Eurozone: Milan fail to profit from Inter hangover

Pete Jenson
Monday 22 March 2010 01:00

A 1-1 home draw with Napoli yesterday meant Milan were unable to take advantage of Internazionale's draw at Palermo on Saturday and replace their city rivals at the top of Serie A.

Hugo Campagnaro put a lively Napoli ahead in the 14th minute. Ezequiel Lavezzi drew everybody to the near post where Christian Abbiati and Massimo Oddo got in each other's way and ended up in a heap as the Argentinian forward pulled the ball back to his compatriot, who side-footed it into the completely empty goal. Filippo Inzaghi equalised 12 minutes later, Ronaldinho lifting a cross to the veteran striker, who was glued in his usual position underneath the crossbar to head in the equaliser. Napoli enjoyed the better of the first half while Milan improved in the second 45 minutes, but neither side did enough to deserve victory, which takes the Rossoneri back to within a single point of Inter.

Inter's Champions League success has severely taken its toll on their Serie A campaign. Jose Mourinho's side have won just once in their last seven games after slipping up in Sicily with a 1-1 draw away to Palermo on Saturday. Diego Milito converted his 17th goal of the season from the spot but Edinson Cavani equalised to leave Inter now only four points clear of third placed Roma who beat Udinese 4-2.

Ribéry warned off Real bad move

Bayern Munich are also suffering a Champions League hangover. With their double-header against Manchester United looming on the horizon they slipped up 2-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt despite leading with three minutes left. They were without the injured Franck Ribéry who has been warned by team-mate Arjen Robben not to join Real Madrid. The Spanish club are in pole position to pick up the French winger in the summer but Robben said: "The atmosphere at Madrid would not be good for him."

However, Bayern stay top of the Bundesliga after Schalke could only draw 2-2 away to Hamburg yesterday, Jonathan Pitroipa's equaliser denying them victory.

Ronaldo turns provider

Cristiano Ronaldo's run of scoring in five consecutive matches came to an end as Real Madrid beat Sporting Gijon 3-1 on Saturday.

The visitors took the lead at the Santiago Bernabeu but it was merely a case of poking the beast with too short a stick as a below-par Madrid snapped into life scoring three quick goals. Rafael van der Vaart turned in a blocked Ronaldo free-kick before Xabi Alonso headed in another Ronaldo assist. Gonzalo Higuain (above) got the third with his 20th league goal of the season – the Argentine's average of a goal every 72 minutes is the best in Spain. But the performance left coach Manuel Pellegrini unhappy with his side.

He said: "We did not play well. It is a wake-up call that we have to start games with far more intensity." Real's sporting director, Miguel Pardeza, again backed his coach saying: "We are in good hands with Pellegrini. He has the full support of the club. After the defeat to Lyons in the Champions League we needed to pick ourselves up and we have done that."

"Players should keep their agents under control," said the Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's representative Mino Raiola complained his player was sad about being dropped last week in the Champions League. Ibrahimovic may have cost £45m plus Samuel Eto'o but there are no special privileges for the Barcelona striker.

He goes down as one of the biggest flops in Manchester United's history but Diego Forlan has confounded critics since. He won a golden boot at both Villarreal and Atletico Madrid after his Old Trafford exit and the Uruguayan striker marked his 200th La Liga game for Atletico Madrid at Real Mallorca last night with his 115th goal in a 4-1 defeat.

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