Last-gasp Donnarumma holds Napoli
MILAN, (AFP): A dramatic last-gasp save from AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma further dented Napoli’s Serie A title ambitions with a goalless draw at the San Siro on Sunday.
The 19-year-old Italian — who became the youngest player to reach 100 Serie A appearances on Sunday — dived to keep out Arkadiusz Milik’s goal-bound effort two minutes into added-on time as Napoli lost further ground on champions Juventus.
Napoli — bidding for an elusive third title after those won in 1987 and 1990 — now have 78 points from 32 games. Six-time consecutive champions Juventus, on 81, can pull six points clear with a win against Sampdoria later Sunday.
“It’s useless to think about Juventus or we won’t win,” said Napoli midfielder Jorginho.
“I’m sorry for the draw, we had our chances but we did not manage to score, but let’s look ahead because there are still other matches.”
In an intense game at a sold-out San Siro, AC Milan overcame the absences of captain Leonardo Bonucci (suspended) and centre-back Alessio Romagnoli (injured) to peg the visitors back.
Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina — heading for AC Milan on a free transfer next June — was tested early by his future teammates, diving low to clear Giacomo Bonaventura’s effort.
Milan midfielder Suso threatened after 11 minutes with a cross that towering defender Kalidou Koulibaly deflected the ball away to bounce off Nikola Kalinic’s head.
Milan defender Mateo Musacchio thought he had scored six minutes before the break firing in a rebound after Reina had blocked a Hakan Calhanoglu shot, but was ruled offside.
After the interval Napoli captain Marek Hamsik was at the centre of the action, setting up Lorenzo Insigne on the left and launching himself into the area but to no avail.
And Milik finally looked set to break the deadlock in stoppages when he picked up a cross, controlled and fired towards goal but Donnarumma raced forward and got low to tip wide.
It condemned Napoli to a third draw in their past five games.
AC Milan remain sixth and within the Europa League places but too far behind for the Champions League with six games to play.
Inter Milan missed the chance to get back into the Champions League contention with a goalless draw at Atalanta on Saturday.
Juventus and Napoli looked locked into the first two Champions League spots with three teams fighting for the two remaining with Inter, Roma and Lazio now all on 60 points.
Meanwhile, rock bottom Benevento grabbed a 2-2 draw at Sassuolo, thanks to a double from Malian striker Cheick Diabate, to bring his tally to seven goal in six matches.
(AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma at full stretch during a goalless draw with Napoli which dented the visitors’ Serie A title hopes. Photo: AFP)
Published Date: Sunday, April 15th, 2018 | 10:09 PM