AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic had been out since the season resumed after the coronavirus-enforced break due to a calf injury.
SNS Web | New Delhi | July 5, 2020 11:21 am
AC Milan’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a penalty during the Italian Serie A football match Lazio vs AC Milan played behind closed doors on July 4, 2020 at the Olympic stadium in Rome, as the country eases its lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked a successful return to the football pitch as he helped his team beat title-contender Lazio 3-0 on Saturday. Serie A table-toppers Juventus, on the other hand, continued to wreak havoc and defeated Torino 4-1 to extend their lead at the top by seven points.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored again and became the first Serie A player in 59 years to score 25 goals in a season. He was joined by Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado and Koffi Djidji (own goal) on the scoresheet at the empty Allianz Stadium.
The home team wasted little time to resume their business as Argentine forward Dybala gave them the lead in just the third minute of the match with an excellent individual effort. Cuadrado doubled the lead in the 29th minute when he saw the back of the net after Ronaldo did all the hard work and laid the ball for him.
The visitors, though, put one back moments before the half-time break when Andrea Belotti converted a penalty in the sixth minute of the stoppage time.
However, the Old Lady did not allow Torino to gain momentum as they extended their lead, thanks to an impeccable free-kick from the Portuguese veteran Ronaldo. It was the first time the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had scored a free-kick in Serie A.
The home team were not done and inflicted further embarrassment into Torino when touring defender Koffi Djidji put the ball into his own net.
Milan, who have been unbeaten since the start of the season, climbed to sixth. While Lazio dominated the early proceedings, Milan scored from their real attack in the 23rd minute with Hakan Calhanoglu’s deflected shot finding the back of the net.
Ibrahimovic then scored, only for the goal to be ruled out due to offside. However, two minutes later, Milan were awarded a penalty due to a handball from Stefan Radu. The 38-year-old former Sweden captain stepped up and Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha reached the ball, it ricocheted off his foot and went in. The in-form Ante Rebic then scored the third in the 59th minute while Theo Hernandez narrowly missed a chance to score a fourth after a solo run from his own area.
Ibrahimovic had been out since the season resumed after the coronavirus-enforced break due to a calf injury.
The club had said earlier in the month that Ibrahimovic had undergone a check-up following the injury to his right soleus muscle. Ibrahimovic joined the club in his second stint in January. The 20-time Serie A champions have since enjoyed a a revival in fortunes.
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World news – ZA – Serie A: Ibrahimovic scores on return to help AC Milan beat Lazio; Juventus thump Torino