Milan fail to seize the day

Carpe diem not part of Rossoneri vocabulary as AC Milan stay second behind Inter.

    Ronaldinho (R) fights for the ball with Napoli defender Hugo Campagnaro [AFP]

    AC Milan missed the chance to seize top spot in the Italian Serie A when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Napoli at the San Siro.

    Champions League quarter-finalists Inter had continued their stuttering domestic form with a 1-1 draw at Palermo on Saturday to give Milan a glimpse of the summit for the first time this term but instead they lie one point behind.

    Inter and Roma meet next Saturday in a mouth-watering top of the table clash.

    Milan, who have not won the title since 2004, went into Sunday's game having endured a torrid week which had seen them lose experienced campaigners David Beckham and Alessandro Nesta through serious injury.

    Calamity

    Napoli produced waves of attacks in the first half and went ahead thanks to a defensive calamity from Milan's Massimo Oddo.

    The right back collided with his own goalkeeper Christian Abbiati and left Napoli defender Hugo Campagnaro to slot Ezequiel Lavezzi's pass into an open goal on 13 minutes.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday March 20

     Roma 4-2 Udinese
     Fiorentina 3-0 Genoa
     Palermo 1-1 Inter Milan 

    Sunday March 21

     AC Milan 1-1 Napoli
     Atalanta 3-0 Livorno
     Bari 1-1 Parma
     Cagliari 0-2 Lazio
     Chievo 1-1 Catania
     Siena 1-0 Bologna
     Sampdoria v Juventus

    The day got immediately worse for Milan, already hampered by a string of injuries, when forward Alexandre Pato limped off on what was meant to be his comeback from a thigh problem.

    Napoli could easily have doubled their advantage before Ronaldinho, celebrating his 30th birthday, revived Milan as he has done so often this season.

    Cutting inside his man, the Brazilian clipped over the most inviting of crosses to present Filippo Inzaghi with a simple header to score from inside the six-yard box.
     
    Leonardo's side pushed for a winner in the second half but winger Mancini spurned the best chance as the Rossoneri again showed they can lack a clinical edge.

    "We knew that playing against Napoli is never easy," Ronaldinho told Sky TV.

    "We are happy to continue like this, at least we are nearer top spot. We created some chances. We are always thinking positively and we still do."

    Third-placed Roma beat Udinese 4-2 on Saturday to cut the gap on Inter to four points and liven up the title race.

    Nine games remain and on Wednesday Milan visit Parma, who drew 1-1 at Bari on Sunday to slow their recent renaissance.

    Napoli could slip six points behind Juventus if the Turin club beat Sampdoria and go fourth in the late game.

    Fan refunds

    Fourth-bottom Lazio opened up a four-point cushion above the drop zone after forwards Tommaso Rocchi and Sergio Floccari scored in a 2-0 win at Cagliari, whose fans will now be given refunds for the defeat under a club initiative.

    Atalanta moved up to third bottom and the final relegation spot with a 3-0 victory at home to Livorno, who now prop up the league ahead of Wednesday's trip to Inter.

    Second-bottom Siena are level on points with Atalanta following a 1-0 home win over Bologna while Catania are far from safe in 15th after a 1-1 draw at Chievo.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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