MILAN - AC Milan were held 1-1 at
Sampdoria on Saturday as the Serie A leaders failed to prove
they can prosper even when Zlatan Ibrahimovic does not score.
The Swede, who has netted decisive goals in their last four
straight wins in all competitions, set up Robinho for the 43rd
minute opener but was otherwise slightly subdued. Giampaolo Pazzini then equalised early in the second half.
Juventus missed the chance to move level with Lazio when
their good recent form ended in a 1-1 home draw with Fiorentina.
Juve's Simone Pepe netted seven minutes from time with a
free-kick out wide which goalkeeper Artur Boruc misjudged.
Fiorentina had taken an early lead when Juan Vargas's shot
deflected in off Marco Motta but they were hanging on at the end
following Felipe's red card for a bad tackle on Milos Krasic..
A Fiorentina fan was taken to hospital as a precaution after
a cherry bomb, ubiquitous in Serie A, landed in the away
Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said the trip to Genoa
could be his side's toughest away game yet this term and he was
right given the application Samp showed, although his decision
to introduce the creative Ronaldinho only late on was curious.
The fact Ibrahimovic did not get a sniff at goal was the
other major factor for the draw and their over-reliance on the
ex-Inter man is partly why Allegri has called for a new striker
in January after injuries to Filippo Inzaghi and Alexandre Pato.
The Swede still played a role, though, working a nice
one-two with Robinho for the Brazilian to smash home.
"It was a good pass from Ibra... and I finished if off well.
We've played pretty good," Robinho told Sky after his fourth
Serie A goal since an August move from Manchester City.
The inconsistent forward, who kept compatriot Ronaldinho on
the bench for the sixth game in a row, also went close with
three efforts from distance while Clarence Seedorf missed a
great chance with 15 minutes to go.
Samp had already levelled by then when Pazzini, hat-trick
hero in last weekend's win at Lecce, hooked in after Daniele
Gastadello had headed a corner into his path.
Milan keeper Christian Abbiati also made an excellent save
from Samp substitute Nicola Pozzi's header as the hosts again
made light of Antonio Cassano's absence having suffered in front
of goal immediately after his suspension last month.
Cassano has been dropped by Samp for verbally abusing the
club president and an arbitration hearing next Friday will start
deciding whether the Italy forward has breached his contract and
is therefore a free agent.
Milan have so far shown no interest in his tricky services
despite Allegri's appeal with injury-hit champions Inter Milan reported
to be more inclined at a bid.
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