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Seedorf kicks off his Milan era with victory

English.news.cn   2014-01-20 09:31:48

MILAN, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Clarence Seedorf's era at AC Milan got off to a winning start on Sunday as his side beat Verona 1-0 at San Siro thanks to Mario Balotelli's penalty kick.

Balotelli converted the penalty in the 82nd minute, after Alejandro Gonzalez clumsily fouled Kaka.

Seedorf, who played at Milan from 2002 to 2012, was appointed this week to replace the sacked Massimiliano Allegri, cut a happy figure the win which saw Robinho's second-half shot deflected onto the post.

"I am happy for the squad, as there is a lot of work to do and a win makes it all feel easier," he said.

"The first half was very good, whereas after the break fatigue set in. I liked the pressing as soon as we lost the ball and keeping the defence very high."

"This victory came at the end with a penalty, but I still believe it was deserved considering the performance over 90 minutes," he said.

Napoli were held 2-2 at Bologna, as Rolando Bianchi's stoppage-time strike rescued a draw for the 10-man hosts.

Bianchi latched on an Alessandro Diamanti's assist to open the scoring in the 37th minute, before Napoli flexed their muscle in the second half.

Gonzalo Higuain's penalty equalized for the visitors in the 62nd minute, and Jose Callejon struck with 10 minutes to play.

Bologna's Panagiotis Kone was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 84th minute, but Bianchi was still able to claim a crucial point for his struggling side.

Napoli head coach Rafa Benitez conceded his side are still missing something.

"I believe Napoli's campaign is very positive. Of course we can improve and this game shows we are still missing something," he said.

"Did you expect Juventus to get 55 points? Last season at this stage Juve had 45 points, so we are on track. Napoli have had a very good season, but Juventus and Roma have done better," he said.

Fourth-placed Fiorentina are just three points behind Napoli after a comfortable 3-0 win at rock-bottom Catania.

Debutant Alessandro Matri scored two goals in the first half, one more than that he scored at AC Milan at a half season, as Vincenzo Montella's side extended their unbeaten streak to seven.

Inter's winless run was stretched to four as they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Genoa.

Luca Antonelli headed home a corner with seven minutes remaining, enabling Gian Piero Gasperini to celebrate victory against his former charges for the first time.

Inter head coach was at a loss to explain why his side could not find the net.

"It's difficult to explain why we didn't score today, as we had plenty of chances and it is annoying, as we're throwing away important points recently," he said.

"We need to keep working and find the incident that will turn the tide. Maybe we're unlucky, or maybe we are lacking sharpness, but those things are tough to fix in training."

"Considering our performances on the field, I thought we deserved a few more points, perhaps five more in the table. We'll have to keep believing in our football and our organization until it goes our way," he said.

Parma notched up their third Serie A win in a row with a 2-1 win at Chievo. Alessandro Lucarelli scored the winner in the 93rd minute.

Lazio also sealed an away win with a stoppage-time goal, as Hernanes' late effort wrapped up a 3-2 victory at Udinese.

Lazio trailed twice but an Andrea Lazzari own goal pulled them level with eight minutes left and there was still time for Hernanes to shock the hosts.

Other results saw Torino win 2-0 at Sassuolo while Atalanta edged Cagliari 1-0.

Editor: Yamei Wang
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