Muntari scores on AC Milan debut

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AC Milan capped a superb week with a 3-1 win at Cesena that sees them return to the top of the Serie A standings above Juventus.

With confidence soaring after beating title rivals Udinese 2-1 last week and then thrashing Arsenal 4-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday, Milan stormed into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 31 minutes thanks to goals from debutant Sulley Muntari and Urby Emanuelson.

Robinho then added a third 10 minutes after half-time before second-bottom Cesena netted a consolation goal through Daniel Pudil midway through the second half.

The victory lifts Milan a point clear of Juve, who provisionally took over top spot with a win over Catania last night, although the Turin club still have a game in hand.

The visitors dominated from the start and Muntari (twice), Emanuelson (twice), Thiago Silva and Massimo Ambrosini all had efforts inside the opening 10 minutes as Milan threatened to swamp their relegation-threatened opponents.

Muntari and Robinho then failed to hit the target with further openings before Milan finally took the lead in the 28th minute when Muntari, who last month joined on loan from Inter Milan, slotted in from close range after Cesena goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli had saved Thiago Silva’s free-kick.

Milan did not have to wait so long to make their next breakthrough, with Emanuelson making it 2-0 just three minutes later with a superb shot from outside the box.

Cesena finally gave Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati something to think about as they sought a foothold back into the game, but Vincenzo Iaquinta’s header was saved and the visiting custodian otherwise had precious little to do prior to the break.

The hosts looked more dangerous at the start of the second half with the unmarked Adrian Mutu heading over from close range and Pudil also firing wide, but Milan increased their lead in the 55th minute when Robinho slotted home Ignazio Abate’s pass.

That all but ensured the points would be returning to Milan with Massimiliano Allegri’s men, although Cesena gave them a slight scare in the 65th minute when Pudil pulled a goal back with a left-footed effort.

Marco Parolo and Iaquinta then tried to make further in-roads for the hosts, but they could not reduce the deficit as Milan claimed the spoils.

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