Theo Hernandez’s stoppage-time winner ensured AC Milan ended the year top of Serie A after beating Lazio 3-2 on Wednesday.
The Milan players all piled on top of Hernandez in joyful celebration after his late winner. Milan had let slip a two-goal lead and seemed set to head into the winter break behind city rival Inter Milan, which had won 2-1 at Hellas Verona earlier.
The Rossoneri instead go into the festive period a point above Inter and edging closer to ending its 10-year title drought as the last remaining unbeaten team across Europe’s top five leagues.
”It’s a very important goal. For the team. I’m happy,” Hernandez said. ”We fought right until the end and it was worth it.
”Lazio had a good game. But we never gave up.”
Milan had got off to a fast start, taking the lead in the 10th minute when a corner was whipped in from the left and Ante Rebic headed in at the far post.
And the game appeared to be going to plan when Hakan Calhanoglu doubled Milan’s advantage just seven minutes later from the penalty spot after Lazio defender Patric was adjudged to have fouled Rebic.
However, Lazio got back into the match in the 28th when it was awarded a penalty of its own on video review after Pierre Kalulu caught Joaquin Correa from behind.
Gianluigi Donnarumma saved Ciro Immobile’s spotkick but Luis Alberto headed in the rebound.
The comeback was completed in the 59th. Immobile had scored in all but one of his previous 12 matches and he did so again with an angled drive into the bottom right corner after a perfectly lofted pass from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
Milan twice came close to restoring its lead in the dying minutes and it finally did so when Hernandez headed in a corner at the near post to spark scenes of wild celebration.
Goals from Lautaro Martinez and Milan Skriniar helped Inter to its seventh successive league victory.
Inter broke the deadlock seven minutes into the second half with a spectacular Martinez volley in off the inside of the far post from Achraf Hakimi’s cross.
But a series of Inter errors led to Verona’s equalizer in the 63rd. Ashley Young allowed Davide Faraoni to get in a cross that Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic appeared to have in his grasp but he fumbled it and the ball ended up between the legs of a confused Skriniar, who appeared frozen, as Ivan Ilic tapped it in.
Skriniar atoned for his error six minutes later when he headed in Marcelo Brozovic’s cross.
RACE FOR THIRD
Roma moved into third spot after goals from Gianluca Mancini, Edin Dzeko and Jordan Veretout helped it beat Cagliari 3-2.
The capital side ended the year seven points off top spot, with Sassuolo a point further back following a 3-2 victory at Sampdoria.
Napoli slipped from third to fifth after a 1-1 draw at home to relegation-threatened Torino.
Napoli, however, has played a match fewer than the teams above it.
Genoa won a relegation battle 2-1 at Spezia to inch to within a point of safety. Spezia occupied the last position of safety in Serie A.
Also, Atalanta let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Bologna and Benevento beat Udinese 2-0.
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