Napoli inflicted a hammer blow on Milan’s top three hopes with a hugely entertaining 2-1 win at San Siro thanks to Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon.
This was a head-to-head for the Champions League places and the Rossoneri now have one point from their last five meetings with the Partenopei, including a 4-0 defeat here last season. Alessio Romagnoli and Manuel Locatelli sat out bans, with Mattia De Sciglio, Mati Fernandez and Riccardo Montolivo injured, so not 100 per cent fit Davide Calabria started again with Gustavo Gomez and Jose Sosa. Kalidou Koulibaly and Faouzi Ghoulam were on international duty with Vlad Chiriches injured.
After three minutes Dries Mertens went down under a Gabriel Paletta challenge, but the referee waved play on. Napoli broke through with Lorenzo Insigne, the man who scored a brace here last season. Mertens ran on to a long ball down the right, found Insigne with a no-look cross-field pass and the Italian controlled with the right foot to blast across Gigio Donnarumma with his left into the far top corner.
Moments later it was 2-0, as Mertens got down the right and flicked a clever pass for the on-rushing Jose Callejon to beat Donnarumma from the tightest of angles at the near post.
Donnarumma prevented a certain third by rushing off his line to smother at the feet of Callejon, who had left Davide Calabria for dead.
Maurizio Sarri’s men continued to pass the ball around with consummate ease, as Mertens missed a sitter when sent clear on goal by Allan and just prodded his half-volley into Donnarumma’s arms.
Ignazio Abate saw his dangerous cross for Carlos Bacca intercepted, then Gustavo Gomez turned a free header inches wide of the far post.
Milan did get one back, as Juraj Kucka pounced on a misplaced Jorginho pass and surged forward to place the finish past the on-rushing Pepe Reina.
Much like in the 2-2 draw with Torino on Monday night, the Rossoneri needed two slaps to wake up and start playing. Bacca ran on to a poor Insigne back-pass and fell just outside the box on a slight Lorenzo Tonelli nudge. Milan wanted a red card, but that would’ve been extremely harsh, and Suso curled the free kick over.
Montella’s men started the second half like a different team, as Mario Pasalic’s header thumped the crossbar, Raul Albiol at full stretch intercepted a through ball for Bacca and on the corner Sosa’s volley was smothered by Reina.
An Insigne free kick skimmed the crossbar and he attempted an audacious lob from midfield that landed on the roof of the net with Donnarumma scrambling.
Bacca fired a couple of efforts too close to Reina, then Mertens was sent clear and Donnarumma got down for a crucial one-handed save, as Milan poured forward and left gaps at the back. On one such move, Bonaventura sprinted back the entire length of the pitch to tackle Mertens clear on goal.
Allan went off with cramp, Andrea Bertolacci’s scorcher was deflected wide off Marko Rog and Gabriel Paletta’s header looped over from a corner.
Deep into stoppages Milan had a free kick and Donnarumma went up for the header to test Reina.
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