European Football: Gullit's bullet ends Milan record

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RUUD GULLIT, offloaded by Milan in the summer, scored Sampdoria's winner against his former employers yesterday, the 3-2 home win ending Milan's two-year tenure of the premier position in Italy, writes Henry Winter.

Milan's first away Serie A defeat for 29 months allowed yesterday's tormentors and Juventus to leapfrog them. Juve picked up Milan's dropped baton in swaggering style, Roberto Baggio converting a pair of penalties and a fine volley in the 4-0 victory over Genoa.

Milan's position of pre-eminence appeared inalienable when Demetrio Albertini and Brian Laudrup scored but Samp, with David Platt an influential cog, took control after the break. Srecko Zatanec's well-directed header and Roberto Mancini's penalty brought them level before the delighted dreadlock broke the deadlock with a late drive. 'All three goals were very debatable,' Milan's angry and ungenerous coach, Fabio Capello, said.

Barcelona were also dethroned in similar fashion, Atletico Madrid cancelling out Romario's first-half treble to prevail 4-3. The Pole, Roman Kosecki, began the comeback with two fine shots past Andoni Zubizarreta either side of Pedro Gonzalez's fulsome free-kick. Jose Caminero's 88th-minute winner sent the 50,000 Vicente Calderon crowd into rapture.

Two teams overtook the collapsing Catalans: Valencia, 3-0 winners over Celta, were followed by Aston Villa's midweek opponents, Deportivo La Coruna, who dismissed Osasuna 3-1 with goals from Bebeto, Fran and Donato.

Another Valencia, Bayern Munich's Adolfo, scored twice in a 4-0 beating of Kaiserslautern. The outstanding Christian Ziege and Lothar Matthaus, from the spot, also lifted Bayern's spirits before their daunting trip to Norwich.