MILAN, Dec 10 — AC Milan missed a chance to pile pressure on local rivals and fellow Champions League chasers Inter Milan in Serie A after being held to a goalless draw by Torino at the San Siro yesterday.
Gennaro Gattuso’s fourth-placed Milan are three points behind Inter, who lost to leaders Juventus on Friday, after wasting opportunities to win the match, with forward Patrick Cutrone missing a golden chance with four minutes left and Gonzalo Higuain, returning from a two-match ban, also denied late.
Milan’s wastefulness wasn’t punished by Torino, four points behind Milan in sixth and still unbeaten away from home, thanks to goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma denying Iago Falque and Andrea Belotti.
“I don’t consider it a missed opportunity, as we knew very well that Torino are a difficult team,” said Gattuso.
“It’s a good point. I don’t see it as a bad performance at all. I am sure that a year ago, we would have lost this game.”
Milan also had the chance to move away from Lazio, who contrived to draw 2-2 with Sampdoria on Saturday despite taking the lead five minutes into stoppage time, and Roma, who threw away a two-goal lead to draw at Cagliari after the Sardinians were reduced to nine men.
All lag behind Juve, who are eight points clear of second-placed Napoli.
Earlier Duvan Zapata got Atalanta back to winning ways after consecutive losses with a hat-trick against former club Udinese that brought them to within touching distance of the Champions League places, the last of which is occupied by Milan.
“Zapata’s enjoying a good moment,” said Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini, after the South American also scored in last week’s defeat to Napoli, who had loaned him to Udinese.
“He’s in great condition and is an extra option for us.”
Colombian striker Zapata’s goals put Gian Piero Gasperini’s side seventh, level on 21 points with three other teams and five behind Milan.
“We’re in the company of great teams, everyone can fight for the Europa League and maybe even for fourth place,” said Gasperini.
Piatek overtakes Ronaldo
Cesare Prandelli started his reign as Genoa coach with a 1-1 draw against fellow strugglers SPAL, despite captain Domenico Criscito being sent off in the 11th minute.
Andrea Petagna had headed SPAL ahead minutes after Criscito’s dismissal for a high tackle, but Krzysztof Piątek earned Genoa a point from the penalty spot with his 11th goal of the season — taking him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring charts.
On-loan Everton winger Kevin Mirallas struck his first Serie A goal six minutes into injury time to snatch a point for Fiorentina in a dramatic 3-3 draw at Sassuolo that saw both teams finish with 10 men.
Belgian Mirallas, 31, who joined the Tuscan side on a season-long loan after falling out of favour at Goodison Park, came on as a late substitute and made an instant impact when he beat Sassuolo keeper Andrea Consigli with seconds remaining.
A chaotic final period saw Sassuolo’s Filip Djuricic and Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic sent off before Fiorentina struck back.
Mirallas’ late leveller, which came after his side had gone 3-1 down with 10 minutes remaining, means ninth-placed Sassuolo are also on 21 points, two points ahead of Fiorentina, who drop to 12th after their eighth game without a win.
Elsewhere Parma were held 1-1 at home by 10-man Chievo after Bruno Alves’ free-kick cancelled out Mariusz Stepinski’s shock opener for the Serie A bottom club, while Empoli beat Bologna 2-1 in a battle between relegation candidates. — AFP