sunday review

Serie A: Lucky penalty helps Milan close gap

November 16, 2008

Kaka scored a contested penalty to help AC Milan cut the gap on Serie A leaders Inter Milan to a point with a 1-0 home win over lowly Chievo on Sunday.

The Brazilian playmaker netted after appearing to be tripped just outside the box by Simone Bentivoglio on 15 minutes.

Napoli also scored thanks to a dubious spotkick but failed to join Milan on 26 points after two late goals gave Atalanta a 3-1 home win in an incident-packed match in Bergamo.

Champions Inter won 2-0 at Palermo on Saturday thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's superb double while Juventus, now third on 24 points from 12 games, beat Genoa 4-1 on Thursday.

Fifth-placed Lazio missed the chance to move above Juve when they lost 1-0 to struggling AS Roma in a lively Rome derby.

Julio Baptista headed home Francesco Totti's cross on 50 minutes to give Roma only their third league win this term and put last season's runners-up three clear of the drop zone with a game in hand.

Lazio had several opportunities during the late match and were close to equalising despite having Cristian Ledesma dismissed for two yellows 20 minutes into the second half. Roma's Simone Perrotta also received a second booking late on.

EXCELLENT DISPLAY

Milan drew 1-1 at Lecce last weekend after conceding in stoppage time and they risked a similar outcome at the San Siro by failing to find a second goal to kill off a plucky Chievo.

Carlo Ancelotti's side just about edged the game with Alexandre Pato and Marek Jankulovski going close to doubling their lead late on.

"It was a foul, but only the video replay can establish if it was in our out, while the human eye cannot," Ancelotti told reporters when asked about Kaka's penalty.

"On the pitch we always suffer, maybe we defended a bit too deep."

Chievo's defeat in Domenico Di Carlo's second game in charge sent them to the bottom after struggling Reggina produced an excellent display to win 1-0 at sixth-placed Udinese.

Franco Brienza volleyed in a ball which dropped quickly over his head to seal a deserved victory over an off-colour Udinese, who badly missed top striker Antonio Di Natale.

Fiorentina also lost ground with the leading pack after another debatable penalty handed Cagliari a 1-0 home win over Cesare Prandelli's side.