Giroud saves Milan's blushes against Spezia after Maldini's son strikes

Olivier Giroud spared AC Milan the embarrassment of having their Serie A title defence damaged by Paolo Maldini's son on Saturday with a late volley which earned his team a 2-1 win over Spezia.

Milan moved up to second, six points behind league leaders Napoli, after Giroud crashed in a superb finish in the 89th minute just as it looked like Daniel Maldini had left them trailing even further behind.

On loan at Spezia from Milan, Daniel Maldini curled in a superb leveller just before the hour mark to stun the 70,000 fans present to watch what was expected to be a simple win for the champions.

The strike from 21-year-old midfielder, whose only other senior career goal came against Spezia for Milan last season, would have leave Stefano Pioli's side eight points off the pace had Giroud not stepped in with another huge goal.

France forward Giroud had scored twice and set up two more on Wednesday as Milan moved into the Champions League last 16 for the first time in nine years with a thumping win over Salzburg.

Napoli beat Atalanta 2-1 in Bergamo earlier on Saturday to establish a big lead at the top of the Italian top flight as they hunt a first Scudetto since 1990.

td/pb