AC Milan lose to Napoli as it gives Inter a comfortable lead at the top of table

(Football news) AC Milan lost 1-0 to a depleted Napoli squad as VAR took centre stage again. Eljif Elmas glanced a header home at the near post from a Zielinski corner to stun the Rossenari’s and edge in front in the fifth minute. Zlatan Ibrahimovic looked most likely to find an equaliser after going close midway through the first half and just when the second half started but in the 90th minute, as Milan looked out of ideas, Franck Kessie appeared to have snatched a point only for VAR to rule it out for offside against Olivier Giroud as he lay on the ground in the penalty box. 

Kessie's effort was a bit scrappy but Milan did not care, with Pioli even also running over to join in the celebrations. Referee Davide Massa was asked by the VAR to have another look at the goal on the pitch side monitor, and ruled that substitute Giroud was on the pitch lying in an offside position when attempting to get involved in the build-up. With this result Milan and Napoli are level on points with 39 points as they are 4 points away from Inter, who extended their lead.

“What really made me happy was we didn't get too deep until the final five minutes, we kept the balance right even after taking the lead. It became difficult in the final minutes when Olivier Giroud added his presence to the physicality of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But we had chances to go 2-0 up and we played like a great team against a great opponent." Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti said.

Stefan Pioli after the VAR controversy said "I know they will say the rules were applied, but how can a player who is lying on the floor possibly damage the opponent? There is no way he is obstructing [defender] Juan Jesus. Giroud's legs are wide, he is trying everything to get out of the way."

Inter Milan notched up their fifth consecutive victory over Salernitana as they thrashed them 5-0. The reigning champions are on a run of good form as they have won their last five games without conceding a goal and going ten matches without defeat. Ivan Perisic headed in the first goal before Denzel Dumfries scored a second before the break, this also meant that it was the first time in Inter's history that they have reached 100 Serie A goals in a single calendar year. Alexis Sanchez scored in a third before substitutes Lautaro Martinez and Roberto Gagliardini completed the rout to leave Salernitana bottom of the table. With this result Inter moved to 43 points as they opened up a 4 point lead over their nearest rivals. 

Atalanta couldn’t capitalize on AC Milan dropping points as they lost 4-1 to a spirited AS Roma who in turn snapped Atalanta’s winning streak. Tammy Abraham opened the scoring inside the opening minute with a deflected strike and Nicolo Zaniolo doubled their lead by finishing off a quick counter attack for his first goal of the season. Gasperini was quick to make a change as he brought on Luis Muriel after 34 minutes and the move paid off as his shot cannoned off Roma's Bryan Cristante for an own goal that got them back into the match. On the brink of half time, Mourinho's team scored a third four minutes later when Chris Smalling volleyed home his second goal in two games and for the first time in Serie A history that two different English players had scored in the same game. Abraham scored his second goal with eight minutes remaining to take his tally for the season to six goals in Serie A. With this result Atalanta stayed fourth with 37 points as Roma moved to 31 points and cut the deficit to 6 points to Atalanta.

Mourinho said when asked if it was the best Roma have played this season.”Yes, I think so, We showed fantastic spirit. The players knew that we couldn't be in control for 90 minutes against Atalanta. They were strong in every aspect."

Also read: Sevilla and Barcelona score late winners; Real Madrid left frustrated by Cadiz

The other results were:

  • Bologna 0 – 2 Juventus (Morata, Cuadrado)
  • Lazio 3 (Pedro, Acerbi, Zaccagni) – 1 Genoa (Melegoni)
  • Fiorentina 2 (Vlahovic, Torreira) – 2 Sassuolo (Scamacca, Frattesi)
  • Cagliari 0 – 4 Udinese (Makengo, Deulofeu x2, Molina)
  • Spezia 1 (Marchizza)(og) – 1 Empoli (Nikolaou)(og)
  • Torino 1 (Pobega) – 0 Hellas Verona
  • Sampdoria 1 (Gabbiadini) – 1 Venezia (Henry)


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