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  AC Milan hold Napoli

AC Milan hold Napoli

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Published : Feb 24, 2016, 6:43 am IST
Updated : Feb 24, 2016, 6:43 am IST

Contenders drop crucial points against AC in Italian League.

Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne (right) vies for the ball with Ignazio Abate of AC Milan in their Italian League match in Naples. -AP
 Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne (right) vies for the ball with Ignazio Abate of AC Milan in their Italian League match in Naples. -AP

Contenders drop crucial points against AC in Italian League.

Coach Maurizio Sarri was sent off as Napoli wasted a chance to return to the top of Serie A when they were held 1-1 at home by AC Milan in a tense encounter on Monday.

The hosts, 4-0 winners at San Siro earlier in the campaign, went ahead in the 39th minute when Lorenzo Insigne’s 25-metre effort took a wicked deflection off Ignazio Abate and wrong-footed goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Milan levelled five minutes later with their first shot on target, the unmarked Giacomo Bonaventura turning the ball in at the far post after it was unwittingly headed into his path by home defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

The home side dominated the second half but became edgy as they struggled to score a second goal, with Sarri being dismissed for persistent dissent.

Milan almost ended Napoli’s unbeaten home league record late on when Keisuke Honda's powerful low drive was turned around the post by goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Napoli, chasing their first league title since 1990, have 57 points from 26 games, one behind Juventus who drew 0-0 at Bologna on Friday.

AC Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic insists the fallen Serie A giants can fight for a place in next season’s Champions League. Milan remain sixth, eight points behind third-placed Fiorentina in the last possible Champions League qualifying place.

“They dominated the game but we had planned for that, otherwise it would have been impossible,” Mihajlovic said. “After seven games so far this year, we’ve picked up a lot of points. If we keep on playing with this kind of concentration, we can fight for third place,” he added.