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By ESPN Staff
Apr 1, 2006

Italy: Top two falter against bottom two

MILAN, April 1 (Reuters) - Italian Champions League quarter-finalists Juventus and AC Milan failed to beat the bottom two clubs in Serie A on Saturday, with Milan suffering a humiliating defeat.

Milan fell 1-0 to a 54th-minute Cedric Konan goal at Lecce while leaders Juventus were held to a 0-0 draw at bottom club Treviso, who have not won in their last 16 games.

Despite the disappointing result and performance from Juventus, Fabio Capello's side extended their lead over Milan to nine points with just six games remaining.

Juventus face Arsenal in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Wednesday after falling to a 2-0 defeat in London last week.

Milan are at home to Lyon on Tuesday with their tie goalless after the first leg in France.

The third Italian team in the last eight in Europe, Inter Milan, were due to face Messina at the San Siro later on Saturday.

Milan, who rested several of their top players including Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko and Brazilian Kaka, dominated the opening 45 minutes at Lecce but home keeper Vincenzo Sicignano was in inspired form.

Sicignano was out quickly to foil Alberto Gilardino in the fourth minute and 15 minutes later produced an excellent save to keep out a strike from the Milan striker who had been well-served by Rui Costa.

The Portuguese midfielder then went close to the opener 12 minutes before the break but again the Lecce keeper came to the rescue of his side, tipping the ball over the bar.

Carlo Ancelotti's side were left to regret those unconverted chances when nine minutes after the restart Mirko Vucinic broke on a counter-attack and fed Konan who beat Dida with a clinical finish.

RELIEVED CAPELLO

Juve also had plenty of chances in their first half. Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the post and his strike partner David Trezeguet found the side-netting while Romanian Adrian Mutu flashed a free kick just wide.

At the other end Treviso forward Marco Borriello had a deflected free kick smash against Gianluigi Buffon's right-hand post.

The Serie A leaders faded after the break, though, with Treviso finishing the game strongly and the draw meant Capello was relieved to hear the result from Lecce.

Unlike Ancelotti, Capello did not rotate his squad before the midweek European commitments and said the results had proved him right. 'It was an important game in the championship -- if we'd have lost and Milan won then it would have been very significant. We got a point, they didn't, so it was a good for us,' he said.