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Last-gasp Romagnoli puts AC Milan ahead of Lazio in Champions

Milan, Monday @PeopleSport11

Alessio Romagnoli scored the only goal after 97 minutes as AC Milan reclaimed fourth place in Serie A amid drama at 10-man Udinese on Sunday ahead of Lazio who earlier crushed SPAL 4-1 with Ciro Immobile bagging a brace.

Defender Romagnoli fired in the winner amid a scramble in front of goal to add to his midweek winner against Genoa, for a confidence-boost ahead of next weekend’s visit by champions Juventus to the San Siro.

“I know it burns to lose in the last minute,” said Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso, whose side have won three league games in the past week after losing the Milan derby to Inter following a dramatic Mauro Icardi injury-time winner.

“I liked really our performance and attitude. We arrived with injuries and suffered, but deserved this victory,” added Gennaro after Milan kept their first clean sheet of the campaign.

AC Milan and Lazio both have 21 points from 11 games, with Gattuso’s side occupying the final Champions League spot on goal difference.

The two teams are ten points behind leaders Juventus, who continued their unbeaten run with a 3-1 win over Cagliari on Saturday.

Milan suffered an early blow Sunday when Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain was forced off after 35 minutes with a back problem and was replaced by Samu Castillejo.

“Higuain felt a twinge in his back,” said Gattuso, “but it doesn’t seem to be anything serious.” Spaniard Castillejo forced a series of saves from Juan Musso, setting up Suso for what looked like a sure opener after 59 minutes only for his compatriot to fire over when alone on front of goal.

Udinese left-back Bram Nuytinck was harshly sent off in injury time for a foul on Castillejo and two minutes later Romagnoli jumped on an Nicholas Opoku blunder.

Amid a scramble in front of goal, Suso was unable to finish off so the captain fired in himself.

Despite the offside flag being raised the goal stood after consultation with the video assistant referee (VAR). It was the first game this season than Milan have not conceded a goal.

Earlier Lazio bounced back from last week’s 3-0 home defeat to Inter Milan.

“We had to redeem ourselves after the knockout against Inter,” said coach Simone Inzaghi, whose side are now five points ahead of city rivals Roma, who were held 1-1 by Fiorentina on Saturday.

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