AC Milan’s Mathieu Flamini went from hero to zero as first he scored and then he was sent off in his side’s 1-1 draw at home to UEFA Champions League rivals SSC Napoli.
Flamini opened the scoring with his second goal of the season on the half-hour, but Goran Pandev brought the visitors level in the 33rd minute. The Frenchman then went on to get himself sent off in the second half.
The 1-1 draw means Milan have just six matches to make up a four-point gap on second-placed Napoli if they are to achieve automatic Champions League qualification.
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri still believes his side can make it into second place.
“With four points and six rounds to play there are still many chances for us to catch Napoli,” Allegri said. “Napoli are a side capable of defending their lead, but this is an important point for us because we have maintained a certain distance from [ACF] Fiorentina. Football is unpredictable, so we have to be wary. In any case, third place is a great achievement considering how we started the season.”
Meanwhile, Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri felt his side should have taken all three points from the clash.
“I am not remotely satisfied with the result, as we pegged Milan back in their own half and I really wanted to win this game,” Mazzarri said. “Looking at the incidents, we deserved a victory.”
Earlier on Sunday, a spectacular long-range effort from Brazilian Matuzalem 10 minutes from time earned Genoa a vital point in their bid to avoid relegation after a 1-1 draw against derby rivals UC Sampdoria.
The result leaves the oldest team in Italy two points away from safety following AC Siena’s crucial 3-2 win at rock-bottom Delfino Pescara 1936 on Saturday.
Fellow strugglers US Citta di Palermo also remained two points behind Siena after they drew 1-1 at home to Bologna.
In Trieste, a Mauricio Pinilla double for Cagliari condemned Inter to a 2-0 defeat, their third in four matches.
Elsewhere, 10-man AS Roma defeated Torino 2-1, with Pablo Osvaldo heading home on 22 minutes for the visitors.
Rolando Bianchi equalized in the 31st minute with a close-range effort, only for Erik Lamela to casually curl the ball into the top-left corner from long range to snatch the winner.
Udinese beat Parma 3-0 with a double from Colombian Luis Muriel and another from Roberto Pereyra.
AC Chievo Verona drew 0-0 with Catania as they all but secured their safety in Serie A.