Udinese hold Milan in Italian league thriller

AC Milan and Udinese drew 4-4 at the San Siro in a thrilling game that will give hope to Milan`s title rivals.

Rome: AC Milan and Udinese drew 4-4 at the San Siro in a thrilling game that will give hope to Milan`s title rivals.

Udinese led 3-1 at one stage and also moved into injury time with a 4-3 lead but Milan were rewarded for a never-say-die attitude that saw them snatch a share of the spoils.

Milan`s lead at the top of Serie A was cut to four points as Napoli thrashed Juventus 3-0 thanks to an Edinson Cavani hat-trick.

Udinese`s Antonio Di Natale scored a brace with Alexis Sanchez and German Denis also finding the net for the visitors.

But a Pato double, a Medhi Benatia own-goal and Zlatan Ibrahimovic`s last gasp leveller ensured the hosts avoided a second successive home defeat following their 1-0 reverse against Roma in December.

"Udinese played really well, they cause us problems, especially in the first half," said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.

"After the break we were careless a few times but we did well to get a draw, I think the draw is fair. My lads played a great match particularly in terms of character."

Udinese opened the scoring on 35 minutes when midfielder Gokhan Inler`s shot beat goalkeeper Marco Amelia but came back off the post to Di Natale who was left alone to slot home into an unguarded net.

Milan equalised on the stroke of half-time when Ibrahimovic crossed for Pato to tuck home from six yards.
Sanchez put the visitors ahead again soon after the restart when he converted Mauricio Isler`s cross with a diving near-post header.

And when Di Natale escaped on the counter-attack, turned inside Daniele Bonera and shot home, Milan looked certain to be heading for defeat.

But on 77 minutes Benatia inadvertently headed Thiago Silva`s cross beyond his own goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

Pato snatched his second eight minutes from time as he pounced on substitute Antonio Cassano`s pass, turned his marker and wrong-footed Handanovic.

But there were two more twists to come as Denis struck on the counter-attack as Milan were pushing up looking for a winner themselves.

Then deep into injury time Cassano teed up Ibrahimovic to finish crisply and snatch a draw.

Cavani is now joint top of the Serie A scoring charts as Juve fell to their second three-goal defeat in a row following Thursday`s 4-1 reverse at home to Parma.

Cavani scored a pair of headers in the first half and made it a hat-trick with his head nine minutes after the break.

Napoli moved above Lazio who blew the chance to close the gap to Milan to three points as they lost 2-1 at home to Lecce, who started the day one off the bottom.

The visitors went ahead on 39 minutes when Jeda`s shot hit the post and went in off Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera`s back.
Lazio captain Stefano Mauri equalised from close range at the start of the second period but 20 minutes from time Carlos Gossmueller was left unmarked at the back post to score the winner.

Leonardo continued his winning start as Inter Milan boss as his team came from behind to win 2-1 at Catania.

The hosts took a deserved lead when Alejandro Gomez mopped up the loose ball after Dejan Stankovic had headed Maxi Lopez`s goal-bound shot off the line.

That shocked Inter into life and Stankovic played in Esteban Cambiasso to finish cooly.

And the Argentine scored his second when he headed home a cross from Maicon 11 minutes from time.

In the day`s early game, Sampdoria hurt Roma`s title chances as they also came from behind to win 2-1.

Mirko Vucinic gave Roma the lead but goalkeeper Julio Sergio was sent-off when conceding a penalty in bringing down Angelo Palombo after Juan`s woeful back pass.

Nicola Pozzi scored from the spot and then former Roma midfielder Stefano Guberti hit the winner after another uncharacteristic Juan error.

Bureau Report