Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores penalty in fourth successive Serie A match for AC Milan
Italian champions return to the top of the table with 2-0 win at home to Siena
Atalanta's German Denis heads scoring charts after 11th goal in draw with Fiorentina
Chievo move up to eighth place with a 2-0 win at home to Cagliari
AC Milan returned to the top of Italy’s Serie A with a 2-0 victory at home to Siena on Saturday that put the defending champions a point clear of their main rivals.
The win lifted Massimiliano Allegri’s team above unbeaten Juventus and Udinese, who face Novara and fourth-placed Lazio respectively on Sunday.
Milan could only draw with Bologna last weekend, and struggled to break down a Siena side hovering just above the relegation zone.
But midfielder Antonio Nocerino broke the deadlock with a low shot 10 minutes after halftime for his sixth league goal this season, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic sealed victory with his fifth penalty in the last six Serie A matches.
The Sweden striker stepped up in the 64th minute after Siena’s on-loan Serbian goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic was ruled to have brought down midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng despite minimal contact.
Milan, now unbeaten at home in 18 matches this calendar year, travel to Cagliari on Tuesday before the winter break begins.
It was Ibrahimovic’s 10th league goal this season, putting him level with Udinese forward Antonio Di Natale in second place in the scoring charts.
They are one behind Atalanta’s on-loan Argentine striker German Denis, who netted again in Saturday’s pulsating 2-2 draw at Fiorentina.
Former Italy striker Alberto Gilardino put the home side ahead in the ninth minute, but defender Andrea Masiello leveled for Atalanta with nine minutes to play.
Denis, whose parent club is Udinese, put the visitors ahead in the 86th minute but 22-year-old Montenegro forward Stevan Jovetic replied soon after to leave both teams on 17 points after 15 games – three above Siena.
Chievo moved up to eighth place with a 2-0 win at home to Cagliari, as French striker Cyril Thereau scored 10 minutes before halftime and substitute Gennaro Sardo netted on 57.
Thereau was on target for the second time this season, and also provided the assist for Sardo.
The defeat left the Sardinians a point below their opponents in 11th.