MILAN - Forgotten man Massimo Oddo, only
playing because of a raft of injuries, set up both goals to send
AC Milan up to second in Serie A after an action-packed 2-1 win
at 10-man Napoli in heavy rain on Monday.
The Rossoneri, who had not won at the intimidating San Paolo
for almost 13 years and were booed with almost their every
touch, moved above Inter Milan and two points behind leaders
Lazio after goals from Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
GEAR: Save 10% on Milan home and away shirts, courtesy of online retailer Kitbag
Sixth-placed Napoli had a host of chances and the excellent
Ezequiel Lavezzi pulled one back with 12 minutes to go, somehow
flicking the ball in off the bar despite being almost flat on
The ambitious home side, hoping to break into the top four
this term, were ultimately undone by being reduced to 10 men
just before half-time when Michele Pazienza handled the ball for
a second time to pick up a second booking.
The midfielder turned around and marched off without any
protest but Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri, whose designer suit
was completely drenched by the downpour, shook his head in
disbelief on the touchline.
Milan left back Luca Antonini had his head in his hands for
different reasons after 10 minutes when he was involved in a
sickening clash with Napoli's Christian Maggio and had to be
carried off the field with a neck brace as a precaution.
The visitors were already without injured defenders Thiago
Silva, Gianluca Zambrotta, Marek Jankulovski and Ignazio Abate - as well as Ronaldinho - so 2006 World Cup winner Oddo was
called off the bench despite hardly ever featuring these days.
The right-back made the most of his chance by performing a
neat one-two with Ronaldinho's stand-in Robinho, who sidefooted
the ball into the corner from just inside the area after 22
Oddo's 73rd-minute cross was then headed in by an unmarked
Ibrahimovic, who later limped off with a knock but still managed
to get involved in an on-field brawl from the bench.
The off-colour Swede and strike partner Alexandre Pato had
other efforts for Milan, chastened by a 2-0 defeat at Real
Madrid last week but increasingly looking like major challengers
for the scudetto for the first time since winning it in 2004.
"It was a difficult match, we defended well and it's a very
important three points for us," Robinho told Sky TV.
"I'm used to playing further forward but it's fine behind
the frontmen too," added Robinho who netted his second league
goal of the season after being slow to settle since his August
move from Manchester City.
Milan, bidding to stop Inter claiming a sixth straight
league title, host old rivals Juventus on Saturday.
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