Luca Bruno, Associated Press
MILAN — Zlatan Ibrahimovic's late goal helped AC Milan beat Roma 2-1 Saturday and move provisionally seven points clear at the top of Serie A.
Pablo Osvaldo gave Roma the lead against the run of play at the end of the first half but Ibrahimovic leveled from the spot after Daniele De Rossi handled in the area.
The game seemed to be heading for a draw before Ibrahimovic scored again seven minutes from time to take his tally for the season to 22 — including seven in the past four league games.
It was a deserved win for Milan, which had dominated for long periods and hit the woodwork twice through Stephan El Shaarawy and Sulley Muntari.
Milan is seven points clear of Juventus, which hosts Inter Milan Sunday.
The result will also boost Milan's confidence ahead of the first leg of its Champions League quarterfinal against Barcelona on Wednesday.
The one sour note was the sight of Thiago Silva leaving the pitch in the 10th minute clutching his right thigh. The Brazilian defender had been a doubt before the game and now faces a race against time to be fit for the Barcelona match.
Milan dominated the first half and had several opportunities to go in front.
Ibrahimovic, who enjoyed most of those chances, came close to giving Milan the lead in the 12th minute with a powerful free kick that was tipped over the bar by Maarten Stekelenburg.
The Roma goalkeeper was again called into action moments later when he rushed out just in time to kick the ball clear of Ibrahimovic.
El Shaarawy also went close, in the 16th minute, when Gabriel Heinze's clearance fell straight to the young striker who fired narrowly wide of the left upright. It was then Urby Emanuelson's turn but he shot over when he should have passed to an unmarked Ibrahimovic.
Roma had barely had a sight of goal but slowly started to come into the game after Milan's flurry of chances.
Ibrahimovic should have given Milan the lead shortly after the half-hour mark when he did well to get in front of Heinze onto Muntari's cross, but his weak header was straight at Stekelenburg.
Milan went even closer in the 40th when El Shaarawy's fierce effort crashed into the right post.
However, Roma took a surprise lead a minute from halftime when a Milan clearance fell straight to De Rossi, whose shot was turned in by Osvaldo.
Roma almost extended its lead shortly after the break as Francesco Totti tried to lob Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, but his effort also went over the bar.
Milan leveled in the 53rd minute after Massimo Ambrosini's shot hit De Rossi's arm and Ibrahimovic stepped up to fire home his eighth penalty of the season.
Ibrahimovic came close to giving Milan the lead in the 71st when he raced into the right side of the penalty area but Stekelenburg pulled off a great save with his feet to deny the Sweden striker.
Milan went even closer when Abbiati's long goal kick was headed on first by Kevin-Prince Boateng and then by Ibrahimovic before Muntari controlled it and unleashed a fierce volley that rebounded off the crossbar.
However, Milan scored a deserved winner after Ibrahimovic raced past Simon Kjaer and onto a long ball from Muntari. The Sweden striker then lifted the ball over Stekelenburg and headed it in much to the home fans' delight.
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