Napoli announced their bid for the Serie A title with Sunday’s 2-1 win against AC Milan, who maintained their leadership of the league, while the crisis at Juventus deepened after a humiliating defeat at Monza.
Second-half goals from Matteo Politano and Giovanni Simeone gave Napoli a decisive win at the San Siro, one they achieved without injured star striker Victor Osimhen and suspended manager Luciano Spalletti off the bench.
Spalletti’s side sit top on goal difference with Atalanta, winners 1-0 in Rome, and three points ahead of Milan, who drop to fifth after their first loss of the season.
Milan were the most threatening team in the first half and would have taken a lead in the 13th minute had Alex Meret not brilliantly deflected Olivier Giroud’s shot off the crossbar.
However, without the suspended Rafael Leao, Milan lacked their usual forward edge, and combined with a couple of unfortunate incidents of players getting in the way of others’ chances, they denied Milan a well-deserved half-time lead. .
They were suspended 10 minutes after the break following a decision that angered Milan, Maurizio Mariani signaling the penalty for a foul on Sergino Dest’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Politano pushing the penalty under Mike Maignan.
Giroud gave the angry crowd what they wanted, but his fourth league goal of the season came from France team-mate Theo Hernandez, a superb burst down the left flank and a cut that made it easy for the veteran striker to level. marker.
However, as Milan searched for the winning goal, Simeone punched him and was met by a flying pass from Mario Rui with a perfect header.
Milan responded again, but after Pierre Kalulu somehow hit Giroud’s crossbar with four minutes to go, Napoli held on for a potentially huge three points.
Atalanta regains the lead
Atalanta are level with Napoli after a beautiful low shot from Giorgio Scalvini 10 minutes before half-time at the Stadio Olimpico earned them all three points.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s side are a point ahead of Udinese, who beat Inter Milan 3-1 in Sunday’s early game to win their fifth game in a row.
Roma, who lost Paulo Dybala to injury in the pre-match warm-up and wasted in front of goal, were furious 10 minutes after the break when referee Daniele Chiffi failed to penalize the hosts for a yank on Nicolo Zaniolo’s shorts. by Caleb Okoli. to the point that his underwear was visible.
“I have to change what I say to the players, I have to tell them not to stand … be a clown like many do who dive as if they were in a pool in this league,” Mourinho told DAZN after being expelled for his protests.
juve in crisis
Juventus were in trouble before Sunday, and the jeers from the stands following their midweek loss to Benfica were replicated from the visiting winger at the U-Power Stadium after a devastating 1-0 loss.
Silvio Berlusconi, owner of Monza and former Milan sponsor, celebrated after Christian Gytkjaer scored his historic winner with 15 minutes remaining and increased pressure on Juve to sack manager Massimiliano Allegri.
Allegri was not on the bench after being sent off at the end of last weekend’s home draw with Salernitana, with Ángel Di María saying the loss was his fault after being sent off for elbowing Armando Izzo five minutes before half-time. .
Fans are firmly blaming the man who won them five league titles for his team’s dismal results and performances that have left them eight and 10 points behind the leading duo.
However, before the match, Juve chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene said it would be “crazy” to fire Allegri, who is under contract until 2025 at a reported salary of €8m a year, and there has been no indication. that you are about to be fired.
Monza are still in the relegation zone but have overtaken Sampdoria and Cremonese, thrashed Lazio 4-0 and are a single point behind 17th-placed Verona following their 2-0 loss at Fiorentina.