Milan on the brink as Flamini nets rare goal

AC Milan's Mathieu Flamini (left) celebrates with his team mates after scoring during the Serie A match against Sampdoria on Sunday at the San Siro stadium in Milan. (AFP)

AC Milan moved to within one point of the Italian title when Mathieu Flamini scored only his second Serie A goal to secure a 1-0 win over Bologna on Sunday.

Francesco Totti passed Roberto Baggio’s mark of 205 league strikes in AS Roma’s win as Milan moved eight points clear of Inter Milan with three games left and can seal their first scudetto since 2004 with a draw at Roma next Saturday.

A point would be enough as Milan have a better head-to-head record, which decides the title if two teams are level on points, than Inter, champions for the last five seasons.

French midfielder Flamini, at Milan for three years, netted after eight minutes when he prodded in at the second attempt after his first effort had been saved following a strong run.
 
He had another chance in the first half but tamely shot at Italy reserve goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano who also saved from Antonio Cassano, playing as a main striker again with Zlatan Ibrahimovic still serving a suspension.

Mid-table Bologna had opportunities too in the second half with Henry Jimenez and Miguel Britos heading just wide.

“It was a game with a bit of tension,” said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.

“We played a good first half and in the second we dropped our level a bit. We must prepare well for the game in Rome.”
 
Milan’s victory ended third-placed Napoli’s title hopes, leaving them nine points behind the leaders with a worse head-to-head record despite a 1-0 win over Genoa on Saturday.

Inter made sure the title race would continue for another week with Saturday’s last-gasp 2-1 victory at struggling Cesena where Giampaolo Pazzini bagged a stoppage-time double.
  
While Flamini was celebrating a rare goal, Roma’s Totti was racking up yet another milestone as his side won 3-2 at relegated Bari and moved up to fifth with a Champions League qualifying spot still in sight.
  
Totti equalised with a free kick on the half hour to match Italy great Baggio’s tally of 205 Serie A goals and levelled the scores again from the spot on 57 minutes to take over fifth place on the list of all-time Italian top-flight scorers.

The 34-year-old, whose team mate Daniele De Rossi was sent off for an elbow on 48 minutes with Simone Perrotta also seeing red late on, then missed another penalty before Aleandro Rosi grabbed the winner deep into stoppage time.

Udinese’s bid to finish fourth and earn a place in the Champions League qualifying round was hit by a 5-2 reverse at Fiorentina as they dropped to sixth because of Roma’s better head-to-head record.

Lazio, a point above Roma and Udinese, can consolidate fourth in Monday’s home clash with seventh-placed Juventus.

At the bottom, Sampdoria moved a point clear of the relegation zone after a late 3-3 draw with second-from-bottom Brescia while third-from-bottom Lecce lost 1-0 at Chievo.

Brescia trail Lecce by four points.

 

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