|Crotone’s Marcus Rohden, left, challenges for the ball with AC Milan forward Gianluca Lapadula during their Serie A football match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday. — AFP Photo|Viet Nam News
MILAN — Gianluca Lapadula struck a late winner as AC Milan maintained their early season challenge to champions Juventus with a 2-1 defeat of defiant Crotone on Sunday.
Milan looked to be heading for a share of the spoils against the Serie A newcomers, who had garnered just one win and three draws from their previous 14 games, after Mario Pasalic’s 41st minute strike levelled Diego Falcinelli’s 26th minute opener for the visitors.
But with the chance to move up to second ahead of the Lazio v Roma derby later Sunday, Vincenzo Montella’s men dug in during the final, frantic minutes and were rewarded at a corner.
A poor clearance saw the ball fall to Lapadula, who turned to beat Alex Cordaz down low to secure the points four minutes from the end.
Milan’s 10th win moved the Rossoneri up to provisional second place three points ahead of Roma and four behind Juventus, who tightened their grip with a 3-1 win over Atalanta in Turin on Saturday.
Lazio, in fourth, will move up to third place at five points off the lead if they beat Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.
Later on Sunday, Sampdoria host Torino while new Palermo coach Eugenio Corini takes the struggling Sicilians to Fiorentina looking to end their new club record of seven consecutive league defeats. — AFP