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© AP, Jan 22, 2012

AC Milan and Udinese both win in Serie A


ROME(AP) AC Milan and Udinese both won Sunday to keep it a rare three-way race for the Serie A title with Juventus at the Italian season's midpoint.

Milan won 3-0 at last-place Novara with two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and another from Robinho, while Pablo Armero and Antonio Di Natale found the net to steer Udinese to a 2-1 victory over Catania.

Juventus, which beat Atalanta 2-0 Saturday, holds a one-point lead over Milan and is three points in front of unsung Udinese, which has never finished higher than third.

For the most part, the Serie A title race has been a two-team affair in recent seasons, with Inter Milan winning five consecutive championships from 2006-10 and Milan taking the title last year.

''We needed to get three points after losing the derby,'' Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said, referring to last weekend's 1-0 defeat to Inter. ''We've got 40 points, which is what we had last year after the first half of the season. Juve has done better and they've got one more point but there are 19 matches to go. I'm pleased with what the lads are doing.''

Inter was looking for a seventh consecutive win in Sunday's late match against Lazio.

In other matches, it was: Lecce 2, Chievo Verona 2; Palermo 5, Genoa 3; Siena 1, Napoli 1; and Cagliari 0, Fiorentina 0.

Earlier in the lunchtime fixture, Bologna and Parma played to a 0-0 draw, with Parma captain Stefano Morrone exiting at halftime and heading to the hospital, where his son was being treated for a reported breathing problem.

''There was a moment of panic and we decided to tell Stefano,'' said Parma coach Roberto Donadoni. ''When you're talking about a six-month old baby it's alarming, but it was resolved well.''

The start of the Cagliari-Fiorentina match was delayed by a half hour due to a workers' protest over the closing of an Alcoa aluminum plant. Workers surrounded both the hotel where Fiorentina was staying and Cagliari's training center, forcing both clubs to leave late for the stadium, according to the ANSA news agency.

On Wednesday, Milan needed an extra-time winner from Alexandre Pato to beat Novara in the Italian Cup, and it again looked like the Rossoneri might struggle when Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Stephen El Shaarawy each failed to take advantage of chances in the first half.

However, Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini found Ibrahimovic all alone in front of the goal for an easy finish in the 57th, Robinho scored from close-range in the 73rd and Ibrahimovic found the target again in the 90th off a rebound to tie with Di Natale as the league's leading scorer with 14 goals each.

In Udine, the hosts took control when Colombian winger Pablo Armero finished off a counterattack in the 19th, and Armero then provided the cross when Di Natale scored with a volley in the 53rd.

Francesco Lodi pulled one back for Catania with a penalty in the fifth minute of added time.

In Siena, former Napoli forward Emanuele Calaio put the hosts in front with a header in the 67th and goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo made an impressive save to stop a penalty from Napoli forward Edinson Cavani in the 79th. However, Napoli still equalized with a header from forward Goran Pandev in the 86th.

In Sicily, Palermo forward Fabrizio Miccoli set up three goals and scored another.

After Rodrigo Palacio had put Genoa in front in the 13th, Igor Budan, Matias Silvestre and Andrea Mantovani struck back for Palermo. Palacio then converted a penalty in the 59th to make it 3-2, Miccoli scored in the 75th to restore Palermo's two-goal lead and Giulio Migliaccio added another by meeting a free kick from Miccoli with a header in the 84th.

In Lecce, Chievo went ahead with two early goals from Alberto Paloschi and Lecce equalized with strikes by Andrea Esposito in the 30th and David Di Michele in the third minute of second-half added time.


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