Honda leads AC Milan to win over Chievo in Serie A
ROME (AP) — Keisuke Honda scored his fourth goal in six matches as AC Milan ended a three-game winless streak in Serie A with a 2-0 victory over visiting Chievo Verona on Saturday.
Sulley Muntari celebrated his 250th match in Serie A by giving Milan the lead in the 55th minute with a looping volley from beyond the area after a cross from Honda was headed away.
Honda then secured the points with a precise free kick over a Chievo wall in the 78th.
Having scored only one goal in the Italian league last season after joining Milan in January, Honda is thriving in the more attacking system under new coach Filippo Inzaghi.
“He’s a serious professional. He always arrives at training two hours early, which I appreciate,” Inzaghi said. “I’m happy for him because he deserves the applause from our fans.”
Milan moved into a tie for fourth with Sampdoria and Hellas Verona, which beat Cagliari 1-0 earlier with a late goal from Panagiotis Tachtsidis. The trio are four points behind leaders Juventus and Roma, who meet on Sunday.
Udinese is three points back in third.
“We know we still have to improve but we’ve got to continue on this road,” Inzaghi said. “It was a good performance from everyone.”
At the San Siro, Chievo started with a trio of former Milan players in attack: Valter Birsa, Alberto Paloschi and Maxi Lopez.
Milan countered with Fernando Torres spearheading a 4-2-3-1 formation, and he was dangerous on a pair of occasions in an otherwise dull first half.
After the break, the Rossoneri appeared better organized and midfielder Jeremy Menez threatened with a volley that went wide in the 48th.
Honda had a chance to double the lead in the 63rd but he couldn’t reach a cross from Ignazio Abate.
Chievo could have equalized in the 70th but substitute Dejan Lazarevic wasted a 3-on-1 opportunity by trying to score alone, and was stopped by defender Mattia De Sciglio.
At Verona’s Bentegodi Stadium, Tachtsidis found the target in the 89th with a long, powerful shot from beyond the area that was out of the goalkeeper’s reach.
Verona also hit the goal frame twice, first by Bosko Jankovic in the 71st then Luca Toni in the 82nd. Toni also had a goal annulled for a questionable offside call in the first half.
Chievo and Cagliari remained one point above a group of four clubs at the bottom of the table.
Andrew Dampf can be followed at www.twitter.com/asdampf