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Ilicic nets twice as Atalanta destroy AC Milan

Josip Ilicic has scored seven times in Serie A for Atalanta this season © AFP/File / MIGUEL MEDINA

MILAN, Italy, Dec 22 Slovenia international Josip Ilicic scored two terrific goals as Atalanta demolished AC Milan 5-0 in Serie A on Sunday to climb up to fifth.

Atalanta captain Papu Gomez fired the hosts ahead on 10 minutes when he gathered the ball on the left wing and drifted into the area before blasting beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Mario Pasalic, on loan from Chelsea, added a second on the hour in Bergamo when he flicked in a flashing drive from Robin Gosens.

Ilicic made it 3-0 with a clinical finish after a Pasalic assist and the Slovenian attacker struck again on 72 minutes when he curled a majestic strike into the top corner from 20 yards.

Luis Muriel then replaced Ilicic and scored with minutes of his introduction, pouncing on hesitancy from Donnarumma to round out a resounding victory.

Atalanta have scored a league-best 43 goals this season and trail Roma by four points in the race for the final Champions League spot.

The Bergamo side are competing in the Champions League for the first time this season and were drawn against Valencia in the last 16 after scraping through the group stage.

Napoli travel to Sassuolo later searching for a first victory in the league since October 19. They have gone eight matches without a win in Serie A and were beaten 2-1 by Parma last weekend in Gennaro Gattuso’s first game in charge.

The former AC Milan and Italy international replaced Carlo Ancelotti, who was appointed Everton manager on Saturday — just over after he was sacked by Napoli.

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Inter Milan and reigning champions Juventus are locked on 42 points at the top as the Italian league prepares to head into a two-week winter recess.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Inter beat Genoa 4-0 on Saturday while Juventus, who overcame Sampdoria 2-1 on Wednesday, take on Lazio in the Italian Super Cup in Saudi Arabia later on Sunday.

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