Ibrahimovic matches Ronaldo record in Milan win

AC Milan's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) fights for the ball with Unione Venezia's Welsh defender Ethan Ampadu during the Serie A football match beetween Venezia and AC Milan on January 9, 2022 at the Pier Luigi Penso stadium in Venice.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has equalled a record set by Cristiano Ronaldo as he hit the target in AC Milan's 3-0 win over 10-man Venezia.

The evergreen 40-year-old striker opened the scoring with barely two minutes on the clock on Sunday, before a Theo Hernandez double completed the victory.

Venezia are the 80th team the Swedish veteran has scored against in the top five European leagues.

Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo, who achieved the feat against Burnley on December 30 in the Premier League, are the only players to reach that milestone since 2000.

Venezia put up a spirited defence but the match changed early in the second half as the home side swiftly went from 1-0 down to 3-0 down and had a player sent off after defender Michael Svoboda was shown a straight red card for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.

AC Milan's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks on during the Serie A football match beetween Venezia and AC Milan at the Pier Luigi Penso stadium in Venice on January 9, 2022.

The win put the Rossoneri, temporaily at least, to the top of the table, two points clear of Inter Milan, who were playing at Lazio later on Sunday.

Milan had won their opening match of the year 3-1 against Roma but were still without more than 10 players due to coronavirus, injuries and Africa Cup of Nations duty.

However, they got off to the perfect start when Rafael Leao cut inside from the left and rolled across for Ibrahimovic to tuck in from point-blank range.

Milan threatened to double the lead several times but had to wait until the start of the second half to do so thanks to another assist from Leao, who threaded the ball through for Hernandez to burst down the left and cut inside before blasting past Sergio Romero.

And any hope Venezia had of getting back into the match disappeared by the 58th minute when Svoboda was sent off for blocking a Hernandez shot on the line with his arm.

Hernandez, who was wearing the captain's armband, sent the resulting penalty into the top right corner.

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