Italian Football: Milan preserve record

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The Independent Online
FOR THE first time in over two years, Milan started a Serie A game without any of their three Dutch international players - Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit (all injured) - and in the circumstances the champions were probably happy with a point away to Atalanta, writes Rupert Metcalf.

The 1-1 draw extended Milan's unbeaten league run to 55 games and left them nine points clear at the top. Their closest rivals, Internazionale, could only manage a 0-0 draw at home to Napoli.

If Milan's goalkeeper, Sebastiano Rossi, had not saved a penalty in the second half, the team from Bergamo might have been celebrating a great victory. Third- placed Atalanta have claimed 18 points from 10 home games - a record better than Milan's - but they seemed to be heading for defeat when Jean-Pierre Papin put the visitors ahead four minutes from time.

Atalanta's response was immediate, however, Maurizio Ganz taking advantage of a glaring gap in the centre of the Milanese defence to equalise. Ganz had been felled by Franco Baresi in the 72nd minute to concede the penalty, but Rossi came to the rescue when he saved Roberto Rambaudi's spot-kick.

Lazio lost third place to Atalanta after they fell 2-1 at home to Cagliari, despite taking an early lead through Diego Fuser. Massimiliano Cappioli took advantage of some defensive chaos to equalise just before the break, and Vittorio Pusceddu headed the winner from a corner on the hour. England's Paul Gascoigne played the whole game, missing one good chance.

ITALIAN LEAGUE: Ancona 2 (Agostini 44, 68) Fiorentina 1 (Baiano 65); Atalanta 1 (Ganz 87) Milan 1 (Papin 86); Foggia 0 Roma 0; Internazionale 0 Napoli 0; Juventus 1 (Ravanelli 58) Genoa 0; Lazio 1 (Fuser 36) Cagliari 2 (Cappioli 45, Pusceddu 60); Parma 2 (Brolin pen 52, Melli 90) Torino 2 (Sergio 45, Mussi 89); Pescara 2 (Mendy 10, Borgonovo 45) Brescia 0; Sampdoria 2 (Buso 54, Serena 80) Udinese 0.

----------------------------------------------------------------- P W D L F A Pts ----------------------------------------------------------------- Milan 20 15 5 0 45 17 35 Internazionale 20 10 6 4 34 25 26 Atalanta 20 10 4 6 25 25 24 Lazio 20 8 7 5 39 29 23 Juventus 20 8 7 5 34 25 23 Sampdoria 20 8 7 5 35 28 23 Torino 20 6 10 4 22 16 22 Cagliari 20 8 5 7 19 19 21 Roma 20 6 7 7 23 20 19 Parma 20 6 7 7 22 24 19 Napoli 20 7 4 9 29 30 18 Foggia 20 6 6 8 23 33 18 Udinese 20 7 3 10 27 28 17 Fiorentina 20 5 7 8 32 34 17 Brescia 20 5 6 9 18 27 16 Genoa 20 4 8 8 26 39 16 Ancona 20 5 2 13 30 47 12 Pescara 20 4 3 13 27 39 11 -----------------------------------------------------------------

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