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Ibrahimovic’s acrobatic strike stretches Milan’s unbeaten run

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic continued his remarkable scoring streak with an acrobatic late strike to secure Milan a 2-1 win over Udinese, stretching the Rossoneri’s unbeaten run in all competitions to 24 games.

Stefano Pioli’s men appeared to be heading for an underwhelming draw with a side that had lost all but one of their first five Serie A games this term, but Ibrahimovic was decisive in the latter stages as he became the first Milan player to score in six successive league appearances since he accomplished the feat in 2012.

Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring the 2-1 lead during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Udinese Calcio and AC Milan in Udine, Italy, 01 November 2020. EPA-EFE/GABRIELE MENIS

The 39-year-old Swede – who scored braces in each of his previous three league outings – had already made a telling contribution in setting up Franck Kessie’s empathic opener.

Hosts Udinese levelled through a Rodrigo de Paul penalty just two minutes into the second half, but Milan pressed for a late winner and it duly arrived via Ibrahimovic, whose close-range bicycle kick opened up a four-point cushion at the Serie A summit for at least a couple of hours.

Cristiano Ronaldo returned from coronavirus to rescue Juventus from a third straight Serie A stalemate with a brace in their 4-1 win at Spezia on Sunday. Andrea Pirlo’s men had been held by both Crotone and Hellas Verona in the absence of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner before he finally tested negative on Friday and was cleared to make his comeback.

Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo (R) in action during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Spezia Calcio and Juventus FC in Cesena, Italy, 01 November 2020. EPA-EFE/PASQUALE BOVE

Ronaldo was still only fit enough to make the bench, however, and watched on as Alvaro Morata’s opener was cancelled out by Tommaso Pobega in fortuitous fashion and the Bianconeri subsequently toiled. Inevitably, Pirlo turned to his talisman and the 35-year-old netted just 126 seconds after his arrival, later converting a Panenka penalty for his second after fellow substitute Adrien Rabiot had all but secured a welcome victory.

Morata – denied three times by the offside flag against Barcelona in midweek – was grateful for a VAR review as he tapped in the opener from an onside position following Weston McKennie’s unselfish square pass. A second Morata goal was ruled out, however, and another decision went against Juve as Spezia levelled.

Pobega fired beyond Gianluigi Buffon with the aid of a deflection as the Bianconeri appealed in vain that M’Bala Nzola had made the telling touch while offside.  A sublime last-ditch Julian Chabot challenge denied Juan Cuadrado in front of the goal line late in the first half, but Pirlo did not wait long after the restart to introduce Ronaldo

The impact was immediate as the Portuguese rounded Ivan Provedel from Morata’s pass to slot into the net. While Juve survived another scare as Kevin Agudelo saw a leveller chalked off when Buffon spilled Chabot’s header, Rabiot put the result beyond doubt, dancing through the Spezia defence and finishing via the post.

And when Federico Chiesa was clumsily tripped Paolo Bartolomei, Ronaldo clipped a cute spot-kick down the centre of the goal for number four.

Lazio produced the most dramatic comeback of the Serie A season so far when they scored twice in stoppage time to win 4-3 at Torino on Sunday after their opponents had themselves taken the lead in the 87th minute.

It was a morale-boosting win for Lazio, who have struggled to find the form which made them title contenders last season, and a shattering blow for Torino who have only one point from five games.

Lazio players celebrate their 4-3 lead during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Torino FC and SS Lazio at the Olimpico Grande Torino stadium in Turin, Italy, 01 November 2020. EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO

Lazio went ahead through Andreas Pereira in the 15th minute but the Bulls quickly turned the game around when Bremer levelled with a diving header and Andrea Belotti won and converted a penalty in the 25th minute.

Lazio, who have 10 points from six games, levelled four minutes after halftime when Sergej Milinkovic-Savic curled in a free kick.

Both teams had further chances before Sasa Lukic won possession off Wesley Hoedt to give Torino the lead with three minutes of normal time left.

It was far from over, however, as Lazio were awarded a penalty after VAR spotted that Ciro Immobile’s shot had hit Nicolas Nkoulou’s trailing hand and Immobile converted to equalise in the 95th minute.

The visitors then snatched all three points as Felipe Caicedo fired home in the eighth minute of stoppage time after the ball ricocheted around the area.

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