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By Brian Homewood
MILAN, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Big-spending AC Milan’s unhappy run continued on Sunday when they had captain Leonardo Bonucci sent off in the 25th minute for elbowing and were held 0-0 at home by lowly Genoa in Serie A.
Hapless Benevento became the first side in Serie A history to lose their first nine games of the season as they were sunk 3-0 at home by Fiorentina while AS Roma beat Torino 1-0 to clock up their eleventh successive away league win, a run which began in February.
Milan had lost their previous three Serie A games before being held to a dismal 0-0 draw at home by AEK Athens in the Europa League on Thursday and Sunday’s result will put even more pressure on coach Vincenzo Montella.
The seven-time European champions, jeered off at the end by their own fans, are 11th with 13 points from nine games despite spending more than 200 million euros ($235.66 million) in the transfer market in the summer.
“It’s an unusual moment,” said Montella. “We created more chances even when we had a player less. We’ve stayed united and that is how we will be for the next game.”
Milan were already struggling to break down Genoa when Bonucci lashed out at Aleandro Rosi with his elbow at a Milan corner, leaving the Genoa player with a deep cut on his face and needing treatment which took several minutes.
During that time the referee consulted the video replay and showed Bonucci the red card.
To their credit, Milan continued to take the match to Genoa even after they were a man down, creating numerous openings, and their spirited performance could just be enough to save Montella.
But it could also have been much worse for the hosts if Genoa, who have six points, had taken one of several chances at the other end.
Roma moved up to fifth with 18 points after Aleksandar Kolarov scored with a 25-metre free kick in the 69th minute.
Marco Benassi, Khouma Babacar and Cyril Thereau, from a penalty, scored Fiorentina’s goals as they added to bottom club Benevento’s misery.
Chievo came from behind to beat 10-man Verona 3-2 in their derby, with Sergio Pellisier scoring the winner in the 73rd minute after Roberto Inglese had grabbed a first-half brace.
Verona’s Argentina midfielder Bruno Zuculini had a miserable afternoon, as he was booked for giving away the free kick which led to Inglese’s first goal, conceded the penalty which led to his second and was sent off seven minutes before halftime.
Sassuolo won 1-0 at SPAL despite missing a penalty and having a player sent off.
Matteo Politano scored after 45 seconds for Sassuolo before Domenico Berardi missed a late penalty and Francesco Cassata was dismissed for a late tackle just three minutes after coming on for his Serie A debut. ($1 = 0.8487 euros) (Editing by Clare Fallon and Ian Chadband)