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Milan fired up by the real Keisuke Honda

20 October 2014, 21:35

Milan - Keisuke Honda was finally being feted by a resurgent AC Milan after a brace of goals in a 3-1 win away to Verona reassured club bosses they had not mistakenly signed the player's brother.

The Japan international now appears to have drawn a firm line under a difficult first few months with the club he joined from CSKA Moscow midway through what was a torrid season for the fallen Serie A giants.

"I'm happy for the goals and for our win because I knew Milan historically struggle at this ground," Honda said in Gazzetta dello Sport Monday.

"I didn't play well or score while on international duty (against Jamaica) and in Verona I was much better, also because I scored from two great passes."

Also read: Mannone: We should give fans' money back after that

Honda's brace on Saturday allowed him to take the joint lead of the league scoring charts alongside Juventus striker Carlos Tevez, who has also hit the net six times this season although his tally has included two penalties.

By Sunday evening, Napoli forward Jose Callejon went joint top as well after hitting a brace in a 2-2 draw away to Inter Milan.

But without doubt, Honda's current form has been one of Serie A's talking points this weekend.

There was much fanfare at Milan's San Siro ground last January when Honda was unveiled as a potential saviour of a side that had been in the doldrums since a mass summer clear-out of players in 2012.

Yet apart from the rare glimpse of brilliance Honda endured a frustrating first four months with Milan as they went from bad to worse.

Massimiliano Allegri was sacked a day after Honda made his first Milan appearance, coming on as a substitute in a damatic 4-3 away defeat to Sassuolo.

That loss led to Allegri's sacking and his replacement by Clarence Seedorf, and in 18 appearances Honda went on to score just three goals as Milan missed out on a place in Europe.

Honda had admitted it had been far from perfect: "I've not been satisfied with my season."

Inzaghi impressed

Despite going on to endure a mediocre World Cup with Japan, Honda returned to Milan doubly determined and, with Filippo Inzaghi at the helm following Seedorf's sacking, was in notable form.

Milan CEO Adriano Galliani, who snared Honda on a free contract that will expire in June 2017, joked recently: "During the summer we sent his brother back and managed to get the real Honda sent to Milan."

Honda scored Milan's first goal of the season in a 3-1 opening-day win over Lazio, scored the Rossoneri's second in a dramatic 5-4 win away to Parma and helped secure a share of the points with a leveller in a 2-2 draw at Empoli.

Honda's dead ball skills were on show with a superb free kick in a 2-0 win at home to Chievo. But Sunday's brace is his, and Milan's highlight of the season so far.

"It was our best game of the season so far," said Inzaghi, who was seen embracing Honda twice on the sidelines Sunday following his goals.

"Honda is playing really well. He doesn't often miss in front of goal and he's a generous player. He deserves all the credit he gets."

Milan, whose aim this season is a coveted top three finish that will offer a potential Champions League spot, sit in fourth place, only five points behind leaders Juventus and four behind title challengers Roma.



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