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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 5 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 12, 2008

Serie A: Juve down ten-man AC in thriller

Hasan Salihamidzic struck twice to give Juventus a 3-2 win over 10-man AC Milan on Saturday that severely dented the Rossoneri's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Third-placed Juve, who face Parma in a game in hand on Wednesday, are close to sealing a qualifying place for Europe's premier competition in their first season back in the top flight following their match-fixing demotion and subsequent promotion.

Juve are nine points clear of last season's Champions League winners Milan, who are in fifth spot and four points behind Fiorentina having played a game more.

The Florence club, who occupy the final Champions League qualifying place, have six games left and visit leaders Inter Milan on Sunday when second-placed AS Roma travel to Udinese.

'This has complicated the situation of course. We will try (to reach a Champions League spot) just like we have tonight,' Milan boss and former Juve coach Carlo Ancelotti told Sky.

Juve boss Claudio Ranieri was thrilled his side fought back from 2-1 down thanks to rare goals from Bosnian Salihamidzic on halftime and 10 minutes from the end.

'We have been able to play the match we wanted. 3-2, it's been a really great game,' Juve coach Ranieri said.

Milan went into the big match in Turin without suspended defenders Alessandro Nesta and Kakha Kaladze while Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato was injured.

Juve quickly exploited a second string defence when Mauro Camoranesi hurdled a tackle and played in Alessandro Del Piero, who netted his 14th league goal of the campaign from a tight angle on 12 minutes.

Ex-Juve striker Filippo Inzaghi, who like Del Piero looks poised to miss out on Italy's Euro 2008 squad, soon levelled with a trademark poacher's goal from Kaka's cross from the left.

With all the talk about Ronaldinho's likely arrival at Milan, the 34-year-old Inzaghi showed his worth with a second on half an hour when he sidefooted in after Daniele Bonera had squared the ball following Massimo Ambrosini's clever chip.

Juve, who lost 3-2 at Palermo last weekend, made it 2-2 just before the break when Paolo Maldini gave the ball away and Camoranesi crossed for David Trezeguet, whose header was blocked by keeper Zeljko Kalac only for winger Salihamidizic to score.

The second half failed to match the liveliness of the first before Milan defender Bonera slipped and planted his studs on Mohamed Sissoko's shin and received a straight red card.

Camoranesi then made sure he set up all three Juve goals when his free kick was nodded in unmarked by Salihamidzic.

Earlier on Saturday in the Sicilian derby, Fabrizio Miccoli bent in a free kick five minutes from time to hand Palermo a 1-0 home win and leave Catania three points above the drop zone.

The visitors, in Walter Zenga's second game in charge, had the better of the first half with striker Gionatha Spinesi stabbing over but mid-table Palermo gradually improved.