Balotelli, Kaka lead Milan to 3-0 win over Chievo
MILAN (AP) — Mario Balotelli scored one goal and Kaka added two as AC Milan comfortably beat relegation-threatened Chievo Verona 3-0 Saturday to give coach Clarence Seedorf consecutive victories for the first time since being hired in January.
Balotelli volleyed in a cross from Adil Rami four minutes in at the San Siro. Kaka doubled the lead in the 27th after controlling a lob pass from Keisuke Honda and the Brazil playmaker scored again in the 54th with a long, angled shot that went in off the post.
The victory moved Milan level with Lazio in eighth place, six points behind Inter Milan in the race for fifth and the final Europa League berth.
A week ago, Seedorf’s job seemed at risk but Milan has now picked up points in three consecutive matches.
“It’s a special moment for us,” said Kaka, who made his 300th appearance in the Italian league. “Football is great like that. Everything can change in a hurry.”
Earlier, Atalanta won 2-0 at Bologna for a club-record sixth straight victory in Serie A.
Atalanta is four points ahead of Milan in seventh.
Balotelli’s goal was the 45th of his Serie A career — in 95 matches — and it followed another strong performance in a 2-0 win over Fiorentina on Wednesday, when he scored one goal and set up another.
Milan could have had another goal in the 38th when Balotelli set up Honda with only the goalkeeper to beat but the Japan international wasted the opportunity by shooting high.
Kaka’s strong performance came after Milan vice president Adriano Galliani confirmed before kickoff that he has a contractual option to leave Milan if the squad does not qualify for the Champions League.
“I’m happy here and hope to stay,” said Kaka, who rejoined Milan from Real Madrid in September.
Chievo had a chance to pull one back but a penalty from Cyril Thereau in added time hit the crossbar following a foul by Milan defender Cristian Zaccardo.
The only other negative note for Milan came when midfielder Sulley Muntari was carried off on a stretcher in the first half with an apparent ankle injury.
In Bologna, forward Giuseppe De Luca put Atalanta ahead in the 22nd after stripping Bologna midfielder Diego Perez and dribbling in to score. Four minutes later, Paraguayan midfielder Marcelo doubled the lead after trading passes with De Luca and beating goalkeeper Gianluca Curci from 20 meters (yards).
During its winning streak, Atalanta has outscored the opposition 12-2.
Chievo and Bologna remained three and two points, respectively, above the relegation zone.