AC Milan put the Kaka transfer saga behind them to earn a vital 1-0 Serie A victory over Fiorentina at the San Siro to keep their title hopes alive.

Third-placed Milan began the day nine points behind leaders Inter Milan but closed the gap to just six ahead of their bitter rivals' trip to Atalanta on Sunday. The build-up to Milan's match had been dominated by Manchester City's reported 100-plus million euro bid for Kaka and Milan fans made their thoughts known before kick-off by unveiling a host of banners pleading with the Brazilian star to stay.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti kept the former FIFA World Player of the Year in the starting side and handed ex-England skipper David Beckham a home debut. However, Ronaldinho was dropped to the bench in favour of Massimo Ambrosini as Ancelotti looked for more midfield steel. Kaka would have dearly loved to score but instead it was his teenage compatriot Pato who snatched the winner to condemn Fiorentina to a second successive defeat. They remain in sixth place in the table.

Beckham had tried to cross from the left but hit a defender. As players rushed to the loose ball, Beckham got there just before two Fiorentina defenders and poked it back to Marek Jankulovski who played in Pato in the space vacated by the visiting players. There looked to be little danger from his position just inside the box in the left hand corner but Pato hit a stunning strike across goal and in off the far post. Fiorentina were enjoying the better of the game, although with the talent at Milan's disposal they looked the more dangerous.

AC Milan 1 - 0 Fiorentina Highligts

Other results;
January 17
Siena 1 - 0 Reggina
AC Milan 1 - 0 Fiorentina

January 18
Atalanta ? - ? Inter Milan
Cagliari ? - ? Udinese
Catania ? - ? Bologna
Chievo ? - ? Napoli
Lecce ? - ? Genoa
Sampdoria ? - ? Palermo
Torino ? - ? AS Roma
Lazio ? - ? Juventus


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