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Shevchenko gives AC Milan victory

Shevchenko's goal kept Milan on the trail of Juventus at the top of Serie A

ROME, Italy -- AC Milan maintained the pressure on Serie A leaders Juventus after a goal by striker Andrei Shevchenko gave them a 1-0 win against Sampdoria.

The result consolidated Milan's second place in the division with 20 points from nine games, two fewer than Juve who host Chievo on Sunday.

Milan's city rivals Inter are a further seven points adrift after losing the lead to draw 1-1 with Lazio.

Milan had won all their away matches this season, but Sampdoria's defence comfortably soaked up the pressure in a tight first half.

The best chance before the interval came in the 34th minute, when home keeper Francesco Antonioli turned Jon Dahl Tomasson's shot round the post.

After the break Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti replaced Tomasson with Shevchenko and the substitution paid off in the 76th minute when winger Serginho surged through Sampdoria's defence.

Antonioli blocked his shot, but couldn't prevent the ball falling into the path of the Ukrainian, who slotted home the rebound.

"Shevchenko's entrance was fundamental, but the whole squad played well," said Ancelotti. "The important thing was to keep pace with Juventus and we managed that. Everything is going well, we're in good shape."

"It has been an amazing two days," said Shevchenko, who also celebrated the birth of his son, Jordan, on Friday. "I only rejoined the team this morning and now I've scored the winning goal."

Inter had a less happy time at the San Siro stadium. They struggled to impose themselves against Lazio who went close to establishing a first-half lead when goalkeeper Alberto Fontana had to dive to turn Christian Manfredini's free kick round his post.

Inter came out in a more determined fashion after the break, however, and took the lead less than 60 seconds later when Adriano raced on to a long pass and beat keeper Matteo Sereni with a powerful left-footed shot.

For long periods of the second half Lazio's attack failed to threaten at all, but with six minutes remaining defender Leonardo Talamonti rose to head a cross past Fontana and condemn Inter to their seventh draw in nine games.

It was also the fourth time this season that Inter had squandered a winning position after losing the lead in previous Serie A matches against Palermo, AS Roma and Lecce.

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