Serie A Roundup, Mar. 28

BY foxsports • March 28, 2010

AC Milan missed a chance to go second in Serie A after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Lazio on Sunday.

The draw left the top three teams within three points of each other with seven rounds remaining. Inter Milan leads with 63 points, AS Roma - which beat Inter 2-1 Saturday - is next with 62, and Milan has 60.

Marco Borriello put Milan in front with a penalty in the 18th minute but Switzerland international Stephan Lichtsteiner equalized in the 32nd after Milan defender Luca Antonini failed to clear.

Antonini then hit the crossbar in the 54th minute, but that was the closest Milan came to winning.

Milan hasn't won in three games, having drawn 1-1 with Napoli last weekend and lost 1-0 to Parma on Wednesday.

"These were three very different games. Tonight, we just missed out on winning," Milan coach Leonardo said.

The penalty was awarded when Lazio defender Aleksandar Kolarov was judged to have fouled Mathieu Flamini, although replays showed Kolarov didn't move.

Milan was missing several key players, with Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo both suspended and goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, midfielder Amantino Mancini and forward Alexandre Pato injured. Also, Alessandro Nesta and David Beckham have recently had surgery.

Leonardo was forced to give 18-year-old forward Gianmarco Zigoni his Serie A debut in the 77th minute, replacing Filippo Inzaghi. Milan then had another chance to win, but Ignazio Abate couldn't take advantage of an empty net.

"It's going to be a tense last seven weeks," Leonardo said. "We'll get those suspended players back and some guys will return from injury, then we'll see what happens."

The match was marred by racial taunts from Lazio fans directed at Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf during the first half. An announcement was made over the San Siro's public address system, warning that if the taunts continued the game could be suspended, and the situation improved.

Earlier, Juventus ended a four-game winless streak with a 2-1 victory over Atalanta to remain in the hunt for fourth place and the final Champions League berth.

Juventus is sixth in the standings, level with Napoli and Sampdoria with 48 points each. Palermo, which beat Bologna 3-1 Saturday with a hat trick from Fabrizio Miccoli, is fourth with 51 points.

In Sunday's other games, Fabio Cannavaro's younger brother, Paolo, scored the winner as Napoli edged Catania 1-0, while Sampdoria conceded a late equalizer from Brazilian forward Nene in a 1-1 draw with Cagliari.

Fiorentina beat struggling Udinese 4-1 with goals from Juan Vargas, Alberto Gilardino, Mario Santana and Stevan Jovetic.

Livorno and Bari played to a 1-1 draw in a game that was suspended for two minutes during the second half when protesting Livorno fans threw firecrackers onto the pitch.

Siena-Genoa and Chievo Verona-Parma ended in scoreless draws.

Felipe Melo, one of Juventus' most widely criticized players this season, scored the winner in Turin with a header in the 82nd minute at the Stadio Olimpico.

"I expected a reaction and that's what happened," Juventus coach Alberto Zaccheroni said. "Now I'm hoping we can find continuity in our performances and results."

Alessandro Del Piero put Juventus in front with a curling free kick in the 30th minute and former Juve striker Nicola Amoruso equalized for Atalanta in the 45th after beating the offside trap.

Del Piero also provided the cross for Melo's header, after which Melo held his hands together as if to beg for fans' forgiveness. One of Juve's most expensive offseason acquisitions, Melo had so far failed to make an impact with the Turin side.

Zaccheroni brought on Melo in the 56th for Antonio Candreva.

"You win games in midfield and that's why I put Felipe Melo on," Zaccheroni said. "He was really motivated. But let's not remember his performance just for the goal, but for what he did overall during the game."

Juventus had gone three games without a win in Serie A and last week was eliminated from the Europa League by Fulham, squandering a 3-1 first-leg win with a 4-1 loss in the return game.

Juventus fans protested outside the team's hotel before Sunday's game and one supporter slapped defender Jonathan Zebina on the back of his neck.

Zebina played without problem, but the Bianconeri lost playmaker Diego to an apparent muscle injury in the 32nd minute.


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