Theo Hernandez nodded in a late winner to keep AC Milan top of Serie A heading into the winter break with a 3-2 victory over Lazio on Wednesday.
Milan are one point ahead of city rivals Inter who earlier extended their winning run to seven games with a 2-1 success over Hellas Verona.
Lazio had come from two goals down thanks to Luis Alberto and Ciro Immobile but French defender Hernandez headed in his third goal in as many games in injury time to seal all three points. Milan shook off the continued absence of injured star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to continue their unbeaten run which goes back to last March as they target a first Serie A title since 2011.
The two Milan clubs have surged ahead of their rivals, with Roma moving up to third, six points behind Inter, after a 3-2 win over Cagliari.
Napoli dropped from third to fifth, two points behind Roma, despite Lorenzo Insigne scoring late to rescue a 1-1 draw at home with rock-bottom Torino. Reigning champions Juventus are sixth — 10 points adrift of top spot — after crashing to their first Serie A defeat of the season, 3-0 at home against Fiorentina on Tuesday. “It’ll certainly be a more even league, because many teams have strengthened and want to have their say,” added Conte, as the Milan clubs try to deny Juventus a 10th consecutive Scudetto.
Sassuolo moved up fourth with a 3-2 win over Sampdoria as seventh-placed Atalanta were held 2-2 at Bologna. At the San Siro, Ante Rebic headed in the opener for Milan from a Hakan Calhanoglu corner on 10 minutes, with the Turkish midfielder adding a second from the penalty spot seven minutes later.
Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved an Immobile penalty but Luis Alberto headed in the rebound. But Lazio’s top scorer grabbed the equaliser before the hour mark, finishing off a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic cross for his ninth league goal of the campaign, only for Hernandez to have the final say
In Rome, Jordan Veretout scored the opener on 11 minutes, with Edin Dzeko also on target in the second half before Gianluca Mancini’s header proved decisive with 13 minutes remaining. Joao Pedro scored both Cagliari goals, the second from the penalty spot in injury time.
New Genoa coach Davide Ballardini got off to a winning start, 2-1 at promoted Spezia, for just their second victory of the season and first since September 20.