Menez brace revives Milan

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Jeremy Menez scored twice to down Udinese 2-0 at San Siro as AC Milan climbed to fifth in Serie A. The France forward converted a 65th-minute penalty after Maurizio Domizzi's dismissal to give Milan the lead their display deserved and he doubled up with a fine individual goal 10 minutes later. Nineteen minutes from time Michael Essien saw red for a second bookable offence but Filippo Inzaghi's side were barely tested by the visitors, who slipped one place to ninth in the league table. Even though they failed to score, the first half belonged to Milan and their first real chance came in the ninth minute as Menez's close-range effort was blocked by the sliding Danilo. It looked like Adil Rami had fired the hosts ahead in the 17th minute but Orestis Karnezis just managed to flick the ball out of the goalmouth before it crossed the line completely. The Greek goalkeeper was kept rather busy from that point forward, first watching Giacomo Bonaventura rasp the ball just wide before clearing Menez's dangerous cross to safety. Stephan El Shaaraway came knocking in the 36th minute but Karnezis timed his run perfectly to gather the Italy international's drive. Menez collected Keisuke Honda's through ball before rattling a post as Milan turned the screw and, two minutes before the break, the former came up just short on the latter's ball across the box. The Rossoneri resumed their domination when play restarted and El Shaarawy nearly got the better of Emmanuel Badu in the box before Essien tried to fool Karnezis from a long way out. Bonaventura whipped a free-kick just over the crossbar shortly after the hour mark and, several minutes later, Milan were handed an opportunity to open the scoring. Domizzi was adjudged to have impeded Honda in the penalty area and received a red card before Menez stepped up to slam the ball beyond Karnezis. Udinese would not be outnumbered for long, as Essien picked up his second yellow card in the 71st minute for holding his arm against Allan's face. His first offence had been a foul on Guilherme. Six minutes later, Milan doubled their lead through Menez. The Frenchman used excellent skill to skip away from Danilo before rasping a powerful finish past Karnezis and into the back of the net. Menez was then withdrawn for Giampaolo Pazzini to a standing ovation and Milan promptly closed ranks to sit on the points, with only a late attempt from Alex Geijo offering Udinese fans any comfort.