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AC Milan stroll past Lecce, Roma win the derby

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<eine Klasse="Verknüpfung " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/players/374490/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Olivier Giroud;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Olivier Giroud</a> was one of the goalscorers <a class="Verknüpfung " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/milan/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Milan;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Milan</a>s easy victory over <a class="Verknüpfung " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/lecce/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Lecce;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Lecce</a> (GABRIEL BOUYS)” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Ws1uTX_XLFwx.Fz.cHSyuQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/ afp.com/c1814acec4b4b19b139705b0dd1af80e” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Ws1uTX_XLFwx.Fz.cHSyuQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/https://media.zenfs .com /en/afp.com/c1814acec4b4b19b139705b0dd1af80e”/><button class=

AC Milan beat 10-man Lecce 3-0 on Saturday to cement their second place in Serie A, while Roma beat local rivals Lazio 1-0 to boost their Champions League hopes.

Early goals from Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud and a fine finish from Rafael Leao just before the hour were enough for Milan to move 11 points behind leaders Inter Milan, who face struggling Udinese on Monday.

But with the title all but decided, Stefano Pioli's in-form side are close to securing Champions League football as they move nine points clear of third-placed Juventus after their seventh win in all competitions.

Juve host Fiorentina on Sunday with just seven points from their last nine league games and the Turin giants could end up in fourth place before kick-off if Bologna win at Frosinone.

A clear win at San Siro was also the perfect preparation for Milan's Italian derby in the quarter-finals of the Europa League against Roma.

“We feel good, we played the game the way we had planned in training… now we have to think about the Europa League quarter-finals, which is a completely different type of game and a big goal for both teams,” said Pioli told DAZN.

Lecce remain in 13th place, four points above the relegation zone, but were furious about two decisions that contributed to their heavy defeat.

Nikola Krstovic was stunned when he was shown a red card just before half-time for accidentally attacking Samuel Chukwueze.

The away side were already on the brink of defeat by this point when Pulisic's deflected shot took Milan within three points after five minutes before Giroud headed home Yacine Adli's corner 14 minutes later.

Leao then scored Milan's third goal in the 57th minute while Lecce winger Pontus Almqvist lay on the ground after first being knocked over with his shoulder by Theo Hernandez and then accidentally kneed in the head by the French left-back.

Lecce owner Saverio Sticchi Damiani ironically applauded from the stands as home fans celebrated Leao's sixth league goal of the season.

– Roma's derby fun –

Daniele De Rossi's Roma won their first local derby in more than two years and secured fifth place in Italy's top flight for another week, five points ahead of Atalanta, who play in Cagliari on Sunday and still have a game in hand.

Serie A leads the race for an additional place in next year's Champions League, meaning a top-five finish could be enough for Roma to qualify for Europe's premier club competition for the first time since 2018.

Gianluca Mancini ensured Roma would shine in the capital with a bullet header three minutes before half-time at the Stadio Olimpico.

Italian defender Mancini scored his fifth goal of the season from Paulo Dybala's corner to give Roma a deserved win. Both players then jumped into the stands to celebrate with the cheering fans.

“My heart is still pounding… I am the happiest man in the world,” Mancini told DAZN.

“We hadn’t won a derby for a long time so this is for them (the fans), they deserve it. The goal is a great feeling when the game is over, but the most important thing was to make sure we got the points.”

Former Roma captain De Rossi won his first Rome derby as a coach on the bounce after going winless four times under his predecessor Jose Mourinho.

Nominal hosts Roma were unlucky not to win more convincingly as they had the better chances and Stephan El Shaarawy hit a great chance against the post just after half-time.

De Rossi was also boosted by the return of England striker Tammy Abraham, who replaced Dybala with 11 minutes remaining and made her first appearance since tearing knee ligaments at the end of last season.

Lazio are nine points behind Roma in seventh place and can be overtaken this weekend by Napoli, Fiorentina and Torino, who face Empoli in Saturday's late game.

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