AC Milan held to draw at Catania
Mar 31, 2012, 21:19 GMT
Rome - Serie A leaders AC Milan drew 1-1 at in-form Catania on Saturday for a five-point lead over title rivals Juventus.
Catania had Argentine defender Nicolas Spolli on target to cancel out Milan's opener from Brazilian Robinho.
Unbeaten Juventus can move within two points with eight games left by securing a home victory against Napoli on Sunday night.
Seemingly fatigued after a scoreless Champions League draw with Barcelona in mid-week, the Devils were on the ropes in the early minutes against the dynamic hosts, who came close when Gonzalo Bergessio fired wide after storming on the right flank.
Urby Emanuelson had Milan's first chance on eight minutes, but fired onto Juan Carrizo from close range after being set up by Antonio Nocerino.
The Argentine custodian also stopped Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but was beaten in the 34th when the Swede controlled a difficult ball and set up Robinho for a low shot by the left post.
A prompt reply came four minutes later from a long-range drive that Alejandro Gomez fired against the bar as the hosts kept pressing with a break from Pablo Barrientos before Francesco Lodi aimed a wide drive.
Milan conceded a 57th-minute equalizer when Spolli flicked home in a corner-kick scramble off a header from Nicola Legrottaglie.
A draw seemed not enough for the hosts, who, however, ran a major risk when Robinho burst past Carrizo only to see Giovanni Marchese clear on the goal line in the 64th.
More difficult saves awaited the inspired Carrizo to grab a header from Philippe Mexes before late deflections on a classy lob and a break from Ibrahimovic.
'Unfortunately in the second half we were too weak and wasted some balls,' Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said.
'The pitch was slow, with high grass, but we gave up too early, maybe because of Wednesday game with Barcelona and because Catania were more aggressive.
'Later in the second half we improved, but unfortunately we did not manage to win.'
In late Saturday action, third-place Lazio crashed 3-1 at lowly Parma.
Udinese, playing late Sunday at Siena, and Napoli look to draw level with the Rome side in the race for a Champions League group stage playoff berth.
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