Soccer: Shevchenko fires Milan to top of Serie A

AS ROMA and AC Milan leapfrogged Juventus to the top of Serie A with comfortable wins over Lecce and Modena respectively.

The victories lifted the two clubs to joint top on 27 points, one ahead of reigning Italian champions Juve, who suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday, 3-1 at home to Inter Milan.

At the San Siro stadium Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko continued his stunning recent form, scoring both of his side’s goals in the 2-0 win to take his tally in Serie A this season to 12 in 11 matches.

The Ukraine international needed only 23 minutes before chesting down a loose ball in Modena’s area and firing low into the net.

The visitors pushed forward after the interval, but in the 67th minute Shevchenko doubled Milan’s advantage, latching on to a Rui Costa pass and slipping the ball past keeper Marco Ballotta.

Meanwhile, at Rome’s Olympic Stadium the home team clinically dismantled Lecce’s defences (3-1) to record their fourth win in a row.

Brazilian midfielder Mancini gave Roma the lead in the 18th minute and big Norwegian striker John Carew muscled through to add a second just before half time.

Francesco Totti wrapped up the result in the 78th minute with a sliding finish, before Ernesto Chevanton scored a consolation goal just before the whistle.

However, the shock of the weekend was Inter Milan’s stunning 3-1 victory away to Juventus, four days after their 5-1 at home by Arsenal in the Champions League.

Goals in either half from Inter’s Argentine striker Julio Ricardo Cruz and a 75th minute strike from Nigerian teenager Obafemi Martins gave Inter a comfortable lead before a late goal from Juve defender Paolo Montero.

Coach Alberto Zaccheroni said the win was an example of how Inter could play if they kept together.

“Against Arsenal on Tuesday we stopped playing together at the end and we paid for that. When we play together we are capable of performing at this level,” said the Inter coach.

In Spain, Valencia snatched top spot in the Primera Liga on Saturday thanks to a 3-2 home win over Real Zaragoza, while champions Real Madrid slipped to second after a barely deserved 1-1 draw at dominant Osasuna.

Valencia made a great start at the Mestalla as they stormed to a 3-0 half time lead against Zaragoza, with neatly crafted goals from wingers Jorge Lopez and Vicente, and gifted Argentine playmaker Pablo Aimar.

But Zaragoza hit back with well-worked strikes from centre forward David Villa and midfielder Cani.

The results left Valencia and Real level on 27 points, but Rafa Benitez’s side lead the table on goal difference.

Last night Deportivo were beaten 1-0 by Villarreal while Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw by a stubborn Valladolid at the Nou Camp.

Real Madrid, who made the trip without injured midfielders Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo and defender Roberto Carlos, began with Esteban Cambiasso and Guti in the centre of midfield, while David Beckham reverted to his former position on the right flank.

But they never looked comfortable at a packed El Sadar and it was Osasuna who were the first to show when Bakayoko controlled a flying cross with his back to goal, swivelled and volleyed just over the bar on five minutes.

Real failed to heed the early warning, though, and six minutes later the former Olympique Marseille player put the Navarrans ahead with a cool finish.

Osasuna manufactured a host of further scoring chances but the Primera Liga’s leading scorer, Ronaldo made them pay when he collected a David Beckham pass to equalise 16 minutes from time, taking his season’s tally to 10 goals.

VfB Stuttgart stayed two points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with a 0-0 draw at VfL Bochum.

Second-placed Werder Bremen drew 1-1 at Hamburg SV and Bayern Munich also had to be content with a share of the points, drawing 2-2 at home with bottom-placed Cologne.

Bayern, who started the week with a 0-0 Champions League draw with Celtic on Tuesday that leaves them in danger of exiting the showcase competition, struggled again.

They thought they had it made after responding to an early Cologne goal with two efforts from Peru striker Claudio Pizarro but the visitors kept fighting and earned a draw thanks to a goal by midfielder Alexander Voigt in the 60th minute.

Ajax restored their four-point lead over champions PSV Eindhoven when they beat arch-rivals Feyenoord 2-0, thanks to two early Rafael van der Vaart goals in the Dutch first division yesterday.

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CourtsSoccerPlace: San Siro stadiumPlace: RomePlace: Olympic stadiumPlace: SpainPlace: MestallaPlace: Nou CampPlace: PeruPerson: ShevchenkoPerson: Andriy ShevchenkoPerson: Rui CostaPerson: Marco BallottaPerson: ManciniPerson: John CarewPerson: Francesco TottiPerson: Ernesto ChevantonPerson: Julio Ricardo CruzPerson: Obafemi MartinsPerson: Paolo MonteroPerson: Alberto ZaccheroniPerson: Jorge LopezPerson: VicentePerson: Pablo AimarPerson: David VillaPerson: CaniPerson: Rafa BenitezPerson: Zinedine ZidanePerson: Luis FigoPerson: Roberto CarlosPerson: Esteban CambiassoPerson: GutiPerson: David BeckhamPerson: BakayokoPerson: RonaldoPerson: Claudio PizarroPerson: Alexander VoigtPerson: Rafael van der VaartEvent: Champions LeagueOrganisation: MilanOrganisation: AS RomaOrganisation: AC MilanOrganisation: JuventusOrganisation: Serie AOrganisation: LecceOrganisation: ModenaOrganisation: JuveOrganisation: Inter MilanOrganisation: RomaOrganisation: ArsenalOrganisation: InterOrganisation: ValenciaOrganisation: Real ZaragozaOrganisation: Real MadridOrganisation: OsasunaOrganisation: ZaragozaOrganisation: RealOrganisation: DeportivoOrganisation: VillarrealOrganisation: BarcelonaOrganisation: ValladolidOrganisation: El SadarOrganisation: Olympique MarseilleOrganisation: VfB StuttgartOrganisation: BundesligaOrganisation: VfL BochumOrganisation: Werder BremenOrganisation: Hamburg SVOrganisation: Bayern MunichOrganisation: CologneOrganisation: BayernOrganisation: CelticOrganisation: AjaxOrganisation: PSV EindhovenOrganisation: Feyenoord
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