AC Milan stall in Sicily

Italian leaders drop two crucial points in their pursuit of the Serie A title with a costly 1-1 draw at Catania.

    An underwhelming Milan were prevented from a fifth league win by Catania, handing Juve - who host Napoli on Sunday - the advantage [EPA]

    AC Milan gave title rivals Juventus a boost as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Catania in Italy’s Serie A on Saturday.

    Brazilian striker Robinho put Milan ahead in the first half before Nicolas Spolli equalised in the 57th minute. Robinho almost added a second goal when his shot appeared to have crossed the line.

    Catania's Alejandro Gomez had a shot ruled out for offside. The Argentine had earlier hit the crossbar.

    Defending champions Milan remain top, five points clear of Juventus who host Napoli on Sunday. Milan, held to a midweek goalless draw in the Champions League against Barcelona, play the second leg on Tuesday.

    Elsewhere, Sergio Floccari - on loan from Lazio - came back to haunt his parent club as his double helped Parma to a 3-1 victory. Lazio remain three points above Napoli and Udinese in the race for third place, having played a game more. Parma are eight points above the drop zone.

    Early pressure

    Catania attacked from the start and Gonzalo Bergessio went close in the fourth minute when he raced into the right side of the penalty area but sent his effort wide of the near post.

    The visitors went close again moments later when Sergio Almiron just missed connecting with a teasing cross from Marco Motta.

    Milan's first decent opportunity came in the eighth minute when Urby Emanuelson muscled his way into the area but Catania goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo got down well to deflect the Dutchman's effort to safety.

    Carrizo again did well in the 17th to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic from point blank range after the Sweden striker had chested down Massimo Ambrosini's clever pass over the defence.

    Bergessio went close moments later but his header scraped the top of the crossbar.

    Milan took the lead in the 34th as Robinho lashed the ball into the bottom left corner after a deft one-two with Ibrahimovic.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday 31 March

    Catania 1-1 AC Milan
    Parma 3-1 Lazio

    Sunday 1 April

    Roma v Novara
    Bologna v Palermo
    Cagliari v Atalanta
    Fiorentina v Chievo
    Inter Milan v Genoa
    Lecce v Cesena
    Siena v Udinese
    Juventus v Napoli

    Catania almost levelled immediately but Gomez's curling shot crashed off the crossbar.

    Gomez had the ball in the back of the net less than two minutes after the break, but the Catania forward was judged to have been offside.

    Well-deserved equaliser

    Catania equalised 10 minutes later when Nicola Legrottaglie headed the ball and Spolli sidefooted it home from close range. They almost went in front shortly afterwards when Almiron's fierce effort just flew over the bar.

    Milan went closer to restoring their lead as Robinho rounded Carrizo before slotting the ball towards goal. Giovanni Marchese cleared off the line although the ball appeared to go over.

    Ambrosini thought he had given Milan the lead in the 76th but Carrizo pulled off another brilliant save to keep out the Milan captain's header at full stretch.

    Carrizo again came to his team's rescue seconds from full time to deny Ibrahimovic's strike, shortly after the striker had sent an effort whistling past the far post from a tight angle.

    Catania could have snatched all three points in stoppage time as first Mariano Izco and then Francesco Lodi had shots blocked by the Milan defence.



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