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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Extras: Milan win see-saw match against Samp

Football Extras: Milan win see-saw match against Samp

October 29, 2018 12:01 IST

Napoli's Dries Mertens celebrates with teammates after scoring their first goal against AS Roma in their Serie A match at Stadio San Paolo in Naples, Italy on Sunday

IMAGE: Napoli's Dries Mertens celebrates with teammates after scoring their first goal against AS Roma in their Serie A match at Stadio San Paolo in Naples, Italy on Sunday. Photograph: Ciro De Luca/Reuters

AC Milan lifted the pressure on beleaguered coach Gennaro Gattuso when a second-half strike by Suso gave them a 3-2 win over Sampdoria in a see-saw Serie A match on Sunday.

The fiery former midfielder had reportedly been given two matches to save his job after successive defeats by Inter Milan in the league and Real Betis in the Europa League last week.

"I wanted lions, I wanted angry dogs and that's what we were," Gattuso, appointed last November, told reporters.

 

"These lads always give their all although sometimes the results don't come but today we did very well against a strong side, in terms of character, personality and our mentality."

Milan took a 17th minute lead when Patrick Cutrone headed in Suso's cross unmarked at the far post. But within 13 minutes the hosts were 2-1 behind as Riccardo Saponara and Fabio Quagliarella twice combined for Samp. Quagliarella produced a brilliant turn before chipping a pass to Saponara who cut inside and rolled a shot inside the far post.

Then Saponara returned the favour by lofting a diagonal ball over the Milan defence into the path of Quagliarella and the 37-year-old met it in his stride to volley past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

However, Gonzalo Higuain levelled for Milan before halftime after playing a one-two with Cutrone inside the penalty area and scoring from a narrow angle. Suso settled the match with a trademark goal in the 62nd minute when he collected a pass on the touchline, cut inside and scored with a shot which bounced in front of keeper Emil Audero.

Milan are fifth with 15 points, two places above Sampdoria on goal difference but with a game in hand.

Napoli's Mertens grabs last-gasp equaliser to foil Roma

Napoli substitute Dries Mertens scored a last-minute goal to salvage a 1-1 draw against AS Roma in Serie A on Sunday although they slipped further off the title pace as their 100 percent home record ended.

The Belgian volleyed the ball into the net from point-blank range after Jose Callejon mis-hit his shot from Lorenzo Insigne's pass to earn a point for his second-placed side.

Stephan El Shaarawy had given Roma a 14th minute lead, turning the ball into the net from six metres after Cengiz Under's pass from the byline evaded several players.

Roma's Edin Dzeko saw a shot cleared off the line by Raul Albiol before halftime and was also booked for diving.

"We didn't allow Roma to play the way they wanted, we put them under pressure and created chances," said Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose side had won their previous five games at the San Paolo this season in all competitions.

"We spent so much time in Roma's half but it wasn't easy to find space," he added.

Napoli, with captain Marek Hamsik equalling Giuseppe Bruscolotti's record of 511 appearances for the Naples club, dominated the second half and Callejon and Mertens both had goals disallowed for offside.

Napoli have now dropped six points behind leaders Juventus, who are chasing an eighth successive Italian title and won 2-1 at Empoli on Saturday with a Cristiano Ronaldo double.

Eighth-placed Roma have 15 points, level with AC Milan, Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Sassuolo.

Roma captain Daniele De Rossi made his 450th Serie A appearance for the club but limped off before halftime -- an injury which Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said affected his side after the break.

"De Rossi's absence penalised us," said Di Francesco, whose side have been frustratingly inconsistent this season.

"It's disappointing to concede a goal in the last minute but Napoli deserved it.

"We have players who are still trying to absorb the tactical instructions and also the challenges of playing for a club like Roma. I thought we defended very well against a Napoli side in excellent shape."

Source:
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