AC Milan win at Cagliari to retain lead

AC Milan's Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie (R) challenges Cagliari's Italian forward Leonardo Pavoletti (Rear) and Cagliari's Italian defender Raoul Bellanova during the Italian Serie A football match between Cagliari and AC Milan, on March 19, 2022 at the Sardegna Arena in Cagliari.

Amid a tight race for the Serie A title, AC Milan are displaying more consistency than their rivals.

On a night when defending champion Inter Milan were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Fiorentina, Milan won 1-0 at relegation-threatened Cagliari to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches.

Milan remained three points ahead of Napoli, who came from a goal down to beat visiting Udinese 2-1 earlier on Saturday.

On a rainy night in Sardinia, Ismael Bennacer scored with a long-distance volley for Milan near the hour mark.

The goal was set up by Olivier Giroud, who failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity early on when he missed the target from close range.

Also in the first half, Milan midfielder Franck Kessie hit the post from long range.

Cagliari nearly equalised in the 90th with a shot from Leonardo Pavoletti that hit the crossbar.

Milan won at Napoli two weeks ago, while Inter have taken just seven points from theit past seven matches.

Victor Osimhen was Napoli's goal scorer again, bagging another double.

After Gerard Deulofeu had given Udinese an early advantage, Osimhen equalised in the second half with a header then won it with one touch by redirecting a cross from Giovanni Di Lorenzo.

Oshimhen, who also had a brace in Napoli's 2-1 win at Verona last weekend, will miss the team's next match for accumulated cards.

Udinese were reduced to 10 men in the end when Pablo Mari was sent off with a straight red for a high foul on Piotr Zielinski.

Third-place Inter lost ground on the top by dropping two points at the San Siro.

The defending champions have won just once in their past seven league outings to trail their city rivals Milan by six points -- although the Nerazzurri have a game in hand.

Lucas Torreira put eight-placed Fiorentina ahead after the break when he beat Nicolo Barella to a cross.

Denzel Dumfries levelled for Inter five minutes later with a header.

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