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Mutu brace sends Fiorentina fifth

RETURNING captain Adrian Mutu scored two goals on Monday to help Fiorentina move back into Champions League contention with a 3-1 win over Bologna.

The Italian Serie A match had been scheduled for Sunday but was postponed because of heavy snow. With the three points, Fiorentina moved ahead of AS Roma and into fifth place with 38, two behind Genoa.

Mutu gave Fiorentina the lead when he volleyed in Riccardo Montolivio's lofted pass in the sixth minute for his 100th goal.

"To get my 100th goal was great," Mutu said. "I was looking to get it and I'm happy to get it here. I have to thank Montolivio, he made both my goals."

The same combination then put the Romanian in for his second in the 16th. Mutu ran onto Montolivio's through ball and sent it past advancing Bologna goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli.

Bologna, four points above the drop zone, pulled one back through Nicola Mingazzini and former Fiorentina forward Pablo Osvaldo could have equalized before Alberto Gilardino secured the win for the visitors in injury time. It was the former AC Milan striker's 13th goal of the season.

Meanwhile, Milan vice president Adriano Galliani reiterated his desire to keep David Beckham, saying yesterday the club "will do everything possible" to secure the England midfielder's services.

Beckham's three-month loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy runs out on March 8, but he has started all five matches and scored two goals.

"I think he does (want to stay), but I can only speak of what the club wants to do and Milan will do everything possible to have Beckham after March," Galliani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It is evident that our will is there to keep him until the end of the season or even on a permanent transfer. There is hope, but contracts have to be honored. If Galaxy want to start negotiations we will be happy to try, but they are right, the agreements are clear - on March 9 Beckham must return to America."

Beckham's performances have been so good that he has been included in Milan's 25-man list for the UEFA Cup, even though he is currently only eligible for its two legs against Werder Bremen on February 18 and 26.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder's presence has also been good financially. In January, he took part in a lucrative friendly with Hannover.

"(Beckham's marketing appeal) exists and we understand it following the many requests we have received to play friendly games, but it is not only his presence which attracts other clubs," Galliani said. "We have a group of stars."


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