A late strike from Mario Balotelli was enough to secure a 2-1 victory for AC Milan over Parma and a jump up to fourth place in the Italian League on Friday.

Milan, which hosts Barcelona in the first leg of its Champions League last 16 tie next week, took a 39th-minute lead when Argentine defender Gabriel Paletta put into his own net. Massimiliano Allegri’s side virtually secured all three points when Balotelli scored from a free kick in the 78th minute. Parma came fighting back in the dying minutes and was rewarded when Nicola Sansone beat Cristian Abbiati in the Milan net from Biabiany’s delivery on the right.

However, it was too little too late for Roberto Donadoni’s men, who remain 10th on 32 points.

Milan’s 13th win of the campaign moved it up one place to fourth at the expense of city rival Inter, which has a tough away trip to Fiorentina on Sunday.

Sevilla continued its revival on Friday with a 3-1 home defeat of bottom team Deportivo La Coruna, with all the goals coming in a frenetic first half.

Ivan Rakitic gave Sevilla the lead in the seventh minute by heading in a centre from Coke. Gary Medel made it 2-0 after good work down the right by Spain winger Jesus Navas.

Riki pulled a goal back for Deportivo, only for Medel to make it 3-1 with his second goal, turning in a centre from Alberto Moreno.

The results: Italian League: AC Milan 2 (Paletta 39-og, Balotelli 78) bt Parma 1 (Sansone 90+3).

Spanish League: Sevilla 3 (Rakitic 6, Medel 27, 40) bt Deportivo La Coruna 1 (Riki 32).

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