MI­LAN THUMP EM­POLI, CHIEVO FU­RI­OUS AF­TER DE­FEAT

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

GIAN­LUCA LA­PADULA scored his first Serie A brace to help AC Mi­lan thump Em­poli 4-1 away yes­ter­day while Chievo were left fum­ing af­ter their 2-1 de­feat at Torino. The win moved sec­ond-placed Mi­lan, who are en­joy­ing a re­vival this sea­son un­der coach Vin­cenzo Mon­tella, within four points of lead­ers Ju­ven­tus who face an awk­ward trip to Genoa later. La­padula, signed in the close sea­son af­ter scor­ing 30 goals to help win Pescara pro­mo­tion from Serie B last sea­son, put the vis­i­tors ahead af­ter 15 min­utes. The 26-year-old, who has spent his en­tire ca­reer in the lower di­vi­sions of the Ital­ian league apart from a sea­son with Gor­ica in Slove­nia, turned in Suso’s cross with a first-time shot af­ter Em­poli lost pos­ses­sion. Em­poli quickly equalised when Mi­lan goal­keeper Gian­luigi Don­narumma flapped at Massimo Mac­carone’s cross and the un­marked Ric­cardo Saponara blasted the ball in, end­ing a five-match score­less run in home games for the Blues. Mi­lan ap­peared to be mak­ing heavy weather of the game un­til they floored Em­poli with three goals in a 16-minute spell in the sec­ond half. Suso side-footed in Ig­nazio Abate’s cross in the 61st minute, Em­poli de­fender An­drea Costa turned La­padula’s low cross into his own net and La­padula him­self scored the fourth with an an­gled drive. Chievo coach Rolando Maran claimed that his side should have been awarded three penal­ties and that one of Torino’s goals was off­side af­ter his team’s de­feat. “This con­tro­ver­sial sit­u­a­tion has shaped the match,” he said. “If the right de­ci­sions had been made, we would not have lost.”

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