SSC Napoli on Sunday announced their bid for the Serie A title with a 2-1 win at AC Milan which maintained their league lead, while the crisis at Juventus deepened following a humiliating defeat at AC Monza.
A Matteo Politano penalty 10 minutes after halftime and Giovanni Simeone’s header with 12 minutes remaining gave Napoli a statement win at the San Siro, one managed without injured star striker Victor Osimhen and suspended coach Luciano Spalletti.
Napoli sit top of the pile on goal-difference from Atalanta BC, 1-0 winners at AS Roma, and a point ahead of Udinese, who beat Inter 3-1 in Sunday’s early match to win their fifth match on the bounce.
They are also three points ahead of champions Milan, who dropped down to fifth after their first defeat of the season.
“This is not just about quality, this is a determined team which is capable of sacrifice,” substitute Simeone told DAZN. “All this team wants to do is to give its all and get better day by day.”
Simeone’s first Serie A goal for Napoli ended a 22-match unbeaten run for Milan, who leveled in the 69th minute through Olivier Giroud and were unlucky to lose after hitting the woodwork late on through Pierre Kalulu.
However, the absence of suspended star man Rafael Leao and some smart saves from Alex Meret, who tipped one early Giroud effort onto the bar, cost Milan at least a draw.
“I am not happy at all and neither should my players be. We only scored one goal and that isn’t enough for the chances that we created,” Milan head coach Stefano Pioli told DAZN. “I hope we learn to be more clinical in front of goal, because we did everything right except for the mistakes we made in both penalty areas.”
Atalanta are level with Napoli after Giorgio Scalvini’s beautifully hit low strike 10 minutes before halftime earned them three points at the Stadio Olimpico.
The 18-year-old’s winner was the only shot on target from Gian Piero Gasperini’s side, who have developed a cynical streak this season, conceding only three times in seven matches.
Roma, who lost Paulo Dybala to injury in the pre-match warmup and were wasteful in front of goal, were livid 10 minutes after halftime when referee Daniele Chiffi did not give the hosts a penalty for Caleb Okoli yanking at Nicolo Zaniolo’s shorts to the point that his underwear was visible.
“I need to change what I tell my players, I have to tell them to not to stay on your feet ... be a clown like many who dive like they’re in a swimming pool do in this league,” Roma coach Jose Mourinho told DAZN after being sent off for his protests.
Juventus were in trouble before Sunday and the boos from the stands after their midweek defeat to SL Benfica were replicated in the away end at the U-Power Stadium after a devastating 1-0 loss.
Monza owner and one-time Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi celebrated after Christian Gytkjaer netted their historic winner 15 minutes from the end and increased the pressure on Juve to sack coach Massimiliano Allegri.
Angel di Maria said the defeat was his fault after being sent off for elbowing Armando Izzo five minutes before halftime, but the fans are placing the blame or their team’s dismal results and performances firmly with the man who won them five league titles.
The defeat left Juventus eighth.
However, before the match Juventus chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene said that it would be “crazy” to sack Allegri and there has been no indication that he is about to be let go.
Monza are still in the relegation zone, but moved above UC Sampdoria and US Cremonese, who were thumped 4-0 by SS Lazio, and they are a single point behind 17th-placed Hellas Verona following their 2-0 defeat at ACF Fiorentina.
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