Struggling AC Milan showed tremendous fighting spirit in coming from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw against Napoli at the San Paolo on Saturday night.
The Partenopei took control of the contest with goals from Gokhan Inler - his first for the club - and Lorenzo Insigne, both of which should have been saved by Christian Abbiati.
However, Stephan El Shaarawy gave the visitors hope with a stunning goal just before halftime and then struck again with seven minutes remaining to salvage a point for the Rossoneri.
In light of last weekend’s demoralizing defeat at home to Fiorentina, it was imperative that a Milan side desperately low on confidence made a solid start to the game. It did not, gifting the hosts a goal inside four minutes.
There appeared to be little to worry about when Inler let rip from distance but Christian Abbiati was completely deceived by the Swiss international’s swerving shot and could only watch on forlornly as the ball flew past him.
In fairness to the visitors, they responded well to falling behind, dominating possession and territory, albeit without really threatening to score. Therefore, Napoli’s second goal came as a hammer blow. Again Abbiati was at fault, the veteran keeper somehow how allowing Insigne’s low strike to go under his body.
However, Allegri’s troops refused to let their heads drop and El Shaarawy, so often their savior this season, dragged them back into a game that looked lost with a stunning, first-time curling effort from the edge of the area that Morgan De Sanctis didn’t even bother attempting to stop.
Buoyed by that wonderful strike, Milan bossed the second period and Bojan Krkick toed wide after a terrific move down the right-hand side before Kevin-Prince Boateng wasted a decent headed opening.
Napoli continued to threaten on the break, though, with Christian Maggio only just failing to get on the end of Marek Hamsik’s ball across the six-yard box, while Abbiati went some way towards making amends for his earlier errors by saving well with his feet after Edinson Cavani had engineered some space for himself on the edge of the area.
Cavani then turned provider, putting Hamsik in on goal but the Slovak fired wide with the goal at his mercy. The Uruguayan was then again denied by the feet of Abbiati before the hosts were almost inevitably punished for profligacy, El Shaarawy calmly side-footing past De Sanctis after being put through by Robinho.
El Shaarawy then very nearly won it for the visitors but this time around De Sanctis was equal to it and Milan ultimately had to settle for a point that will lift their spirits, while at the same time devastating Napoli, which had hoped to close the gap to leader Juventus with a win.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Christian Abbiati
- Stephan El Shaarawy
- Lorenzo Insigne