Theo Hernández’s stoppage-time winner ensured Milan ended the year top of Serie A after beating Lazio 3-2 on Wednesday.
The Milan players piled on top of Hernández in joyful celebration after his late winner. Milan had let slip a two-goal lead and seemed set to head into the winter break behind city rivals Internazionale, who had won 2-1 at Hellas Verona earlier. The Rossoneri instead go into the festive period a point above Inter.
Milan had got off to a fast start, taking the lead in the 10th minute when a corner was whipped in from the left and Ante Rebic headed in at the far post.
And the game appeared to be going to plan when Hakan Calhanoglu doubled Milan’s advantage just seven minutes later from the penalty spot after Lazio defender Patric was adjudged to have fouled Rebic.
However, Lazio got back into the match in the 28th minute when they were awarded a penalty of their own after Pierre Kalulu caught Joaquín Correa. Gianluigi Donnarumma saved Ciro Immobile’s effort but Luis Alberto headed in the rebound.
The comeback was completed in the 59th minute, Immobile scoring with an angled drive after a perfectly lofted pass from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. But Milan restored their lead in the final minutes when Hernández headed in a corner at the near post to spark scenes of wild celebration.
Inter chalked up their seventh successive Serie A win, overcoming Verona 2-1 away with a rare Milan Skriniar goal.
Lautaro Martinez volleyed Inter in front seven minutes after the break but a defensive mix-up allowed Ivan Ilic to equalise for the hosts 11 minutes later. Skriniar, one of the players at fault for the Verona goal, made amends by heading Inter back in front in the 69th minute.
“This is the seventh consecutive win and that must give us conviction and make us understand that we must continue on this path,” said Inter coach Antonio Conte. “Today, we showed a great will to win. This is certainly a more balanced championship than in previous years. It will be very difficult, all the teams have strengthened. You can lose points against anyone, you must always be on the ball.”
Roma moved into third spot after goals from Gianluca Mancini, Edin Deko and Jordan Veretout helped them beat Cagliari 3-2. Sassuolo are a point further back following a 3-2 victory at Sampdoria, while Napoli slipped from third to fifth after a 1-1 draw at home to relegation-threatened Torino.
A towering header from Casemiro and an added-time strike from Karim Benzema saw Real Madrid beat a stubborn Granada side 2-0 at home on Wednesday to notch a fifth consecutive La Liga victory and go level on points with leaders Atlético Madrid.
The victory also took Zidane’s side six points clear of third-placed Real Sociedad and the title race looks more and more like being a two-horse race between the two rivals from the Spanish capital.
“We want to keep this great run going but we are also looking forward to a rest,” said Casemiro. “There’s still a long way to go in the season and many more games, and every team will have their ups and downs.”
Defender Timothee Pembele scored his first goal for Paris Saint-Germain as the champions earned a 4-0 home win over Strasbourg on Wednesday to keep pace with Ligue 1 leaders Lyon and second-placed Lille ahead of the Christmas break.
Lyon will head into the two-week hibernation on 36 points from 17 games after easing to a 3-0 home rout of Nantes, with Lille behind them on goal difference after a dramatic 3-2 win at eighth-placed Montpellier.
Marseille dropped one place down to fifth and lost ground in the title race after a surprise 2-1 defeat at Angers while sixth-placed Monaco were held to a 2-2 draw at 10-man St-Etienne, who had Eliot Matazo sent off in the first half.