Lorenzo Insigne and Piotr Zielinski sprung the offside trap as Napoli punish Milan 2-1, but there was a late scare after Alessio Romagnoli’s volley.
The Partenopei were still unbeaten, but their lead had been whittled down to just one point after a surprise 0-0 draw at Chievo. Mario Rui stepped in for injured Faouzi Ghoulam at left-back, while the Rossoneri missed Hakan Calhanoglu, Davide Calabria and Andrea Conti. Jack Bonaventura returned from injury with a new more advanced role for Manuel Locatelli.
Milan have now failed to beat Napoli in six consecutive matches, with the Partenopei winning five of those contests. The Rossoneri managed two draws from the last seven visits to the San Paolo, since a 2-1 result in October 2010, but both sides were on target in six of them.
The hosts debuted their new Kappa Karbon black and grey fourth-choice strip and Jose Callejon almost opened the scoring after 13 minutes, his header parried from point-blank range by Gianluigi Donnarumma on a long Lorenzo Insigne cross and on the resulting corner Raul Albiol nodded just wide.
Suso tested Pepe Reina with a low drive after 27 minutes, but Allan should’ve done better when scuffing his shot straight at Donnarumma after he was sent clear by Dries Mertens.
Napoli took the lead in odd circumstances, as Insigne ran on to a Jorginho ball over the top and fired past Donnarumma, who got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep the ball out. The offside flag went up, but VAR showed Alessio Romagnoli was keeping Insigne level and the goal was awarded, his sixth against Milan in 10 games.
It was suddenly a siege from the hosts, who peppered Donnarumma with crosses and shots from all angles. Insigne thought he’d made it 2-0 with a sensational first touch on the long Pepe Reina kick, but his finish smacked against the base of the upright.
Things got even worse for Milan, who lose Suso to injury, introducing Portugal international Andre Silva. Donnarumma ensured they only went into the break 1-0 down with a flying save to punch Insigne’s curler out of the far top corner.
Milan didn’t have a single touch in the Napoli penalty area in the first half, becoming only the second team to have done that after Benevento against both Juventus and Napoli.
Straight after the restart, Mertens and Insigne combined, the Belgian’s shot denied by Donnarumma standing tall. The goalkeeper, who hails from the Naples area, also beat away a Marek Hamsik angled drive.
Milan started to keep far more possession as time wore on, but without making the pressure count with genuine scoring opportunities. Just as they were pushing at their hardest, Napoli doubled their lead with a well-worked move.
Mertens spun round at the touchline for a no-look pass to substitute Piotr Zielinski, who kept his cool to fire the finish through Donnarumma’s legs from a tight angle.
Andre Silva had penalty appeals, but Raul Albiol kicked the ball on to Koulibaly’s hand, so it was not considered voluntary. The first genuine Pepe Reina save was on 76 minutes, palming a Bonaventura effort over the bar.
However, in stoppages Milan got themselves back into it with a stunning volley from Alessio Romagnoli. The centre-back waited for a looping ball to come down and smashed the left-foot volley into the far bottom corner from outside the box.
It was a goal out of nowhere and suddenly the pressure was on with a last-gasp free kick that Donnarumma ran up for, but Lucas Biglia put it straight out of play.