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Champions League

Milan survive Ibrahimovic sending off to remain in Champions League chase

Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrange two first-half objectives earlier than being despatched off after an hour as 10-man AC Milan beat Parma 3-1 on Saturday to spice up their Champions League hopes.

The 39-year-old Swede was given a straight purple card for arguing with the referee on the Stadio Ennio Tardini when his group had been two objectives forward.

Riccardo Gagliolo pulled one again for Nineteenth-placed Parma minutes after Ibrahimovic’s sending off, however Milan held on regardless of some late scares, with substitute Rafael Leao scoring a 3rd in harm time.

Second-placed Milan closed the hole to leaders Inter, who host 18th-placed Cagliari on Sunday, to eight factors.

Stefano Pioli’s Milan are pushing for a return to the Champions League for the primary time because the 2013-2014 season.

Struggling defending champions Juventus are 4 factors behind Milan in third earlier than internet hosting Genoa on Sunday, when fourth-placed Atalanta, who’re an extra level adrift, play at Fiorentina.

“It was essential to win,” mentioned Pioli. “Ibra advised me he did not insult the referee.

“He advised me he had a dialogue which lasted a while, however he hadn’t proven an absence of respect and completely didn’t insult him.

“He advised me the very last thing he mentioned to (referee Fabio) Maresca was: ‘So you do not care what I say?'”.

Parma goalkeeper Luigi Sepe denied Franck Kessie early on earlier than Ibrahimovic despatched the ball by means of for Ante Rebic, who spun and blasted within the ninth-minute opener.

Ibrahimovic then mixed with Theo Hernandez and teed up Kessie to drill within the second simply earlier than the break.

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma did effectively to save lots of an Andrea Conti header and Graziano Pelle’s follow-up 5 minutes into the second half.

However Ibrahimovic was given his marching orders for a remark to the referee over a midfield incident during which he wasn’t concerned.

Gagliolo gave Parma a lifeline, beating Donnarumma, who made some essential late saves earlier than Leao added a 3rd as Milan claimed a membership file 13 away wins this marketing campaign.

– Ibrahimovic ‘shut’ to new deal –

Milan are set to be with out Ibrahimovic for his or her subsequent two video games at residence in opposition to Genoa and Sassuolo as Pioli’s males bid for a primary win on the San Siro in over two months.

Ibrahimovic, who gained his three hundredth match within the prime 5 European Leagues on Saturday, will return for the journey to top-four rivals Lazio on April 26.

Earlier than the match, membership director Paolo Maldini confirmed that Ibrahimovic was near renewing his contract for an additional season.

The Swedish worldwide, who turns 40 in October, has been credited with turning Milan into title contenders once more since his return to the seven-time European champions in January final yr.

“For Ibrahimovic there are solely small particulars lacking, we’re very near renewal,” Maldini mentioned.

Ibrahimovic, who helped Milan to their final Scudetto in 2011, is the membership’s prime scorer with 15 objectives in 17 league video games this time period regardless of battling harm and sickness.

Contract talks with Donnarumma are much less superior.

“It takes two to make a deal,” Maldini mentioned of the 22-year-old Italy worldwide.

Pioli mentioned after the sport he hoped to persuade Donnarumma to decide to the membership.

“My recommendation to Donnarumma is to remain, as a result of Milan is a prime membership in all respects. We’re constructing one thing.

“My gamers are usually not but winners, however they’re preventing to win once more.”

Within the battle in opposition to relegation, Torino ended their four-match winless run with captain Andrea Belotti changing a penalty after an Tolgay Arslan foul in a 1-0 win over Twelfth-placed Udinese who fell to a 3rd consecutive defeat.

“The perspective have to be what we noticed each right this moment and in opposition to Juve,” mentioned Belotti, whose aspect held the champions 2-2 final weekend, and are actually 5 factors away from the drop zone.

Spezia, in 14th place, struck twice in three-minutes earlier than the ultimate whistle for a 3-2 win to disclaim basement membership Crotone.

Martin Erlic arrange Giulio Maggiore to drag Spezia degree after 89 minutes with the Croatian defender then nodding in an harm time winner.

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