Home draw prevents AC Milan from moving to top of Serie A

The Canadian Press
3/21/2010 1:17:09 PM
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MILAN, Italy - AC Milan missed the chance to go top of Serie A when it drew 1-1 at home to Napoli on Sunday.

Napoli took the lead in the 13th minute through Hugo Campagnaro before Filippo Inzaghi equalized in the 26th. Milan then wasted a number of chances in the second half to stay one point behind Inter Milan in the standings.

Inter drew 1-1 with Palermo on Saturday, leaving it vulnerable at the top. Inter has 60 points, with Milan on 59 and AS Roma third with 56.

"We showed again today that we can be a competitive team," Milan coach Leonardo said. "We have pace and a good defence. Of course if you want to win trophies you have to win games, but this isn't the end of our chances."

Sampdoria beat Juventus 1-0 in Sunday's late game to move above its opponent and into fifth place.

Antonio Cassano scored Sampdoria's winner with a long range lob to leave his side level on 47 points with fourth-place Palermo. Juventus is two points further back in sixth.

"We have to keep trying as we are going well," Sampdoria striker Giampaolo Pazzini said. "We did well tonight and had a great match. Cassano's goal was one that only Cassano could score."

Both sides struggled to find any rhythm in heavy rain, though Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio had to nod Stefano Lucchini's header off the line in the first half.

Cassano scored in the 76th minute after collecting the ball in the middle of Juventus' half, cutting inside Christian Poulsen and firing a dipping shot over Juventus keeper Antonio Chimenti.

"Cassano is a great player for us and for any team he plays for, and after injury he is back," Pazzini said. "We know we have had bad matches, but we have recovered."

Juventus was unable to respond and appeared both tired and still in shock after its 4-1 defeat by Fulham in the Europa League on Thursday.

At the bottom of the table, Siena beat Bologna 1-0 to move up one place thanks to a goal from Marcelo Larrondo. Livorno is now bottom following its 3-0 loss to Atalanta, which is also in the relegation zone.

Simone Padoin opened the scoring for Atalanta in the first half and Ernesto Chevanton and Adriano Ferreira Pinto added two goals after the break.

Livorno is bottom with 24 points, Siena is 19th and Atalanta 18th, both with 25. Lazio is one place further up on 29 after beating Cagliari 2-0.

At the San Siro, Napoli went ahead after Ezequiel Lavezzi pulled the ball back across the area, where Campagnaro was left unmarked to sidefoot in the cross.

Napoli maintained the pressure and Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati twice had to react quickly to keep out shots from the lively Lavezzi.

Milan equalized when Inzaghi was left unmarked in Napoli's area to head in Ronaldinho's cross.

Ronaldinho went close in the 37th when he broke from the halfway line and exchanged passes with Amantino Mancini before shooting over the bar.

Napoli keeper Morgan De Sanctis' quick reflexes saved Napoli when he denied Inzaghi a second after Ronaldinho had pulled the ball back to him from the byline.

Mancini then wasted a great chance, shooting straight at De Sanctis when Clarence Seedorf had found him unmarked in the penalty area.

Andrea Pirlo went close with a free kick in the closing stages, but once again De Sanctis rescued Napoli with a fine save.

"We played today as we wanted to, except for the first 15 minutes," Leonardo said. "In the second half we pushed hard to get a winner, but wasted a number of chances.

"It is a strange championship in the way it is developing," he said. "There is Inter with a powerful squad built for winning. Milan has had to come back and this has been based on our desire to show that we can be competitive."

Also Sunday, it was; Bari 1, Parma 1; Chievo Verona 1, Catania 1.

Ronaldinho and Gianlica Grada (Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)


(Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
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