Napoli overtake Milan in 2nd place in Serie A


MILAN (AP) – Napoli edged AC Milan to second in Serie A after beating their title rivals 1-0 in a poor game at San Siro on Sunday.

Eljif Elmas scored an early goal and Milan had a controversial equalizer denied just to death. Franck Kessié’s goal was ruled out when the video was played because Olivier Giroud was in an offside position deemed to hamper the game, despite the fact that the Rossoneri striker was lying on the ground, under a Napoli defender .

“At the end of the day, they’ll say they applied the rules the right way … but I’m like, ‘How can a player who is on the ground interfere with defense?” Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. “We are disappointed, we are disappointed to have lost this match. Now we’ll heal our wounds and go back.

Napoli overtook Milan on goal difference. The head-to-head is the first tiebreaker at the end of the season. Both teams are four points behind defending champions Inter Milan, who are winter champions with one game remaining.

The result will also boost the confidence of Napoli, who had lost two consecutive league games and won just one of their last six games in the Italian league.

“We should be really proud of this victory. We showed real personality and we really hurt Milan, which is a big problem, ”Napoli midfielder Piotr ZieliÅ„ski said. “We’re near the top and we’re fighting hard and we won’t give up. We will fight to the end to win the title.

Milan and Napoli had been co-leaders until recently, before a string of injuries started to take their toll. Both sides were still exhausted before the clash at the top of the table.

But the visitors got off to a perfect start when Elmas nabbed a corner at the near post after managing to pull away from Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali.

Milan struggled to carve out opportunities but came close to an equalizer in the 34th minute when Alessandro Florenzi’s long shot flew just off the right post.

The home side improved after the break and Zlatan Ibrahimović’s shot went over the bar shortly after half-time.

TO RECOVER

Dušan Vlahović scored again as Fiorentina hit back after two goals to draw Sassuolo 2-2 at home.

Gianluca Scamacca and Davide Frattesi scored five minutes apart to give Sassuolo a seemingly comfortable lead in the first half.

Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli made several superb saves before Vlahović recovered a goal six minutes into the second half. It was an 11th goal in eight Serie A games for Vlahović, who is out of contract at the end of the season and looking for a new club after deciding not to renew with Fiorentina.

Vlahović was also involved in Fiorentina’s second goal 10 minutes later as his attempt was blocked but the ball came to Lucas Torreira to complete the comeback.

Fiorentina dominated but their hopes of winning were thwarted when defender Cristiano Biraghi was sent off in the 68th following a second yellow card.

Fiorentina climbed to sixth place, tied with Roma and Juventus, six points behind Atalanta for fourth place and last place in the Champions League.

OWN OBJECTIVES

Both teams scored on the wrong side as relegation-threatened Spezia held Empoli to a 1-1 draw.

Empoli defender Riccardo Marchizza turned in his own net in the 50th minute and Spezia defender Dimitris Nikolaou did the same on the other end in the 71st.

Empoli received a penalty late in the evening, but the referee changed his mind as the video played.

Spezia moved three points above the relegation zone. He is four points behind 16th-placed Venezia, who equalized late to draw 1-1 with compatriot Sampdoria. Torino won 1-0 at home against Hellas Verona, who played most of the game with 10 men after Giangiacomo Magnani was sent off in the 25th minute.

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