AC Milan, Inter earn first wins of the season

AC Milan and Inter Milan both earned their first wins of the season on Saturday to surge clear of the relegation zone.

Updated: September 25, 2011 10:12 IST
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Rome: AC Milan and Inter Milan both earned their first wins of the season on Saturday to surge clear of the relegation zone.

Claudio Ranieri's Inter reign began successfully after two goals in the last 10 minutes secured a 3-1 victory at Bologna.

And neighbours Milan also secured three points as veteran midfielder Clarence Seedorf scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at home to rock-bottom Cesena who are still without a point.

For Ranieri it was the ideal start since replacing Gian Piero Gasperini, who was fired in midweek after losing four out of five games, and drawing the other.

Giampaolo Pazzini gave Inter a first-half lead before Alessandro Diamanti equalised from the spot.

The winner came from a somewhat generous penalty award in which Bologna's Archimede Morleo was dismissed after the slightest of contact with Diego Milito in the box.

Milito converted the 81st-minute spot-kick before Brazil centre-back Lucio added a third, three minutes from time.

"It was important to start off on the right foot, the lads need to rediscover the path to victory and their self-confidence," said Ranieri.

"The first half was good, we used the ball well and played some good football in certain situations with Coutinho. In the second half they (Bologna) started to push forward and I tried to tighten things up (by withdrawing Coutinho).

"They're a good group, they're winners and those that have known sweet things cannot get used to bitter ones."

The difference in Inter under Ranieri was immediately apparent as they showed more verve and energy and went about attacking their hosts with considerable gusto.

They should have been in front on eight minutes as Daniele Portanova fluffed a clearance but from eight yards out Walter Samuel shot straight at Jean Francois Gillet, who saved with his feet.

In a frenetic opening Inter's Diego Forlan then hit a fine strike from distance that clipped the outside of the post.

Inter went in front on 39 minutes but largely due to a clanger from Gillet.

Forlan set up Pazzini whose shot from 22 yards was close to Gillet. The keeper got a hand on the ball but somehow let it in at his near post.

Inter were on the attack again after the break as Coutinho embarked on a mazy dribble before his shot was blocked and Esteban Cambiasso inadvertently chipped the follow-up onto the bar.

Samuel then manhandled Portanova to the ground in the box at a corner and the referee pointed to the spot.

Cesar dived the right way and got a touch on Diamanti's spot-kick but the ball still sneaked in on 66 minutes.

Morleo then tangled with substitute Milito as he ran onto Pazzini's backheel, the Argentine crumbling to the ground.

Morleo was dismissed and Milito dispatched the spot-kick.

Lucio then headed home a free-kick three minutes from time against the 10 men.

AC Milan went in front against Cesena five minutes in with a goal that owed a lot to sheer luck.

Seedorf cut in from the left and curled a cross into the box but he overhit it and saw the ball beat Nicola Ravaglia in the Cesena goal as it sailed into the top corner.

There were few genuine chances in the first half with Urby Emanuelson firing wide for Milan and Gianluca Comotto going close for the visitors.

After the break teenage striker Stephan El Shaarawy, the hero in Wednesday's 1-1 draw at home to Udinese, forced Ravaglia into a close-range block.

A smart dummy by the 18-year-old, making his first start for the Rossoneri, handed Seedorf a scoring chance but he missed the target.

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri wasn't entirely convinced by his team.

"We were a bit tired but we should have closed out the game because at the end we could have conceded given Cesena were dominating territorially," he said.

The other game saw Napoli fail to move back to the top of the standings as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Fiorentina.

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