingham effort was cleared off the line.

Haaland's penalty gave Dortmund a measure of comfort in the second half and Mats Hummels hit the post with a glancing header but the visitors were not yet done.

Mainz struck with Jonathan Burkardt in the 87th from a mistake by Dortmund keeper Gregor Kobel to set up a nervous finale, before Haaland settled it in extra time to make it 70 goals in 68 matches in all competitions for his club, securing them their ninth consecutive home league win.

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Source: REUTERS
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