Juventus triple strike prolongs Milan slump
THE once-invincible AC Milan fell to their second defeat in the space of four weeks as they went down 3-1 at home to Juventus in the Italian First Division.
The result gave a glimmer of hope to championship challengers and city rivals Inter Milan who narrowed the gap to five points with a 3-1 win over Brescia yesterday.
Inter came from a goal down, with Uruguyuan striker Ruben Sosa continuing his outstanding recent form by scoring twice within four minutes in the second half.
Their rivals AC Milan had led by 11 points in mid-March before their defeat against Parma a week later, ending their 58-match unbeaten league run. Before then, Milan's last league reverse was to Bari way back in May 1991. They have also lost to AS Roma inthe cup this season.
Draws against Napoli, Torino, and Roma before their latest dismal result in front of 80,000 spectators, have weakened their invincible reputation.
Juventus played some of their best football of the season in beating Milan at San Siro stadium.
German midfielder Andreas Moller scored two brilliant goals after Marco Simone had opened the scoring for Milan, then captain Roberto Baggio put the issue beyond doubt with a superb 64th minute solo effort.
After going 58 matches without a league defeat, Milan have now not won in the league since March 7.
There are now six matches left for Inter to close the gap further. In January, the margin between the two Milan teams was 13 points.
Everything started well for Milan when, in the sixth minute, Simone helped Dejan Savicevic's cross past Juventus 'keeper Michelangelo Rampulla and into the far corner of the net for his fourth goal of the season.
But the Juventus reply was swift and telling. Six minutes later Baggio's beautifully-weighted pass totally wrong-footed Milan sweeper and captain Franco Baresi and sent Moller clear.
The German midfielder had no trouble beating Sebastiano Rossi for his ninth goal in his debut season for Juventus.
Then, in the 20th minute, Moller further improved his tally with a spectacular volley from the edge of the box which flew past Rossi.
It was Moller who supplied the pass which sent Baggio scampering clear of Alessandro Costacurta in the 64th minute. He ran half the length of the field, easily rounded Rossi and, despite having Baresi and Stefano Nava to contend with, planted a left-foot shot into the back of the net.
Juventus, who travel to France on Thursday protecting a 2-1 lead against Paris St Germain in the UEFA Cup, now lie fourth in the league table after recovering from a mid-season lapse.
Milan play PSV Eindhoven in the Champions' Cup at San Siro on Wednesday.
In Germany Bayern Munich clung to a slender one-point First Division lead after a 2-2 draw with Borussia Munchengladbach.
Swedish international Martin Dahlin's two second-half goals cancelled out Bayern's first-half strikes from Christian Ziege and Mehmet Scholl, his first of the season, but Bayern kept their noses in front of chasing Werder Bremen.
Dahlin powered in his first goal two minutes after half-time and notched the second after 71 minutes as his team repeatedly caught Bayern unawares.
Bremen had beaten Dynamo Dresden 3-0 on Friday to go level on points at the top and threaten the Bavarians' passage towards a 13th league title.
Eintracht Frankfurt held on to third place even though VfB Stuttgart's Marc Kienle scored two minutes before the final whistle to ensure a 2-2 draw.
Frankfurt went 1-0 down early on and then had Edgar Schmitt sent off, only to equalise through a 17th-minute penalty from Axel Kruse.