AC Milan suffered a double blow on Saturday as Los Angeles Galaxy refused their reported US$10 million bid for David Beckham and rock-bottom Reggina held them to a 1-1 draw at the San Siro.
Earlier in the day Inter had cruised to a convincing 3-0 victory at lowly Lecce to extend their lead at the top to eight points.
Milan vice president Adriano Galliani revealed before kick-off that Galaxy had turned down their initial bid for Beckham and then sat and watched his team frustrated by a team fighting for their Serie A survival.
For all Milan’s early possession and pressure, they fell behind on 33 minutes.
Reggina burst away on the counter-attack and Bernardo Corradi set up Carlos Carmona, whose fierce drive was parried by Christian Abbiati in the Milan goal.
The Italian giants failed to clear their lines, though, and a Corradi flick set up the Davide Di Gennaro to lash home.
After the break, Di Gennaro almost doubled his tally but arrowed his shot just wide while Kaka had two chances, sending one softly into goalkeeper Andrea Campagnolo’s arms and the other past the near post.
On the hour, Kaka hit the post and substitute Clarence Seedorf bundled the ball home, but the Dutch midfielder was penalized for a handball.
Milan were given a lifeline on 67 minutes as Matej Krajcik brought down Pato in the box and Kaka smashed home the penalty.
Goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Figo and Dejan Stankovic gave Inter only their third win in six games since the resumption of Serie A following the winter break.
Even so, Inter coach Jose Mourinho was furious by what he thought was yet another penalty decision going against his team when Ibrahimovic was booked for diving after going down in the box.
“I got banned for using the word fear so I won’t use it again,” said Mourinho, referring to the one-match touchline ban he was given for asking referee Domenico Celi if he was afraid of giving a decision to Inter in their 1-0 victory against Sampdoria last month.
“My Italian is only so-so, so this time I’ll use the word strange. It was very strange what happened to Adriano [who was banned for three-matches on video evidence for punching an opponent against Sampdoria] and this penalty decision was strange too,” he said
Ibrahimovic gave the visitors the lead on 12 minutes as he controlled a pass from Cambiasso on the edge of the area and then ripped a right-foot shot past Francesco Benussi in the Lecce goal.
Figo settled the affair 19 minutes from time, ghosting between Lecce’s center-backs to glance home a header.
Eight minutes from the end Stankovic timed his run perfectly to head in a free-kick from Maicon.