Serie A: Napoli held by Sassuolo while AC Milan thrash Genoa 3-0

Fabian Ruiz broke the deadlock for Napoli early in the second half before Dries Mertens doubled the lead and then Sassuolo leveled the score through goals from Gianluca Scamacca and Gian Marco Ferrari.

AC Milan beat Genoa 3-0 in the Serie A fixture on Wednesday; Credit: Twitter/@acmilan

Serie A leaders Napoli were held to a 2-2 draw by Sassuolo in Reggio Emilia on Wednesday. Meanwhile second placed AC Milan thrashed Genoa 3-0 to close the gap to just one point. After a goalless first half, Fabian Ruiz broke the deadlock for Napoli early in the second half. Dries Mertens doubled the lead just before the hour-mark. Although the visitors looked in control, Sassuolo pulled one back through Gianluca Scamacca before Gian Marco Ferrari scored a late equalizer to share points. 

Napoli came into the match having a three point lead at the top of the table after hammering Lazio 4-0 in the previous match. Meanwhile Sassuolo had defeated AC Milan 3-1 in their last match. The visitors started the match positively and Piotr Zielinski had the ball inside the net, but only after play was stopped for a Stanislav Lobotka handling offence.

Ruiz sent in a deep cross from the left side, which was headed back towards Zielinski by Giovani De Lorenzo, but the pole blasted it over the crossbar from close range. Lorenzo Insigne dribbled into the box and tested home goalkeeper Andrea Consigli.

At the other end, Gianluca Scamacca and Ferrari didn’t generate enough power on their shots to test Napoli goalkeeper David ospina. Meanwhile at the break, Insigne went off with a calf problem.

Napoli broke the deadlock, six minutes after restart. Ferrari lost the ball just outside his area because of high pressing from Mertens. Zielinski cut the ball back from the right to Ruiz on the edge of the box. The Spanish midfielder slotted the ball in with a low drive. Eight minutes later, they scored their second of the night through a well worked team move.

Zielinski delicately played a floating ball towards Mertens inside the box, who then fired into the roof of the net from seven yards. However the hosts halved the deficit 19 minutes from time. Kyrkiakopoulos’ cross from the left flank found Scamacca inside the box. The 22-year-old striker controlled the ball on his chest before smashing it past Ospina and into the top corner with a right-footed volley from 12 yards.

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly also went off with a groin issue before head coach Luciano Spalletti was sent off for a dissent. And then, a minute before time, Sassuolo equalized through Ferrari’s header. The central defender rose above everyone to head home from Berardi’s free-kick.

Junir Messias scored a brace

Elsewhere, Junior Messias scored a brace in Milan’s convincing victory over Genoa. Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring for Milan in the 20th minute at Luigi Ferraris. The 40-year-old Swede scored off a brilliant free-kick from 20 metres that curled around the wall and into the near post.

Milan doubled the lead on the stroke of half time, Brahim Diaz’ shot from inside the box deflected off the defender and fell to Messias, who headed the ball over the Genoa goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu and into the far corner. It was the Brazilian’s second goal for Milan.

Messias scored his second of the night just after the hour mark. Left-back Theo Hernandez dribbled forward before cutting the ball back for Diaz inside the box, the Spanish footballer laid it to Messias, who slotted the ball in with an angled left-footed drive that ended up at the far bottom corner.

Sportslumo Desk

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