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Football: Inzhagi's era at AC Milan opens with 3-1 win

Filippo Inzaghi got his tenure as AC Milan coach off to the best possible start with a scintillating 3-1 victory over Lazio at the San Siro on Sunday (Aug 31).

ROME: Filippo Inzaghi got his tenure as AC Milan coach off to the best possible start with a scintillating 3-1 victory over Lazio at the San Siro on Sunday (Aug 31). But in the day's other early fixture, Atalanta and Verona played out a drab goalless draw.

New Rossoneri signing Fernando Torres was in the stands alongside president Silvio Berlusconi, to watch goals from Keisuke Honda, Sulley Muntari and a Jeremy Menez penalty give Inzaghi's men three well-earned points.

"Today we won, but we mustn't delude ourselves," Inzaghi told Sky Sport Italia. "For the first hour we played a near perfect game, then we struggled a bit against Lazio, who I think will be the surprise team this season. We have created a good group here, which makes me happy. Even if we lose a few games, it will be against teams who are stronger, not those who have more desire."

Initially, Milan looked nervous in defence with Lazio keen to exploit centre back Daniele Bonera, who had lined up in the left back position, but it wasn't long before any trepidation was extinguished, as Milan opened the scoring after just seven minutes.

Stephan El Shaarawy latched on to a hopeful long ball on the left, rode the challenge of Stefan de Vrij, before sliding the ball to the in-rushing Honda on the right, who put it through the legs of Etrit Berisha.

The goal settled the home side who were comfortably dictating the play. Menez managed to get to the right byline, his low cross flashing across goal and begging to be tapped home.

In an opening period with little in the way of goalmouth action, Lazio's only meaningful chance came midway through the half as Miroslav Klose got in behind the Milan defence down the right, but his cross deflected off Cristian Zapata only to be easily gathered by goalkeeper Diego Lopez.

Lazio though, came out for the second half with renewed vigour, Balde Keita almost sent Klose in on goal, before the German himself with a more accurate pass would have set-up Lucas Biglia on the edge of the area.

But ten minutes in, Milan doubled their advantage against the run of play. A simple cross from Ignazio Abate on the right, bounced in the six-yard area, inviting the unmarked Muntari to poke it home.

Then, just after the hour mark de Vrij brought down Menez in the area with the slightest of touches and the Frenchman stepped up to take the resulting spot kick and fired low into the goalkeeper's right-hand corner.

But Lazio immediately pulled one back as Filip Djordjevic's near-post flick was deflected in at his near left-hand post by Alex. That goal seemed to give Lazio a new lease of life. Stefano Mauri's shot from 18 yards out was lashed wide, before he was again denied, this time by an Alex block, then Antonio Candreva forced a point-blank save from Lopez low at his near post.

Lazio's perseverance paid off as Candreva won a penalty in time added on, but Lopez got down low to his right and palmed the midfielder's spot kick away.

Over in Bergamo, Luca Toni had the best chance of the game for Verona, as he was left unmarked from a corner early in the second half, but he pushed his header wide in what was an utterly dull affair.

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