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El Shaarawy scores twice as AC Milan beat Cagliari

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MILAN (AP) -Stephan El Shaarawy scored twice to help crisis-ridden AC Milan to a much-needed 2-0 win against 10-man Cagliari in Serie A on Wednesday.

El Shaarawy, who also scored in the loss at Udinese on Sunday, netted in each half and also had an effort deflected onto the crossbar as Milan ended the jinx of the new San Siro pitch. It is the team's first goals at home in any competition this season and the first time either of the Milan teams has won there.

Cagliari had several opportunities to score but had Daniele Conti sent off in the 66th minute to hurt its chances.

"We are all with him (coach Massimiliano Allegri), he has our confidence," El Shaarawy said. "We continue like this. I am young but I always try to give my maximum, today I think I succeeded. Today we had the right spirit, we attacked from the start. We suffered a bit but together we managed to win.

"I've had a lot of confidence from Allegri this year. He's allowing me to play. I'm really happy with the win, which will really boost our morale.

Elsewhere, Edinson Cavani missed a penalty but scored a hat trick as Napoli beat title rival Lazio 3-0 to move level on points with defending champion Juventus at the top of the table.

"I don't know if it's a two-way fight with Juventus for the title, it's way too early to say so," Cavani said. "The only thing we know is that we have a good group and the best staff. We hope to continue like this, like we did tonight.

"I'm happy for the three goals, but what matters here is the squad's aims. We are all happy because we had a great match and there is so much desire to do well, even from those that aren't on the pitch. We always have to give our maximum."

Napoli's game was also a fantastic advertisement for fair play after Miroslav Klose appeared to put the home side ahead in the fourth minute. However, the German striker admitted to the referee that he had palmed it into the net and the goal was rightly ruled out.

Milan badly needed a victory but came into the game in the worst possible condition. Allegri was forced to watch the game from the stands after being banned for one match for insulting officials, while Kevin-Prince Boateng and Cristian Zapata were also serving suspensions.

Alexandre Pato, Mathieu Flamini and Sulley Muntari are all still injured, but Robinho made a return following a long layoff and played 25 minutes.

El Shaarawy slotted home the opening goal in the 15th minute following a brilliant through ball from Riccardo Montolivo. It was the Italy striker's first league goal against a team other than Udinese - against which he has scored three times.

Cagliari was unlucky not to get a penalty when Bakaye Traore - who was making his debut for Milan - shoved Francesco Pisano in the area.

Milan could have doubled its lead three minutes before the break. El Shaarawy's effort was deflected by Davide Astori onto the crossbar and it came out to Giampaolo Pazzini, who headed it goalward from seven yards, only for Astori to clear off the line.

Conti was sent off for an arm across Pazzini's face halfway through the second period, and El Shaarawy scored his third goal in two games eight minutes from fulltime.

There was more disappointment for Roma as it was held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Sampdoria. Francesco Totti opened the scoring in the 35th minute with his 216th Serie A goal, a day before his 36th birthday.

Sampdoria midfielder Enzo Maresca was sent off in the opening minute of the second half after picking up his second yellow card.

However, despite the numerical disadvantage, Sampdoria leveled shortly after the hour mark following a horrendous error from Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who dropped the ball straight at the feet of Gianni Munari for the easiest of tap-ins.

Elsewhere, Inter Milan strolled to a 2-0 win at Chievo Verona, courtesy of goals from Alvaro Pereira and Antonio Cassano.

It was a comedy of errors at Catania as the home side beat Atalanta 2-1.

Catania goalkeeper Mariano Andujar kicked a harmless back pass straight at Atalanta's Maximiliano Moralez, who was just yards away. Moralez rounded the shot-stopper and fired home.

Atalanta's lead lasted just three minutes before Nicolas Spolli leveled with a header that crept in between Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli's legs.

Pablo Barrientos scored the winner for Catania.

Genoa drew 1-1 with Parma. Alessandro Lucarelli gave Parma the lead, but Marco Borriello leveled from the spot two minutes from time.

Borriello had sent an earlier penalty crashing off the left upright.

Meanwhile, Torino hit the goal frame three times as it drew 0-0 with Udinese.

In the earlier game, Vladimir Weiss scored a stunning 87th-minute goal to give Pescara its first Serie A win in 20 years, a 1-0 victory against 10-man Palermo.

Palermo went close several times in the first half but defender Steve von Bergen received a straight red card in the 35th minute. He used his hand to stop Ante Vukusic from going clear through on goal just outside the area.

It is Gian Piero Gasperini's second loss in charge since taking over from the fired Giuseppe Sannino just over a week ago.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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