Football: Eranio extends Milan's run

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The Independent Online
Milan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Porto. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

THE NEXT unbeaten run now stands at two. With no Paul Gascoigne or his like to worry the life out of them last night the millionaires of Milan continued their inexorable progress to their rightful destiny which is a place in the European Cup final.

If anything is predictable in an unpredictable game, that is it. As predictable as Milan beating the champions of Portugal, though their inability to score more than once kept a slight degree of doubt in the San Siro until Philip Don's final whistle.

If it was not their greatest performance of a near-immaculate season, the victory at least maintained their two-point advantage over Gothenberg in the Champions' League grouping while extending to 66 the consecutive games in this competition and the Italian League without defeat.

Their unbeaten run in all competitions foundered against Roma last week and Gascoigne's Lazio took them all the way on Sunday. Such rare occurrences are bound to have an effect even among the most skilful, most committed and most organised, which patently this pounds 50m dream team are.

They also had six missing through injury - including their trio of Dutch masters - so the only import to start the game was the Frenchman, Jean-Pierre Papin.

Big problems? Hardly. The Portuguese were chasing shadows from the start and only the scoreboard showed equality until the 31st minute when Stefano Eranio exchanged passes with Marco Simone and walloped his shot into the top corner from a distance of 18 yards.

Porto almost equalised soon after but Sebastiano Rossi denied Ion Timofte quite brilliantly. In the 68th minute it was the post which defied the attempt of Demetrio Albertini to give Milan the scoreline their superiority warranted.

Milan: Rossi; Gambaro, Maldini, Albertini, Costacurta, Baresi, Lentini (Massaro, 67), Eranio, Papin, Evani, Simone (Savicevic, 80).

Porto: Vitor Baia; Joao Pinto, Jorge Silva, Aloisio, Fernando Couto, Timofte (Domingos, 65), Paulo Santos, Kostadinov, Jorge Couto, Semedo, Andre (Bino, 81).

Referee: P Don (Harrow, Middlesex).