AC Milan extend Serie A lead, Juve draw

AC Milan have extended their lead to four points at the top of Serie A with a 2-0 win over Lecce as Juventus were held 0-0 at Genoa.

Goals from Antonio Nocerino and Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave Milan a comfortable victory on Sunday.

Juve, who were facing a defensive selection crisis, drew for the fourth game in a row and sixth time in their last seven outings.

Although unbeaten, they have now drawn more than half their league matches this season.

And that is what has allowed champions Milan to not only haul them in but streak past as they bid for a second title in a row.

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted nothing was decided despite their lead.

“It’s not a decisive step but it is an important one because we won while Juve didn’t,” he said.

“We still need consistency and balance because I remember in Udine (where they won 2-1), with a quarter of an hour left, we were practically out of the title running.

“Now we have a one-match advantage, but there are still 11 games left.

“We had a very good first 20 minutes. Everything seemed so easy, but then we started giving away a lot of balls. Things went better in the second half.”

The rossoneri never looked in any danger of dropping points against Lecce and took the lead after just seven minutes.

Robinho chipped the ball into the box and Ibrahimovic’s back-heel flick found Nocerino, whose volleyed finish deflected off Leonardo Miglionico and beat goalkeeper Massimiliano Benassi.

Milan created plenty of shooting chances around the box but produced nothing to unduly worry Benassi.

But they moved further in front on 65 minutes as another Robinho chip into the box found Urby Emanuelson, whose cushioned headed back to Ibrahimovic was lashed ruthlessly into the net.

Lecce remain third from bottom and are now six points from safety following Siena’s 2-0 win at Cesena and Parma’s 1-1 draw at Atalanta.

Juventus, who refused to talk to the press after the game, may have been missing all three of their Italy centre-backs but they showed few ill effects as they dominated in Genoa.

They had the first good chance as French goalkeeper Sebastien Frey got down well to save from Simone Pepe.

Alberto Gilardino had a pair of chances for the hosts but headed the first off target and swiped the second over the bar.

Mirko Vucinic slipped in Alessandro Matri for the visitors but Marco Rossi was across quickly to block the striker’s finish.

Bosko Jankovic tried his luck from a free-kick but it deflected off Gilardino, taking away all the pace.

Juve came storming out after the break and hit the woodwork three times in the first 15 minutes of the second period.

Vucincic headed an Andrea Pirlo corner against the bar before Pirlo had a fizzing shot tipped just over.

Vucinic then headed against the outside of the post from Pepe’s cross before Pepe ran onto a Pirlo free-kick and from six yards hit a side-foot volley smack onto the post.

Genoa finally eased the pressure and created a chance of their own but Gianluigi Buffon stood up well to Kakha Kaladze’s back-post volley.

Juve finally had the ball in the net through Pepe, who this time found the goal from three yards out, but it was ruled out for a narrow offside.

Gilardino was played in behind the Juve defence and took the ball around Buffon but from a tight angle he fired well off target.

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