Milan: Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as champions Juventus bounced back from their first Serie A defeat of the season by beating Udinese 4-1 on Sunday to move up to fifth place.
With these two goals, Ronaldo also went past former Brazil striker Pele’s goal tally. The Juventus striker now has 758 goals – 656 for clubs and 102 for national team – to Pele’s tally of 757 (680 for clubs and 77 for national team).
The Milan clubs are top of the Italian league with Juventus 10 points adrift of the summit having played a game less.
Leaders AC Milan stayed one point ahead of Inter with a 2-0 win over midtable Benevento despite playing an hour a man down.
City rivals Inter crushed lowly Crotone 6-2 with Lautaro Martinez bagging his first hat-trick for the club.
But Milan restored their advantage thanks to a Franck Kessie penalty on 15 minutes and Rafael Leao’s terrific curling strike from a tight angle shortly after half-time.
Sandro Tonali’s sending off after 33 minutes for a high tackle on Artur Ionita did not hold back Stefano Pioli’s side.
Gianluigi Donnarumma was solid in the Milan goal while Gianluca Caprari dragged a penalty wide on the hour.
“We don’t let ourselves be put under pressure by the results of the opponents,” said Pioli whose side are unbeaten in 27 league games going back to March.
“We’re ambitious, we’re not hiding it and we aim to win the next match as well against Juventus (on Wednesday).”
Ronaldo once again proved decisive for Juventus scoring a goal in each half to bring his league-leading tally to 14 this campaign and teeing up Federico Chiesa after the break.
Paulo Dybala added the fourth deep into injury time as Andrea Pirlo’s side moved on from their shock 3-0 loss to Fiorentina last time out.
“It wasn’t the best Juventus because we were coming off a bad defeat, we were a bit fearful at the beginning,” said Pirlo.
“Slowly we grew and in the second half we did better. It’s a delicate moment but we have to have confidence in what we can achieve and the determination to get there.”
At the San Siro, Martinez and Romelu Lukaku combined to devastating effect for Inter who have now won eight league games in a row.