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Serie A: Ibra on target as Milan crush Chievo

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Associated Press

Last Updated: November 28, 2011, 08:49 IST

Serie A: Ibra on target as Milan crush Chievo

Ibrahimovic scored his 100th Serie A goal to help AC Milan keep the pressure on leaders Juventus.

Milan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 100th Serie A goal on Sunday to help AC Milan crush Chievo 4-0 and keep the pressure on Serie A leaders Juventus.

All the goals came in a pulsating first-half at the San Siro. Ibrahimovic also scored a penalty, while Thiago Silva and Alexandre Pato were on the scoresheet.

Milan are a point behind Juventus, who have a game in hand.

"We are playing very well," Ibrahimovic said. "All the team is working very hard, so everything is going as well as possible."

"What's important is to win. Then, if I score it's even better - it's a bonus. I've worked hard and scored a lot here in Italy. I've improved quite a bit, especially close to goal."

Earlier, Inter Milan needed a last-minute goal from Luc Castaignos to beat 10-man Siena 1-0 and edge further away from the relegation zone with their second league win in a row.

Inter leapfroged Fiorentina, who lost 2-0 at Palermo.

Also on Sunday, Adrian Mutu's double gave Cesena a 2-0 win over Genoa, and Cagliari drew 1-1 with Bologna.

Milan signaled their intent as early as the opening seconds when Ibrahimovic cracked a fierce effort off the crossbar.

Massimiliano Allegri's men took the lead in the eighth. Kevin Prince Boateng passed back for the onrushing Thiago Silva, who unleashed a powerful 18-yard shot, across goal and into the bottom left corner.

Ibrahimovic notched up his century eight minutes later as he deftly controlled Alberto Aquilani's cross on the edge of the area. before lofting the ball over two defenders and Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino.

Pato grabbed his first goal since coming back from a two-month injury lay-off shortly after the half-hour mark when he was quickest to react as Aquilani's shot rebounded off a Chievo defender.

The Brazilian, who returned against Fiorentina last week, was involved again at the end of the first half when he was hauled down by Luciano and the referee had no hesitation in pointing straight at the penalty spot.

Ibrahimovic stepped up to fire into the top right corner and take his tally for Milan to 21 league goals, in addition to the 23 he scored for Juventus and the 57 for Inter.

Inter were desperately seeking a victory following just one win their past three league games. But they had few chances in a drab match at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Inter snatched all three points right at the death. Thiago Motta found Castaignos in the middle of the area and the Dutch youngster managed to squeeze a shot in between two Siena defenders for his first goal in Inter colors.

Franco Brienza received a second yellow and his marching orders in stoppage time for dissent.

Inter are 11 points behind Juventus but coach Claudio Ranieri has not given up hope of making up lost ground.

"I don't know if now we're back in it," Ranieri said. "I said this game was important because they're all finals for us. We have to always look to win. It will be very difficult but that's our aim."

"On one side there's a team which has won everything and on the other a team which wants to return to winning always. Juventus have been out of the title race for a few years. This year, after spending the right money and buying the right players, they're deservedly back in it."

Cesena made it two wins on the trot after recording their first victory of the season last week against Bologna.

They took the lead in the 70th minute after Emiliano Moretti fouled Erjon Bogdani in the area. Mutu stepped up and cheekily looped his spot-kick over the diving Sebastien Frey.

Mutu doubled his tally 10 minutes later with a stunning 25-yard strike into the top right corner, which gave Frey no chance.

Fiorentina are closer to being sucked into a relegation battle after they lost 2-0 at Palermo.

Miccoli beat the offside trap in the 22nd minute to give the home side the lead, and Ilicic made sure of the points with a stunning free-kick into the top right corner from over 25 yards out.

Natali was dismissed in the final minutes after he picked up a second yellow card for dissent.

Cagliari and Bologna had to settle for a 1-1 draw, which will please neither of the struggling sides.

Cagliari gifted Bologna the lead in the 75th minute. Cagliari captain Daniele Conti cleared a cross but only as far as Marco Di Vaio, who lashed it home from close range.

Conti atoned for his error six minutes later after he was fouled by Nicolo Cherubin in the area. He stepped up to the spot and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to ensure Cagliari a share of the spoils.