European Football: Massaro's double vision rescues Milan

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MILAN saved themselves from the indignity of a third successive defeat with a 2-1 home win over Cagliari yesterday, which earned the champions a one- point lead over Sampdoria at the top of Italy's Serie A, writes Rupert Metcalf.

After losing to Sao Paulo in the Intercontinental Cup in Tokyo and being knocked out of the Italian Cup by Piacenza, Milan had a point to prove. Daniele Massaro did the trick with two goals in three first-half minutes against the Sardinians.

Parma, the joint leaders before yesterday's games, lost their unbeaten home record with a 3-1 defeat by Napoli. Second-half goals from Uruguay's Daniel Fonseca - a spectacular overhead effort - and the Swede, Jonas Thern - his first in Serie A - gave Napoli their first win at Parma in 28 years.

The first half had seen two goals and two red cards: for Parma's Massimo Crippa and Napoli's Eugenio Corini after some unseemly kicking and grappling. Enzo Gambari had given the visitors an early lead before another Swede, Tomas Brolin, equalised from the penalty spot.

Sampdoria struggled to beat Reggiana 1-0, Attilio Lombardo hitting the only goal of the game, while Lazio needed a last-minute strike from Pierluigi Casiraghi to gain a 2-1 win at the bottom club, Lecce.

In Spain, John Toshack's Real Sociedad beat Real Madrid 2-0, with Luis Perez and the Bosnian forward, Meho Kodro, on target. Deportivo La Coruna are still top after beating the bottom club, Lerida, by the same margin. Donato and Bebeto, both Brazilians, were the scorers. Barcelona, a point adrift, overcame Celta Vigo 1-0 thanks to a Michael Laudrup goal.

An unhappy week for Sporting Lisbon saw them go down 2-1 to Benfica in the Stadium of Light. Luis Figo gave Bobby Robson's former club the lead before the break but second-half strikes from Sergei Yuran and Isaias gave Benfica victory and a two-point lead in the Portuguese League.

Before the game, Sporting's captain, Jorge Cadete, held up the No 9 shirt of their striker, Sergei Cherbakov, who is likely to be permanently paralysed due to spinal injuries suffered in a car crash last week.

Roberto Baggio, the Juventus striker, has been voted Fifa's 'World Player of the Year' by international coaches.