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Cutrone scores double as Milan hit four past SPAL

Milan (AFP) – Patrick Cutrone hit a double with Lucas Biglia and Fabio Borini also scoring as AC Milan crushed SPAL 4-0 on Saturday to boost their European ambitions.

The 20-year-old Cutrone took centre stage with Nikola Kalinic injured and Davide Calabria suspended, opening after two minutes in Ferrara off a rebound and doubling from close range on 65 minutes.

Argentine Biglia got his first Milan goal on 73 minutes with a curler into the bottom corner, following an error from SPAL keeper Alex Meret.

And Borini came off the bench and quickly found the fourth from a tight angle to give Milan a fourth win in their last five Serie A games.

Gennaro Gattuso’s side move up to seventh, still just outside the Europa League places.

“We knew it would be a difficult game and in fact, immediately after scoring, we suffered,” said Italy forward Cutrone. “We did well to resist and like a great team find a way to kill off the game.”

The result has also improved Milan’s slim Champions League hopes, with city rivals Inter Milan, seven points ahead in the final spot for elite European action next season, hosting Bologna on Sunday.

“The Champions League? We have to focus on one game at a time and the next one is an Europa League game next Thursday. We want to move forward in Europe,” said Cutrone.

SPAL had their chances with Federico Viviani missing two first half efforts and Mirco Antenucci also threatening.

Milan’s Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie was booked and will be suspended for next week’s game with Sampdoria.

SPAL remain rooted in the drop zone with just three wins this season.

Napoli will bid to reclaim top spot later Saturday when they host Lazio after Juventus took the lead Friday with Federico Bernardeschi and Gonzalo Higuain scoring in a 2-0 win at Fiorentina overshadowed by a video assistant referee (VAR) fiasco.

A decision to award a penalty to Fiorentina after 21 minutes when Juventus’s Giorgio Chiellini’s arm blocked a Marco Benassi cross was subsequently overturned after consultation with VAR.

And after a three-minute wait referee Marco Guida instead decided to award the visitors a free-kick for a supposed Benassi offside in the run-up.

Emotions were already running high after the break when Italian midfielder Bernardeschi, who left the Tuscany side for Turin last summer, scored on his return to the Artemio Franchi Stadium for the first time as a Juventus player.

The 23-year-old curled in a free-kick after 56 minutes for his fourth goal in six Serie A games started for Juventus to break the deadlock. Bernardeschi was later substituted off to the whistles of the crowd.

Higuain — the scorer of a hat-trick last weekend — sealed the win four minutes from time with his 14th Serie A goal this season and 50th for Juventus.

It was an important win for champions Juventus who now have 62 points from 24 games — two points ahead of Napoli.

Fiorentina remain in 11th position on 31 points.

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