x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Fortune smiles on Inzaghi

The AC Milan striker Pippo Inzaghi is said by his colleagues to be superstitious, often last out of the dressing-room.

The AC Milan striker Pippo Inzaghi is said by his colleagues to be superstitious, often last out of the dressing-room. On Sunday Milan would have been grateful for any sort of lucky charm and they found it in a vintage afternoon from Superpippo. Inzaghi scored all three goals at the San Siro in the 3-0 win over Atalanta and Milan's good fortune spread to results elsewhere.

With Fiorentina losing at home to Palermo and Genoa having been defeated by Inter Milan on Satuday the gap between Milan in third place in Serie A and the clubs likeliest to deprive them of an automatic slot in next season's Champions League grew. It was good day for Milan and for their veterans. David Beckham, now confirmed as a Milan player until the end of the season, made a strong impression in the absence of Kaka and Ronaldinho, playing just behind Alexandre Pato and Inzaghi, who was off the mark early, meeting Marek Jankulovksi's centre after seven minutes.

Atalanta then put in some spirited resistance for the next hour, but Inzaghi, a ripe 35 years old, killed off the visitors with his stamina and his undiminished instincts for placing himself in the right positions to score. For his second goal, he hit Atalanta on the counter-attack, rounding the goalkeeper to convert Pato's pass. Three minutes later, with a quarter of an hour left of the contest, he struck his third, set up by Gianluca Zambrotta.

Substituted so the Milan fans, who have been grumpy lately, had a moment to concentrate their applause on the old warhorse, he received quite an ovation. Elsewhere, Marco Di Vaio, Serie A's leading scorer, took his total to 19 with all the goals in Bologna's 3-0 win over Sampdoria. ihawkey@thenational.ae