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SOCCER

Milan climbs to third after holding off Parma

Mario Balotelli continued his good start to life with AC Milan as he scored in the second half of the club's 2-1 win over Parma at the San Siro on Friday.

Balotelli has now scored four goals in his first three games for Milan, which moved into third place along with Lazio after the victory.

Parma had a few early chances that failed to yield goals, but Milan went in front shortly before the break when a low cross from the right wing was delivered into the area by Kevin-Prince Boateng, forcing Parma defender Gabriel Paletta to attempt a sliding clearance that ended up in his own net.

Parma had trouble recovering after the break as Milan set out to add to its advantage, which nearly happened in the 53rd minute when Boateng fired a shot just wide.

But Balotelli gave the home side a bit of breathing room with a splendid free kick 12 minutes from time.

Parma pulled a goal back just before the final whistle through Nicola Sansone, but it had no impact on the final outcome.

Juventus extended its lead atop Serie A to five points last weekend and aims to maintain that edge with a win at a struggling Roma side, which has earned just two points from its last six games.

Second-place Napoli puts a seven-game unbeaten streak on the line at home against mid-table Sampdoria, while Lazio tries to snap a four-match winless run when the club travels to second-from-the-bottom Siena.

Inter Milan likely lost leading scorer Diego Milito for the season due to a knee injury, and the Nerazzurri visits sixth-place Fiorentina on Sunday.

Palermo resides on the bottom of the league, but the club has earned draws in three of its last four games and visits Chievo, while Pescara sits one point from safety and hosts bottom-half Cagliari.

Bologna invades Catania on Sunday and Genoa hosts Udinese with the home side one point above the relegation places.