Parma 0 - 2 AC Milan
Italy: Serie A leader AC Milan beats Parma
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his fifth goal in three matches as Serie A leader AC Milan looked sharp in a 2-0 win over Parma on Saturday to warm up for its Champions League quarterfinal with Barcelona.
Ibrahimovic put Milan ahead in the 17th minute with a penalty at Parma's Tardini Stadium and Dutch midfielder Urby Emanuelson doubled the lead in the 55th after completing an end-to-end sequence.
Milan remained four points clear of Juventus, which routed 10-man Fiorentina 5-0 with goals from Mirko Vucinic, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and Simone Padoin.
Parma remained in a tie for 16th with Cagliari, six points clear of the relegation zone, and Fiorentina is only one point above Parma.
In Friday's Champions League draw, Milan was paired with European champion Barcelona. The first leg will be in Milan on March 28, with the second leg in Spain on April 3.
Before then, Milan visits Juventus in the Italian Cup semifinals Tuesday, then could face another stiff test against Roma next weekend.
In Parma, Milan president and former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi made a rare appearance at an away match and he wasn't disappointed.
"When Berlusconi comes it's always a good sign," Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri said. "When he's here we want to do even better than we usually do."
After Parma threatened early with Sebastian Giovinco and Chilean midfielder Jaime Valdes, Parma defender Cristian Zaccardo was given a yellow card for a hand ball on a shot from Emanuelson.
Ibrahimovic coolly converted the spot kick for his league-leading 20th goal of the season, with five of those goals coming since the Sweden international returned from a three-match ban for slapping Napoli defender Salvatore Aronica in the face.
Milan had another chance in the 20th but Emanuelson somehow couldn't find the target from two meters (yards) following a rebound of a free kick from Ibrahimovic.
Milan defender Thiago Silva headed off the crossbar in the 42nd and Parma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante had to charge forward to disrupt Ibrahimovic seconds later.
Ibrahimovic had another chance blocked by Mirante in the 52nd and Emanuelson scored his second goal of the season three minutes later, dribbling by several defenders and Mirante before finding the empty net.
Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati preserved the shutout with a series of tough saves in the closing minutes.
Veteran Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso came on for the final minutes for his first action in six months, since being diagnosed with myasthenia, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease that affected his left eye.
In Florence, Juve's intentions were clear from the start when Vucinic hit the post in the sixth. The Montenegro striker then found the target in the 15th with a precise shot from within the penalty area.
Fiorentina was reduced to 10 men in the 20th when Alessio Cerci was sent off for kicking Paolo De Ceglie, after De Ceglie had taken a swipe at him.
In the 27th, Vidal took a pass from the in-form Vucinic and scored off his own rebound.
Vucinic also provided the pass for a header from Italy midfielder Marchisio that made it 3-0 in the 54th, and Pirlo scored with a sliding effort in the 67th.
Padoin added a close-range goal in the 72nd.
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Fiorentina 0 - 5 Juventus
Five-star Bianconeri thrash 10-man hosts to end run of four successive draws
A 21st minute red card to Cerci made it all too easy for the Turin outfit, who romped to a five-goal victory that moves them to within four points of Milan at the top of the table
Juventus dismantled Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi as a resounding 5-0 victory maintained their push for the Serie A title after putting an end to a sequence of four consecutive league draws.
Mirko Vucinic opened the scoring just after a quarter of an hour, but the real turning point in the match was the dismissal of Alessio Cerci, who saw red for a petulant kick on Martin Caceres after 21 minutes.
The hosts never recovered from the numerical disadvantage, and further goals from Artuo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and Simone Padoin rounded off the emphatic win for Antonio Conte's men, who close the gap at the top of the table on AC Milan to four points.
Juventus nearly stormed into the lead after only six minutes of play. Vucinic’s shot from the edge of the area rebounded off the base of the post, and Alessandro Matri's follow up was volleyed high and wide.
However, 10 minutes later, Vucinic would make no mistake as he fired the visitors into the lead. A brilliant short passing move found the Montenegrin in space at the top of the box, and his curled effort flew in with Artur Bouc rooted to the spot.
Juventus took full advantage of their numerical superiority from 21 minutes onwards following Cerci's dismissal as they doubled their lead just before the half-hour mark. Andrea Pirlo’s near post corner was held up fantastically by Vucinic, who set up Vidal for a strike on goal. The Chilean’s initial effort was saved, but he wasted little time in slotting the rebound home.
It was one way traffic thereafter, as Juve had little trouble in maintaining pressure in the attacking third. Fiorentina were perhaps relieved to see the half time whistle blow as they were struggling to keep the visitors at bay.
However, the Viola regrouped and renewed their focus after the break and controlled play at the start of the second half. Nevertheless, it was Juventus who went closest to scoring again in the 52nd minute when Matri teed up Vucinic for a strike from outside the box which flashed just wide.
Moments later, Juventus grabbed their third. Marchisio was both the architect and the finisher, spraying the ball wide to Vucinic, continuing his run into the box and heading home the Montenegrin’s cross from point blank range.
With an hour gone, Andrea Lazzari sent a powerful shot that seemed to be destined for the back of the net, but a fingertip stop from Gianluigi Buffon diverted the shot onto the post.
Juventus added another goal not long after when a sumptuous through-ball by Vucinic was tracked by Pirlo, who dinked his shot impudently over Boruc and into the back of the net.
Fiorentina were floored after the fourth goal, and found themselves further behind in the 72nd minute. Pirlo’s long range effort took a deflection right into the path of substitute Padoin, who, with his first touch of the match, side-footed home with aplomb.
The remainder of the contest was played out by the visitors with consummate ease, never looking troubled as they closed the match at their own pace.
The result sees Juventus reduce the deficit on Milan at the top of the table to four points with 10 games remaining. Fiorentina meanwhile sink to 16th place, seven points above the relegation zone.