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 By PA Sport

AC Milan deny Napoli chance to leapfrog Juventus at Serie A summit

AC MilanAC Milan
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Napoli missed the chance to reclaim first place from Juventus after being held to a 1-1 Serie A draw by AC Milan at the Stadio San Paolo.

The Azzurri were dislodged from top spot by Juve following last week's defeat in Turin, but the Bianconeri were subsequently held to a goalless draw in Bologna.

A two-point gap was there to be bridged and Lorenzo Insigne briefly boosted Napoli above the reigning champions with a first-half opener. Champions League-chasing Milan had not come to Naples to lie down, however, and minutes later snatched a point thanks to Giacomo Bonaventura.

The real weight of expectation was on Napoli so Milan took the opportunity to dazzle with a few early sorties that gave their hosts food for thought.

Chief among them was M'Baye Niang's skilful dash into the penalty box, where he was only denied a clean shot at goal by the covering Kalidou Koulibaly.

But Napoli soon took control. They threatened through a familiar source in the 19th minute as Gonzalo Higuain took aim from an acute angle.

Cristian Zapata got his boot to the ball and sent it around a post, with Higuain promptly trying again but this time blasting over the crossbar.

An exciting double chance came to nothing as Napoli turned the screw following the half-hour mark. Both Jose Callejon and Higuain missed the mark from promising positions and for a moment it looked like the stalemate would remain in place at the break.

Carlo Bacca and AC Milan held Kalidou Koulibaly and Napoli to a 1-1 draw.

Insigne, however, broke the deadlock with a searing right-footed drive that took a nick off Ignazio Abate to fool 16-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and find the Milan net.

The Rossoneri popped Napoli's bubble with a quickfire equaliser, Koulibaly clearing Keisuke Honda's cross into Bonaventura's path for an easy finish.

Donnarumma showed confidence well beyond his tender years when leaping in front of Higuain to deny the Argentinian any easy tap-in shortly after the hour mark and then, around seven minutes later, Elseid Hysaj picked out substitute Dries Mertens for a snapshot that rattled the young Milan stopper's goal frame.

Higuain was a whisker away from his 25th league goal of the season when fizzing Faouzi Ghoulam's assist just wide at the near post.

The sense of deflation affected the whole team and Milan sensed blood, with Niang going dangerously close at the end of a rapid counter-attack.

Napoli were on the rails but escaped unscathed when Milan built quickly from the back to tee up Honda for a powerful attempt that Jose Reina only just managed to punch away for a corner.

The last opportunity of the match fell to the hosts. Deep into stoppage time Manolo Gabbiadini's backheel served the onrushing Omar El Kaddouri, but the Moroccan's weak shot trickled straight into Donnarumma's gloves.


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