Jeremy Menez at the Double as AC Milan End Winless Run
AC Milan beat Udinese to grab their first win in six matches to move up to provisional fifth in Serie A.
Jeremy Menez struck a second-half brace in a 2-0 win over Udinese as struggling AC Milan grabbed their first success in six matches to move up to provisional fifth in Serie A on Sunday.
Juventus host Torino in their city derby later, looking to at least maintain their three-point lead over Roma, who host Inter Milan at the Olympic Stadium in the evening.
On what was familiar San Siro terrain for coach Andrea Stramaccioni, formerly of Inter, Udinese were bidding to hand Milan only their 14th defeat in 79 meetings between the sides.
But Udinese's reputation for struggling to reproduce their formidable home form on their travels came back to haunt them, while both sides finished with 10 men after Maurizio Domizzi and Michael Essien were sent off within minutes of each other late in the second half.
Domizzi's expulsion followed his tug on Keisuke Honda, which earned the hosts a penalty just after the hour.
Menez stepped up to wrong-foot Orestis Karnezis to claim his sixth league goal of the campaign on 65 minutes, and then beat the goalkeeper from open play 10 minutes later to secure the win.
Before then, Milan had spurned several chances to put the match beyond reach, with Stephan El Shaarawy notably keeping the impressive Karnezis on his toes, while Menez and Honda also spurned chances to break the deadlock.
Milan were notably denied an early opener when Adil Rami's flicked header from a corner was scrambled out by Karnezis, although television replays suggested the ball had crossed the line.
- Positives -
Club CEO Adriano Galliani said Milan would push for "goal-line technology" to be introduced in a bid to avoid such incidents.
Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi, meanwhile, said the hosts would have won the match anyway.
"It was our best game of the season. We gave the fans a great performance and there are a lot of positives to take from today," Inzaghi told Sky Sport Italia.
"Today I asked for the same kind of performance we had against Sampdoria (2-2) and Inter (1-1), and before the start of the second half I reiterated that.
"We're on the right road," added Inzaghi, who played down suggestions the referee had got both the penalty decision and the expulsion of Domizzi wrong.
"I don't think those influenced the game. We dominated from start to finish."
Stramaccioni did not agree, saying: "We should have had a penalty when (Emmanuel) Badu was fouled, then came the incident that decided the game.
"Not so much for the penalty, more for the expulsion of Domizzi. I don't think what he did to Honda was punishable with a penalty.
"But we have to turn the page, and think about our next game," added Stramaccioni, who will visit the San Siro against next week to face his former club Inter.
He added: "My club is Udinese, but Inter will always have a small place in my heart."
Elsewhere, surprise packages Genoa moved up to provisional third thanks to a 3-0 win at Cesena, who fell 2-0 behind inside seven minutes and saw Massimo Volta score a second-half own-goal to add to their woes.
Fired-up Fiorentina leapt up the table with a surprise 4-0 romp at Cagliari with Mati Fernandez (twice), Mario Gomez and Juan Cuadrado all on target for La Viola.
In Palermo, Argentine striker Paulo Dybala got the hosts off the mark against visitors Parma on 37 minutes and after Raffaelle Palladino levelled three minutes later, Osvaldo Barreto scored a second-half winner for the Sicilians.