Flamini Nets Rare Goal as Milan Near Title
Monday, 02 May 2011
Mathieu Flamini scored only his second ever Serie A goal to give AC Milan a nervous 1-0 win over Bologna on Sunday and put the Rossoneri within a point of the title.
Milan, who almost conceded an equaliser in the second half, moved eight points clear of second-placed Inter Milan with three games left and can seal their first scudetto since 2004 with a draw at AS Roma next Saturday.
A point will be enough because Milan have a better head-to-head record -- which decides the title if two teams are level on points -- than Inter, champions for the last five seasons.
French midfielder Flamini, at Milan for three years, netted after eight minutes when he prodded in at the second attempt after his first effort had been saved following a barnstorming.
He had another chance in the first half but tamely shot at Italy reserve goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano who also saved from Antonio Cassano, playing as a main striker again with Zlatan Ibrahimovic still serving a suspension.
Mid-table Bologna had opportunities too in the second half with Henry Jimenez and Miguel Britos heading just wide.
"It was a game with a bit of tension," said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.
"We played a good first half and in the second we dropped our level a bit. We must prepare well for the game in Rome."
Milan's victory ended third-placed Napoli's title hopes, leaving them nine points behind the leaders with a worse head-to-head record despite a 1-0 win over Genoa on Saturday.
Defending champions Inter, though, made sure the title race would continue for another week with Saturday's last-gasp 2-1 victory at strugglers Cesena where Giampaolo Pazzini grabbed a stoppage-time double.
At the bottom, Sampdoria moved a point clear of the relegation zone after a late 3-3 draw with second-from-bottom Brescia while third-from-bottom Lecce lost 1-0 at Chievo.
Former European Cup finalists Samp have dropped like a stone since selling forwards Cassano and Pazzini in January and were only spared more angst by Daniele Mannini's injury-time equaliser in an enthralling contest.
Brescia, 10 points above already-relegated Bari, trail Lecce by four points.
Fifth-placed Udinese's bid to finish fourth and earn a place in the Champions League qualifying round was hit by a 5-2 reverse at Fiorentina.
Lazio, a point above Udinese, can strengthen their grip on fourth place in Monday's home clash with seventh-placed Juventus.
Sixth-placed Roma, in the final guaranteed Europa League berth, visit Bari later on Sunday (1845).