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Balotelli scores two but AC Milan held to draw at Livorno

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The Canadian Press
12/7/2013 2:19:28 PM
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ROME -- Mario Balotelli scored twice and also hit the crossbar but AC Milan still had to scramble for a 2-2 draw at promoted Livorno in the Serie A on Saturday.

Also, Napoli surrendered the lead twice in a 3-3 draw with Udinese and wasted a chance to pull level with second-place Roma.

In Livorno, Balotelli put Milan ahead seven minutes in after redirecting a cross from Kaka then scored the equalizer in the 82nd with a splendid free kick over a Livorno wall.

Balotelli nearly produced a winner in the 89th but his long-distance effort banged off the underside of the crossbar and bounced in front of the goal.

Livorno's Luca Siligardi made it 1-1 in the 26th with a shot from beyond the area and Paulinho put the hosts ahead in the 58th by finishing off a counterattack.

Milan moved into eighth place while Livorno moved to fifth from bottom.

Balotelli has scored four goals in his last three matches after a six-match scoreless streak in all competitions.

"I've always been fine. There were never any big problems like was written," Balotelli said. "We were just lacking some goals. ... And we need to be more attentive when our opponents go on counterattacks."

Milan's next match is versus Ajax on Wednesday at the San Siro in the Champions League.

Napoli also has a key European match on Wednesday against Arsenal.

At the San Paolo stadium, Goran Pandev scored for Napoli in the 38th and 41st. First, the Macedonia striker was set up by Federico Fernandez then for his second he took a pass from Gonzalo Higuain and shot between a defender's legs.

Udinese pulled one back in the 45th with an own goal from Fernandez, who was attempting to block a header from Thomas Heurtaux, then Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes equalized with a long lob in the 70th that caught Napoli goalkeeper Rafael out of position.

Blerim Dzemaili restored Napoli's lead a minute later, knocking in a rebound of a shot from Higuain, and Dusan Basta took advantage as Napoli's defenders stood idle to equalize in the 80th from close range.

Napoli moved two points behind Roma, which hosts Fiorentina on Sunday.

Mario Balotelli (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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