AC Milan stormed back to the top of Serie A with a 3-0 win at lowly Cesena as they made light of the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
In two games since the big Swede has been suspended for slapping Napoli's Salvatore Aronica, Milan have won both. Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari, on his debut, and versatile Dutchman Urby Emanuelson both scored their first goals for the club yesterday with Robinho adding the third as Milan went a point clear of Juventus, although having played a game more.
The two Italian giants meet next week in a top of the table clash at the San Siro. Juventus had taken over at the summit on Saturday with a 3-1 win over 10-man Catania. Daniel Pudil scored Cesena's consolation goal and defeat sees them go bottom of the table. Milan were quick out of the blocks and could have had three goals inside the first 10 minutes.
Muntari turned smartly in the box from Ignazio Abate's deflected cross but shot just past the upright. Francesco Antonioli then tipped over an Emanuelson shot from distance before the two Milan midfielders combined to put in captain Massimo Ambrosini one-on-one but the goalkeeper saved with his legs.
Robinho almost caught out Cesena when nipping onto a deflected croass but he headed wide. The breakthrough came on 29 minutes as Thiago Silva thumped a free-kick goalwards that Antonioli spilled, allowing Muntari to nip in and score. And just two minutes later Emanuelson countered with Robinho before cracking in a low shot from outside the post inside the corner.
Cesena did create a pair of chances but Christian Abbiati tipped over Vincenzo Iaquinta's header while Adrian Mutu headed over from six yards.
And 10 minutes into the second period it was game over as Robinho took a pass from Abate, surged between two defenders and finished into the far corner for his third goal in a week.
Pudil gave the home fans something to cheer about midway through the second period with a precise volley into the far corner Iaquinta had a couple more chances but couldn't find the net while Milan substitute Stephan El Shaarawy went through one-on-one with Antonioli but was denied by the goalkeeper.
Roma moved up to fifth and sent Inter Milan, who lost 3-0 at home to Bologna on Friday night, down to seventh with a 1-0 win over Parma. Fabio Borini scored the only goal from a tight angle after being played in by Miralem Pjanic.
Lecce came from a goal down to beat Siena 4-1 to boost their hopes of beating the drop this season. Lecce remain two points from safety but with Siena the team occupying the final survival position it was a crucial success.