» Sports » Football PIX: Milan hold Napoli; Sevilla close in on top-four finish

Football PIX: Milan hold Napoli; Sevilla close in on top-four finish

July 13, 2020 10:02 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

IMAGE: Franck Kessie, right, celebrates with his AC Milan teammates after scoring the second goal against Napoli in Naples, on Sunday. Photograph: Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

AC midfielder Franck Kessie scored from a penalty to give AC Milan a 2-2 draw away to Napoli in Serie A on Sunday, sparing the blushes of his goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma whose mistakes provided the hosts with both their goals.


Milan stayed unbeaten since the restart of the Italian campaign and on course for a place in the Europa League next season after an entertaining game which saw Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso face his old club on the touchline for the first time.

As usual Gattuso, who spent 12 years as a player and one-and-a-half seasons as coach as Milan, fired up his players with constant shouting which echoed around the deserted San Paolo stadium.

The result kept Napoli sixth with 52 points with Milan two below them in seventh, which will be enough for a Europa League place provided Napoli -- who have already qualified as Coppa Italia winners -- finish in the top six.

"It's the first time I've faced Milan and I felt so many emotions," said Gattuso, who was also annoyed with his own players.

"I have to get angry with my players, because when we create so much, we have to stick it in the net and instead we struggle."

IMAGE: AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma fails to save the shot from Dries Mertens, who scored the second goal for Napoli. Photograph: Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Donnarumma started well as he made good saves from Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon while Lorenzo Insigne saw a deflected shot hit the post in early Napoli dominance.

But it was Milan who struck with their first real attack as Theo Hernandez volleyed in Ante Rebic's cross at the far post in he 20th minute.

They led for only 14 minutes before an uncharacteristic mistake by Donnarumma, who failed to hold Insigne's free kick and the ball ran loose for Di Lorenzo to tap into an empty net.

Napoli went ahead on the hour when Callejon pulled the ball back for Mertens who struck a weak shot towards goal which took a slight deflection and squirmed under Donnarumma.

Milan levelled in the 73rd minute as Giacomo Bonaventura went down under a challenge from Nikola Maksimovic.

The referee ignored Napoli demands to review the incident on the pitchside monitor and Kessie sent David Ospina the wrong way from the spot.

AC Milan played the last few minutes with 10 men after Alexis Saelemaekers was sent off after being booked twice in three minutes.

Sevilla practically seal top-four finish

IMAGE: Sevilla's Lucas Ocampos, top, celebrates with teammates Munir El Haddadi and Sergio Reguilon after scoring his team's first goal against Mallorca at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville. Photograph: Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Sevilla closed in on Champions League qualification by beating struggling Real Mallorca 2-0 at home to open up a nine-point gap in the race for fourth spot in La Liga.

Lucas Ocampos opened the scoring with a first-half penalty while Youssef En Nesyri sealed the victory late on, latching on to a long punt from goalkeeper Bono and barging past a defender to lift the ball over Mallorca keeper Manolo Reina.

Sevilla have 66 points after 36 games and will clinch their return to Europe's premier competition after a two-year absence if Villarreal, who have 57, fail to beat Real Sociedad on Monday.

Mallorca are 19th on 32 and will need to earn at least four points in their final two games if they are to stand a chance of staying in the top-flight, as they trail 17th-placed Alaves by three points and have an inferior head-to-head record.

The result also meant Eibar sealed their top-flight status after beating relegated Espanyol 2-0 away from home earlier on, while 14th-placed Real Valladolid are now also safe on 39 points. They were beaten 1-0 by Barcelona on Saturday.

Edu Exposito scored both goals to earn Eibar their first win in four matches which took them to 15th in the standings on 39 points, seven above the relegation zone.

Elsewhere, Leganes lived to fight another day in La Liga, riding their luck in a 1-0 win at home to Valencia after playing most of the second half with 10 men and seeing their opponents squander a penalty.

Midfielder Ruben Perez put the Madrid minnows in front in the 18th minute from the penalty spot, scoring his first goal since 2013. But his side suffered a setback when Jonathan Silva was shown a straight red card in the 54th.

Valencia earned a penalty soon after following a handball by Leganes' Rodrigo Tarin, but captain Dani Parejo's spot-kick was beaten away by goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar and Leganes somehow clung on to record a first home victory since February.

Defeat would have condemned Leganes to relegation, while the win saw them instead move up to 18th place in the standings on 32 points with two games remaining, three points behind 17th-placed Alaves who have a game in hand.

Valencia are ninth on 50 points.

Also on Sunday, Athletic Bilbao won 2-1 away to Levante thanks to two goals from Raul Garcia to move into seventh place, the final Europa League berth, on 51 points.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Source: source
© Copyright 2020 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.