European roundup: Ibrahimovic scores for Milan; Lazio overturn Napoli
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored on his first start since returning to Milan as his side earned a 2-0 win away to Cagliari on Saturday to end a three-match winless run in Serie A. The Swede, who joined the Italian club for a second time on a free transfer in December, swept the ball in in the 64th minute after Rafael Leão’s deflected strike broke the deadlock early in the second half.
Ibrahimovic, who made his second debut for the club off the bench during Monday’s 0-0 draw with Sampdoria, has now scored a top-flight senior goal in four different decades. The result elevates Milan to eighth place on 25 points before the rest of the weekend’s fixtures, after a run of three games without victory, in which they failed to score a single goal. Cagliari have now suffered four consecutive league defeats, but remain in sixth place with 29 points.
“It’s important for a striker to score; sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn’t,” Ibrahimovic told Sky Sport Italia. “I feel good, I got a few things wrong at the start of the game, but I need a few matches to get into top form. The coach thinks about my age but it’s not a problem, my mind is still sharp and the body must follow.”
A late penalty save by Inter’s Samir Handanovic secured a point for the Serie A leaders against Atalanta in a 1-1 draw at San Siro on Saturday as they moved one point clear of the champions Juventus. Lautaro Martínez had fired Antonio Conte’s side in front after four minutes but Robin Gosens levelled for the visitors with 15 minutes remaining.
Atalanta had a golden chance to snatch all three points from the penalty spot with two minutes left, but Handanovic dived to save Luis Muriel’s spot kick. Inter are top of the table on 46 points from 19 games at the midway stage of the season, but Juve can overtake them by beating Roma away on Sunday. Atalanta remain in fifth place on 35 points, level with fourth-placed Roma.
Lazio recorded a club-record 10th consecutive Serie A victory by beating Napoli 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico thanks to a late howler from the visiting goalkeeper David Ospina. Colombian international Ospina was caught in possession inside his own box after 82 minutes, allowing Ciro Immobile to curl in his 20th league goal of the season.
Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli came close to scoring as Piotr Zielinski hit the post and Lorenzo Insigne was denied three times by the Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha, but Gattuso was consigned to a third defeat in his four games as manager. Lazio are third in the table with 42 points from 18 games, four behind Inter and three behind Juventus, while struggling Napoli dropped to 10th place on 24 points.
Lyon made a provisional leap up the Ligue 1 standings when Maxwel Cornet scored and set up their second goal in a 2-1 win at Bordeaux. Cornet cancelled out Jimmy Briand’s early opener after the break and set up Moussa Dembélé for the second as Lyon, who have 29 points from 20 games, jumped from 12th to sixth.
Montpellier claimed their first away win of the season by beating Amiens 2-1 as they climbed to fifth on 30 points thanks to Andy Delort’s late winner. Briand intercepted a poor back pass from Joachim Andersen to beat goalkeeper Anthony Lopes from close range in the 15th minute.
Cornet, however, levelled five minutes into the second half with a slightly deflected long-range strike. Dembélé gave the hosts the lead three minutes later with a low cross-shot after being played through by Cornet.
It was the first time Rudi Garcia’s team had won two league matches in a row since he took over in October. Leaders Paris St Germain, who have 45 points from 18 games, host Monaco on Sunday. They lead second-placed Marseille, over whom they have two games in hand after beating Rennes 1-0 away on Friday, by four points.
In Spain, Barcelona, Valencia, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid were not in action, with the last two contesting the Supercopa final in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. The rest of La Liga played in the Copa del Rey, with Getafe, the highest-placed team in action, losing 2-0 away to third-tier Badalona.