Serie A – Beckham helps Milan into second

Eurosport

David Beckham had a hand in two goals as Milan brushed aside Lazio 3-0 in Rome to go second in Serie A.

FOOTBALL 2008-09 Serie A - David Beckham crosses for Pato to score for Milan against Lazio - 0

Pato opened the scoring for the away side three minutes before the break, firing a first-time shot inside Fernando Muslera‘s near post from a squared cross by Beckham.

The former England captain had sprung the offside trap from a defence-splitting Kaka pass down the right.

Two minutes after the restart Beckham notched up another assist as he continued his impressive fledgling Italian career, swinging a free-kick from the right wing to the far post where Massimo Ambrosini headed home.

The wide man again looked comfortable as he tracked back and attacked down the right whenever possible. He could have had a third assist when his ball over the top played Kaka in, but the former Manchester City target hit the outside of the post with his shot.

The victory was assured when Kaka finished low with seven minutes remaining after a brilliant one-two with Clarence Seedorf.

Lazio were the better side for long stretches of the first half, with former Birmingham man Mauro Zarate lively in attack.

However Milan’s patient play paid dividends and allowed them to leapfrog Juventus and move six points behind city rivals and leaders Internazionale.

INTERNAZIONALE 1-1 TORINO

Inter could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to struggling Torino.

Rolando Bianchi gave Torino the lead with a superb header just after the break before defender Nicolas Burdisso nodded the equaliser for Inter, who piled on the pressure in the closing stages and hit the post twice.

Champions Inter failed to take full advantage of second-placed Juventus losing 3-2 at home to Cagliari on Saturday and now hold a seven-point lead, which Milan could cut to six with a win at Lazio later.

Since returning from the mid-season break, Inter have drawn with Cagliari, been easily beaten at Atalanta, scraped a win at home to Sampdoria and played well in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory at Catania.

The Torino game followed the patchy pattern with Inter only really coming to life late on after a forgettable first half.

Bianchi expertly arched his neck to head home with goalkeeper Julio Cesar slightly wrongfooted at the start of the second half but Burdisso brought the champions level after Torino goalkeeper Matteo Sereni failed to claim the ball.

Hernan Crespo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck the woodwork in a frantic finish and Inter substitute Ricardo Quaresma, heckled by his own fans, spurned a great chance. Torino’s Ignazio Abate was also lucky not to concede a penalty for handball.

“I never like drawing at home but I accept it. We created lots of chances but Torino defended with a fantastic spirit,” Inter coach Jose Mourinho told Sky as he bemoaned the absence of the suspended Sulley Muntari and Dejan Stankovic‘s first-half injury.

ATALANTA 1 CATANIA 0

Atalanta’s home form continues to be their strength but Catania were angry that a late Giuseppe Mascara effort was wrongly ruled out for offside.

Tiberio Guarante fired in superbly from the edge of the area midway through the first half after Catania had failed to clear the ball after a scramble.

BOLOGNA P-P FIORENTINA

The game was postponed just before kickoff because of heavy snow.

They will attempt to play the game on Monday at 1400 GMT.

CHIEVO 1 SAMPDORIA 1

Luca Rigoni’s 72nd-minute goal gave lowly Chievo a share of the spoils after a scrappy game.

Samp striker Giampaolo Pazzini had produced the one piece of class when he chested down and hooked in two minutes before Chievo’s equaliser.

GENOA 1 PALERMO 0

Domenico Criscito forced the ball home on 88 minutes to hand fourth-placed Genoa a deserved win after they created scores of chances.

Criscito and Giuseppe Biava hit the woodwork in the first half and striker Diego Milito should have scored when put through early in the second period.

REGGINA 2 AS ROMA 2

Francesco Cozza slammed in after Simone Loria‘s weak clearance in the mud to snatch a draw for the bottom side and end Roma’s run of four straight wins.

David Pizarro had fired in from 30 metres and netted on the rebound after his penalty was saved to put Roma 2-1 up. Reggina striker Bernardo Corradi slotted in a penalty minutes before Pizarro’s first having been pulled down by Philippe Mexes.

Fifth-placed Roma were missing three strikers with Francesco Totti out with a bad back, Julio Baptista injured and Mirko Vucinic going down with ‘flu before kick-off.

SIENA 1 LECCE 2

Ten-man Lecce moved four points clear of the drop zone after a hard-fought win. Striker Simone Tiribocchi sprung Siena’s offside trap and picked his spot on 15 minutes but team mate Guillermo Giacomazzi was dismissed four minutes before the break for a second yellow card having raised an elbow.

Jose Castillo increased their lead in the second half and Abdelkader Ghezzal’s 79th-minute header was too late for Siena.

Jonathan Symcox / Reuters

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