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Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues AC Milan renaissance with first half double in win over Sassuolo

Zlatan Ibrahimovic rolled back the years with two fine finishes to help AC Milan beat Sassuolo 2-1 in Serie A on Tuesday night.

The 38-year-old found the net twice in the first half as Milan remained unbeaten since the restart of the season and guaranteed a place in the Europa League.

The Swede first got in front of his marker to head home from Hakan Calhanoglu’s cross in the 19th minute before almost netting again with another header at the back post 10 minutes later.

He would not be denied a second, however, latching on to a through ball before rounding Andrea Consigli and finishing just before half-time. 

Francesco Caputo had equalised from a penalty for Sassuolo, who had Mehdi Bourabia sent off in first-half stoppage time.

It was Milan’s seventh victory in the nine games since Serie A resumed following the pandemic-enforced break, having drawn the other two matches.

The win saw the Rosonneri move up to fifth with 59 points, enough to guarantee them at least a place in the Europa League qualifying rounds next season.

Ibrahimovic has impressed since rejoining on a free transfer in December, starting regularly and contributing eight goals and four assists in 17 appearances in all competitions. 

Meanwhile, Luis Muriel proved he has no lasting effects from a domestic accident as he scored the only goal to help Atalanta beat Bologna 1-0.

Muriel, who was wearing protective headgear after needing stitches following a fall on the edge of a swimming pool last week, scored in the 62nd minute.

Atalanta moved into second spot, six points behind Juventus and two above Inter, who both have played a match less.

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