Stefano Pioli

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Serie A roundup: Atalanta hand Milan worst league loss in 21 years (video)

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AC Milan’s worst league loss in 21 years highlights Sunday’s Serie A action.

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Atalanta 5-0 AC Milan

With a brace from Josip Ilicic and goals from Alejandro Gomez, Mario Pasalic and Luis Muriel, Atalanta ran all over AC Milan in Bergamo on Sunday.

It was the fourth time in the club’s 120-year history that the Rossoneri suffered a loss by more than five goal, with the last one occurring in May of 1998. Milan’s Chief Football Officer, Zvonimir Boban, labeled the seven-time European’s performance “embarrassing”.

Milan – lead by Stafano Piolo, who signed a two-year deal in October – are sitting eleventh on the table, only seven points clear of the drop zone. During the match, Atalanta fans taunted Milan fans with ‘Serie B, Serie B’ chants, predicting a possible relegation for one of Italy’s most important clubs.

Throughout the night, Milan registered a lone shot on target, 10 short of the amount that the home side registered.

“We have to work and improve. We entered the pitch with too little technical and tactical clarity. It’s a terribly insufficient performance,” acknowledged Milan coach Pioli.

That’s not the only hot topic Pioli touched on, however.

Conveniently enough, reporters pressed the 54-year-old about Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s possible arrival and whether or not the former Milan striker can ameliorate their situation.

“These are questions for the club owners,” he told DAZN when asked about Ibrahimovic, who is a free agent and has been rumored to make a return to Italy.

“People have talked about Ibrahimovic for over a month now. I’ve already said he is a champion and would bring that determination and character to raise the intensity and focus even during training, more so than in games.”

With their next match not until January 6, the Rossoneri will have plenty of time to reflect on one of the darkest nights in club history. And maybe sign themselves an Ibrahimovic, too.

Elsewhere

Lecce 2-3 Bologna

Parma 1-1 Brescia

Sassuolo 1-2 Napoli

Milan hoping to woo “great champion” Zlatan next week

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Serie A mainstays AC Milan are trying to woo Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to the San Siro.

The full-court press makes sense, as it will take some financial sacrifices for Ibrahimovic to join the side given Financial Fair Play problems in Milan.

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Coach Stefano Pioli called Zlatan “a great champion” while admitting he has to focus on the table and not transfers, while former AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani issued a glowing call for the Swede to return to town.

From Football-Italia.com:

“It would be romantic if he returned. But I have a rule, I don’t talk about teams I’m not involved with anymore. I’m only a fan of Milan now. Still, his arrival would enrich Italian football, similar to when Cristiano Ronaldo came to Italy.”

Man, they know how to speak this guy’s language, don’t they?

Sky Sports says Ibrahimovic’s agent will meet with Milan again next week in the hopes of convincing him to take a lower wage deal, and the 38-year-old showed he’s willing to take one for the team during his stint with the LA Galaxy.

The move makes too much sense, with Milan’s 11 goals well below its expected goal number. They need a finisher, and Zlatan sure does that. And if lower wages means Zlatan gets to play mercenary for five months while proving he’s got the goods for a big wage for 2020-21, that’s an easy concession for the striker.

Serie A roundup: Late Correa goal squeezes Lazio past Milan (video)

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Aside from the disgusting racist abuse that Mario Balotelli received from Hellas Verona supporters, Lazio’s late victory over Rossoneri highlights Serie A’s Sunday action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

AC Milan 1-2 Lazio

With goals from Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa, Lazio edged AC Milan in Serie A play at the San Siro for the first since 1989, snapping a 29-match winless streak.

With the 2-1 victory under their belts, Lazio climbed to fourth in the table, eight points adrift from leaders Juventus.

What proved to be a tightly contested encounter was, ultimately, defined by Correa’s blistering strike inside the penalty box. The Argentine covered three-quarters of the field before finishing off Luis Alberto‘s pace between two Milan defenders.

Like the league-leading goalscorer that he is, Immobile, too, contributed one of his own.

With Leo Duarte marking him from behind, the 29-year-old made a sneaky run towards the first post and met the incoming service with a well-placed and aggressive header, leaving Gianluigi Donnarumma with no chance of blocking the ball. It was Immobile’s 13th goal in 11 games this season, and his 100th with Lazio.

Down 1-0, the hosts pulled one back. In the 28th minute, Krzysztof Piatek’s right-footed volley deflected off Bastos’ chest and into the back of net. It wasn’t enough for Milan, who now stand 11th with 13 points.

With pressure at an all-time high, Stefano Pioli and Roma, travel to Turin to take on leaders Juventus, while Lazio prep for a midweek, Europa League showdown against Scottish giants, Celtic, at home.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Atalanta 0-2 Cagliari 

Genoa 1-3 Udinese

Hellas Verona 2-1 Brescia 

Lecce 2-2 Sassuolo 

Fiorentina 1-1 Parma 

Suso’s terrific free kick gives Pioli 1st AC Milan win

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MILAN — New AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli earned his first win with the club as the Rossoneri beat SPAL 1-0 in Serie A on Thursday.

Suso came off the bench to score with a free kick shortly after the hour mark, ending a scoreless streak stretching back to last season.

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Milan’s fourth win in 10 matches moved the Rossoneri up to 10th place while SPAL remained in 19th place.

Samu Castillejo also hit the crossbar for Milan early on.

Suso, who had been heavily criticized for his performances this season, scored six minutes after coming on for Castillejo.

The Spaniard’s free kick spun over SPAL’s wall then dipped down in under the bar.

Suso’s previous goal came on May 19.

Fiorentina coach Pioli steps down amid seven-game winless run

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FLORENCE, Italy (AP) Fiorentina coach Stefano Pioli has stepped down amid a seven-match winless streak.

The club says assistant coach Giacomo Murelli was directing training on Tuesday, while no immediate replacement was named.

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Fiorentina has dropped out of contention for European competition and is down to 10th place in Serie A following a loss at home to relegation-threatened Frosinone on Sunday.

The club is anxious to straighten things out before facing Atalanta in the second leg of the Italian Cup semifinals on April 25. The first leg ended 3-3.

Pioli was hired in June 2017 and led Fiorentina to an eighth-place finish last season.

It’s the 12th coaching change in the Italian league this season.

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