Ibrahimovic Past Milestone 500th Club Goal To Keep AC Milan Atop Serie A

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted a brace for a 501-goal tally in club football to help AC Milan hammer backmarkers Crotone 4-0.

The win helped them reclaim a Serie A lead temporarily held by crosstown rivals Inter Milan.

The Nerazzurri, who beat Fiorentina 2-0 on Friday as they opened Match Day 21, sit now two points behind the Devils.

Champions Juventus are third, seven points off the top with a game in hand.

The 39-year-old Ibrahimovic finished an exchange with Rafael Leao in the 30th minute to fire past visiting goalkeeper Alex Cordaz, who is one year his junior.

He was unmarked when Theo Hernandez found him in the box on 64 minutes.

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The Swedish star is now two goals behind Juve’s Serie A top season goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored his 16th in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Roma.

“This means that I scored a few goals in my career,” Ibrahimovic said. “But the important thing is to help my team-mates. My job is to score and help my team get goals.”

Ibrahimovic’s illustrious career includes titles in the Netherlands with Ajax, Italy with both AC and Inter Milan, Spain with FC Barcelona and France with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

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Ante Rebic also enjoyed a brace, with a header and a fierce deflection, before exiting with Ibrahimovic, giving way to Jens Hauge and new signing Mario Mandzukic.

“Looking at what [Ibrahimovic] does, how he trains and prepares for games, I am hardly surprised,” AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli said.

“He is a champion. An athlete with immense motivation and he is very conscientious about his physique.”

Newcomers Benevento and visiting Sampdoria drew 1-1 in earlier mid-table action.

Gianluca Caprari stunned his former goalkeeping team-mate Emil Audero from a tight angle to put Southerners Benevento ahead in the second half but Keita Balde flicked in Samp’s equaliser with 10 minutes left.

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The Genoa side stayed 10th, four points above 14th-placed Benevento, with Bologna 13th on goal difference.

This was after Musa Barrow’s brace and Riccardo Orsolini’s effort sealed their 3-0 defeat of second-last Parma in a regional derby.Ninth-place Verona lost 2-0 against Udinese as a Marco Silvestri own goal and a late Gerard Deulofeu effort pushed the Udine hosts to 11th.

Lazio versus Cagliari completes the Sunday programme.

On Saturday, Napoli lost 2-1 at Genoa, Atalanta drew 3-3 with Torino and promoted Spezia won 2-1 at Sassuolo. (dpa/NAN)

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