SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 22 - 5 Feb 2012 (14.00 UK)
Milan 0 - 0 Napoli
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Milan were held to a 0-0 home draw by Napoli, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic lost his head with a red card.

Both sides were in need of a boost, as the Rossoneri were falling behind leaders Juventus after their 2-0 midweek defeat to Lazio, while Napoli were 14 points off the pace. The injury crisis intensified with Alessandro Nesta joining Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alberto Aquilani, Alexandre Pato, Mario Yepes, Alexander Merkel, Mathieu Flamini, Gennaro Gattuso, Rodney Strasser and Antonio Cassano. Gokhan Inler was dropped in favour of Blerim Dzemaili due to poor form.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had timid penalty appeals in the opening minutes for his shoulder-to-shoulder with Hugo Campagnaro, while Morgan De Sanctis smothered a Clarence Seedorf snapshot. At the other end, a smart Juan Zuniga slalom forced a corner, from which Edinson Cavani’s header was charged down. Mark Van Bommel was booked and will therefore be suspended against Udinese.

Marek Hamsik’s blockbuster stung Christian Abbiati’s palms, but a defensive howler let the Christian Maggio cross through for Ezequiel Lavezzi, who opted to hit the side-netting rather than roll back for an unmarked Cavani.

Antonio Nocerino’s effort was charged down from close range, while Cavani failed to take advantage of a misunderstanding between Abbiati and Ignazio Abate.

The injury crisis went from bad to worse, as Abbiati picked up an injury and made way for Marco Amelia at half-time. Robinho has become known for missing sitters this season and he added another to the list, as Ibra knocked on a long ball and the Brazilian somehow passed it wide of the near post with only Morgan De Sanctis to beat.

De Sanctis smothered a downward Robinho header on the line as both the Brazilian and Seedorf went for the cross. The Dutchman also hit a half-volley over the bar and Robinho almost made the most of a defensive error, but Salvatore Aronica’s sliding tackle prevented the danger.

Ibrahimovic chested down a long ball to turn Aronica and placed his curler that De Sanctis palmed out for a corner.

However, Ibra lost his temper and reduced Milan to 10 men, not to mention earning no doubt a lengthy ban. The Swede was mid-argument with a group of players and reached round the back of Nocerino’s head to slap Aronica on the side of the temple, earning a red card.

Cavani completely mistimed his header under pressure from Abate on Lavezzi’s cross to the back post. Even with 10 men, Massimo Ambrosini went close with a header deflected just wide from a corner.

The Rossoneri had another excellent scoring opportunity on the rapid counter-attack, but Robinho’s screamer was acrobatically saved by De Sanctis at the near post. 


Milan: Abbiati (Amelia 46); Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Emanuelson, Van Bommel, Nocerino; Seedorf (Ambrosini 76); Ibrahimovic, Robinho (Maxi Lopez 86)
Napoli: De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica (Pandev 81); Maggio, Gargano, Dzemaili (Inler 76), Zuniga; Lavezzi, Hamsik; Cavani
Ref: Rizzoli

Sent off: Ibrahimovic 64 (M)