AC Milan woe continues against Benevento; Roma close to securing Champions League
AC Milan's hopes of Europa League qualification took a knock as they slipped to a shock 1-0 defeat at home to rock-bottom Benevento.
Pietro Iemmello scored the only goal of the game in the first half to leave the visitors 12 points adrift of safety with as many to play for.
Iemmello beat the offside trap in the 29th minute to slot home a through ball from Nicolas Viola and Benevento almost doubled their lead early in the second half but Danilo Cataldi fired over the crossbar.
Milan came agonisingly close to an equaliser on the hour when Franck Kessie burst through the visiting defence and unleashed a powerful drive which crashed back off the frame of the goal.
The visitors' hopes of holding on for three points were not helped when Cheick Diabate was sent off with 10 minutes remaining, but they saw the game out well.
Patrik Schick finally scored his first Serie A goal for Roma as the capital club warmed up for their Liverpool showdown and took a step towards securing another Champions League place by beating SPAL 3-0.
The striker has struggled since joining Roma from Sampdoria last summer but, following up his solitary Coppa Italia strike against Torino in December, he managed to open his Giallorosso account in the league by nodding home Lorenzo Pellegrini's assist on the hour mark.
Kevin Strootman thought the opening goal was his but it was Francesco Vicari who turned the ball in from a Pellegrini cross in the 33rd minute. Radja Nainggolan volleyed in the second through a mass of bodies shortly after half-time.
Sassuolo cemented their mid-table status with a 1-0 win over off-form Fiorentina.
La Viola could have gone level with sixth-place Milan with three points but followed up defeat against Lazio with another.
Matteo Politano scored a worthy winner, bending a 41st-minute shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.