Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomesportNapoli recover spark to rescue 2-2 draw against Milan

Napoli recover spark to rescue 2-2 draw against Milan

NAPLES, Italy: Champions Napoli came back from two goals down to rescue a 2-2 draw at home against AC Milan in Serie A on Sunday (Oct 29) and preserve their top-four spot in the standings.

Napoli winger Matteo Politano and forward Giacomo Raspadori both scored after the break to cancel out two first-half headers by Olivier Giroud in an energetic game that saw the two teams dominate one half each.

Milan, who lost 1-0 at home to Juventus last weekend, remain third on 22 points, three behind leaders Inter Milan and one adrift of second-placed Juve. Napoli are fourth with 18 points.

“For what we created today, two goals are too few,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli told DAZN. “When you lead 0-2 you have to take the game home.

“We shouldn’t have conceded that first goal, giving the opponent courage. It’s not like we stopped playing; on the contrary. We weren’t passive but if we dominated in the first half, we did a little less so in the second.”

The game got off to a lively start and Giroud had an early chance but his shot from close range was cleared by Napoli’s defence.

The Frenchman, however, made no mistake when he broke the deadlock for Milan in the 22nd minute, nodding home the opener from an assist by Christian Pulisic.

He netted Davide Calabria’s cross with another close-range header to double the lead nine minutes later.

Napoli, who have had most shots taken in Serie A this season with 166 chances before the kick-off, looked helpless against Milan in the first half but Politano sparked Rudi Garcia’s side into life when he scored five minutes after the break.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia also had chances before the hour mark before Giacomo Raspadori found the leveller in the 63rd, unleashing an unstoppable shot from a free kick.

Raspadori’s goal was the first scored from a direct free kick in this Serie A season.

Milan’s Calabria narrowly missed the target with a header in stoppage time.

“It’s always better to finish 2-2 after being 2-0 down than on the contrary,” Garcia said. “But it seems like a fair draw to me: AC Milan’s first half, ours in the second.”

Napoli, who were without striker Victor Osimhen after the Nigerian suffered a hamstring injury on international duty, were left with 10 men in the 89th minute when defender Natan got his second booking for a foul on Luka Romero.

Milan lost defender Pierre Kalulu through injury inside the opening 20 minutes and he was substituted by debuting 21-year-old Marco Pellegrino.

Napoli next travel to bottom side Salernitana on Saturday before Milan host 18th-placed Udinese later that day.

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