Dzeko still on top as Roma, Mi­lan nudge Ju­ven­tus

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

EDIN DZEKO (car­i­ca­ture) took his Se­rie A scor­ing lead to eight goals in nine games as Roma out­classed Palermo 4-1 to re­claim sec­ond spot and move to within two points off lead­ers Ju­ven­tus yes­ter­day.

Roma had dropped to third af­ter AC Mi­lan stunned cham­pi­ons Ju­ven­tus 1-0 on Satur­day when teenaged mid­fielder Manuel Lo­catelli beat Gian­luigi Buf­fon with a sec­ond-half scorcher.

But Lu­ciano Spal­letti’s men had no prob­lem join­ing fel­low Scud­etto hope­fuls in cap­i­tal­is­ing on Juve’s rare slip, the Gial­lorossi wow­ing fans with a well-oiled at­tack­ing per­for­mance that kept them firmly in the ti­tle chase.

“You have to be pre­pared to seize the day, climb on board and se­cure the right re­sult as we did tonight,” said Spal­letti.

“But if any­one had a great re­sult, it was Mi­lan. They have the tools, be­gin­ning with their coach (Vincenzo Mon­tella) to be able to chal­lenge in this cham­pi­onship and they showed it.”

Ju­ven­tus re­main top but their sec­ond de­feat of the cam­paign, af­ter a 2-1 re­verse to In­ter Mi­lan last month, has re­duced their ad­van­tage to two points on Roma and AC Mi- lan. Fel­low ti­tle hope­fuls Napoli are back in the hunt af­ter a cagey 2-1 win at base­ment side Cro­tone yes­ter­day moved the 2016 run­ners-up to fourth, at only four points adrift. A light­ning start at the Sta­dio Olimpico saw Stephan El Shaarawy, who hit a brace in a 3-3 Europa League draw against Aus­tria Vi­enna in mid­week, come close with a smash­ing right-foot vol­ley from Dzeko’s pass. The hosts fi­nally broke the dead­lock on 31 min­utes, Mo­hamed Salah burst­ing through to meet Dzeko’s flick and nut­meg Josip Posavec at the near post. Spal­letti had re­placed Je­sus with Alessan­dro Florenzi at half­time, and on 68 min­utes Dzeko pounced on the Italy mid­fielder’s de­liv­ery to beat Posavec with an un­stop­pable daisy­cut­ter. Palermo re­duced ar­rears when Robin Quai­son beat Szczesny with a de­flected 25-yard drive 10 min­utes from the end. But a Roma counter two min­utes later saw El Shaarawy claim his third goal in two games when he col­lected Salah’s un­selfish pass to beat Posavec on 82 min­utes. – AFP

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