MILAN - Filippo Inzaghi scored a hat-trick to help AC Milan strengthen their grip on third spot in Serie A with a 3-0 home win over Atalanta on Sunday. The 35-year-old goal poacher, injured or overlooked for much of the season, grabbed the opener after seven minutes when he turned in Marek Jankulovski's cross. Nervy Milan, who lost 2-1 at Sampdoria last weekend, almost let Atalanta back into the game before two more trademark Inzaghi strikes midway through the second half. He ran onto Alexandre Pato's delightful pass and lifted the ball over the goalkeeper before slotting home. Soon after, he tapped in Gianluca Zambrotta's cross after a neat move. David Beckham celebrated the extension of his loan deal until June by playing in a new role behind the forwards for injury-hit Milan, who were without Kaka and Ronaldinho. The Rossoneri are now five points clear in the final automatic Champions League qualifying spot after fourth-placed Fiorentina were beaten 2-0 at home by Palermo. Simplicio gave the mid-table Sicilians the lead early in the second period after Sebastien Frey had saved Fabrizio Miccoli's shot. Miccoli scored a fine second on 56 minutes to stun the off-colour Florence club. Lazio reignited their hopes of a UEFA Cup berth by winning 2-0 at Napoli thanks to Tommaso Rocchi's classy double. Early pacesetters Napoli have now not won in nine and coach Edy Reja is increasingly under pressure. Towards the bottom, Serie A top scorer Marco Di Vaio netted the second hat-trick of the day to give Bologna a 3-0 win over inconsistent Sampdoria and take his season's tally to 19. Reggina, four adrift at the foot of the table, drew 0-0 at second-bottom Lecce but were unlucky that Bernardo Corradi's effort was ruled not to have crossed the line. Serie A leaders Inter Milan maintained their seven-point advantage on Saturday when the champions won 2-0 at Genoa and second-placed Juventus, five above Milan, beat derby rivals Torino 1-0.
8 March 2009
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