Football: Milan title hopes all but perish in Verona

The recently deposed Italian national team coach, Arrigo Sacchi, saw the hopes of Milan - his new side - retaining the Serie A title all but disappear in a 3-1 defeat at Verona.

For Sacchi it was a case of deja vu; it was in an infamous match in Verona seven years ago that Sacchi, then in his first spell as Milan coach, was shown the red card along with the Dutchmen Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard as his side went down by the same score in a defeat which handed the title to Diego Maradona's Napoli.

Milan are in 10th place 11 points adrift of Juventus with little chance of closing the gap. Juve beat Reggiana 3-1 with goals from Michele Padovano, Vladimir Jugovic and Alessio Tacchinardi. It leaves Juventus four points clear of Sampdoria, 5-2 winners against Perugia. The Genoa side came from 2-1 down to win with a brace apiece from Roberto Mancini and Vincenzo Montella. The latter is now equal top scorer in the league with Filippo Inzaghi, of Atalanta. Vicenza moved into third place, on 30 points, with a 3-2 win over Cagliari.

The Brazilian striker Ronaldo celebrated his Fifa World Player of the Year award with a first-half hat-trick as Barcelona thrashed Rayo Vallecano 6-0 to stay second in the Spanish League, three points behind Real Madrid, who were led to a 4-0 victory over Celta Vigo by another Brazilian, the wing-back Roberto Carlos.

Struggling Extremadura rounded off a disastrous week for Deportivo La Coruna's John Toshack by snatching a scrappy 1-0 victory on Saturday. It was Deportivo's first away defeat of the the season and is bound to increase pressure on the beleaguered Welsh coach. Earlier in the week Deportivo began disciplinary proceedings against Toshack for insulting the crowd in last weekend's game against Athletic Bilbao.

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