Hernandez double fires Milan to Serie A summit with Venezia win

Ibrahimovic tapped in after two minutes, making the Venetians the 80th team the
Swede has scored against in Europe’s top five leagues, a record only Cristiano
Ronaldo has matched since 2000.

blasted home early in the second half, before Venezia defender Michael Svoboda
was sent off for blocking a goal-bound shot with his arm, giving Milan’s
stand-in captain the chance to dispatch the resulting penalty.

Milan, who
have not won the Serie A title since 2010-11, provisionally moved into first
place on 48 points, two ahead of Inter Milan.

However, the
reigning champions have two games in hand, including a clash with Lazio later
on Sunday.

“This must
be the year we prove ourselves. We need to show that we are competitive
again,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli told Sky Italia.

“We will see
if we can make the final step up, to be winners. This was not an easy game. We
did well to make it look simple. It was a team victory.”

winless run in the league now stands at seven games, and they sit in 16th place
on 17 points, four clear of the relegation zone.

marking his 400th game as a Serie A coach, had an 11-man absentee list to
contend with due to injuries and players on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

But his side
immediately took control when Rafael Leao picked out Ibrahimovic for the
simplest of finishes.

The lively
Portuguese winger bagged his second assist three minutes after the break by
sending a pass down the left wing for Hernandez to chase and power home from a
tight angle.

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Any chance
of a Venezia fightback crumbled before the hour mark, when Hernandez’s
close-range effort struck Svoboda’s arm.

The Austrian
was given a red card, and Hernandez calmly struck the resulting penalty into
the top corner.

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