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Milan back down to earth as they are held to draw by Inter


After beating Barcelona in the Champions League last Wednesday, Milan's mood was tempered following a 1-1 draw with city neighbours Internazionale in a derby that was a tale of two sharply different halves.

Milan dominated the first half and took the lead through Stephan El Shaarawy in the 21st minute, but Inter responded after the break and substitute Ezequiel Schelotto equalized in the 71st minute.

The draw left Milan third in the table, six points behind second-placed Napoli, who visit Udinese tonight, and 13 points behind the Serie A leaders Juventus, who beat Siena 3-0 earlier yesterday.

Inter are one point behind Milan and level with Lazio, who host struggling Pescara tonight.

The 20-year-old El Shaarawy put the Rossoneri ahead by deftly controlling a pass from Kevin-Prince Boateng before firing home his 16th goal of the season.

Six minutes later, the Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic prevented Milan from taking a two-goal lead with an acrobatic save to stop a powerful header from Mario Balotelli, who missed two other chances during the first half.

Balotelli, playing against his old club for the first time since his move from Manchester City, was also the subject of apparent racist abuse from Inter fans, who waved inflated bananas and whistled at him.

Schelotto equalized by heading in a cross from Yuto Nagatomo after being left unmarked in the area.

Meanwhile bottom-placed Palermo fired coach Alberto Malesani after only three games yesterday and, in an extraordinary move, immediately brought back the man he replaced - Gian Piero Gasperini.

"We regret the decision considering that Alberto Malesani is an excellent person and an excellent coach," said a club statement after their third coaching change of the season.

"We thank him for trying. The decision seems to be the only viable one at this difficult time."

The Sicilian club are currently six points adrift of safety having won only three of their 26 league games this season.