Defensive horror shows at three corners saw AC Milan humiliate Juventus 3-0 at Turin's Stadio Olimpico and all but end their rivals’ Serie A title hopes and leave coach Ciro Ferrara's job on the line.
The victory meant Milan moved to within eight points of leaders Inter Milan with a game in hand and the Milan derby to come in two weeks time.
A victory for the rossoneri in that would ensure the champions come under much greater pressure than they have in their previous four title triumphs.
Juve are 12 points back and have lost six of their last eight matches in all competitions while they are also out of the Champions League.
Fans protested after the second goal and some clashed with police afterwards outside the ground but Ferrara remained defiant. “It's clear that the 3-0 was a fair result, this is a very difficult time for us,” he admitted. “But I honestly don't think my job is at risk, I'm totally concentrated on it.
“It's not up to me to make decisions, my energies need to be concentrated on the team and trying to overcome this moment.
“I understand (the fans') disappointment, it's understandable because we're not getting results, it has to be up to us to change these things.”
Alessandro Nesta and a Ronaldinho brace settled the affair but all three goals were due to Juve's inept defending at corners. Milan coach Leonardo denied the Old Lady of Turin had made life easy for his team, though.
Messi hat-trick fires Barca
Lionel Messi kept Barcelona on top of La Liga with a hat-trick in a 5-0 win at Tenerife on Sunday and Real Madrid had kept up the pressure with a 2-0 home win over Real Mallorca.
Champions Barca, two points clear of Real with 43 from 17 games, had goalkeeper Victor Valdes to thank for setting up their first win of 2010.
Valdes saved three one-on-ones in the early stages — the first deflected on to the crossbar — before Barca found any kind of rhythm in the face of frenetic pressuring from their hosts. Bojan Krkic, in for the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic, set up Messi for the opener in the 36th minute and Carles Puyol headed the second from a Messi free kick in the 44th.