Simeone scores again as Napoli defeat Milan to go top of Serie A
- AC Milan hosted Napoli in a tough Serie A fixture on Sunday evening at San Siro
- Both teams were unbeaten prior to the clash and it was an interesting fixture in the race for scudetto this season
- Giovanni Simeone was on target once again as Napoli handed Milan their first loss of the campaign
Napoli went back to the top of Serie A as Giovanni Simeone’s 78th-minute header sealed a 2-1 win over the prior unbeaten Milan at San Siro on Sunday.
Milan had 11 shots compared to Napoli’s only three in a dominant first half, but the visitors went ahead shortly after the break when Matteo Politano stroked home from 12 yards following Sergino Dest’s clumsy foul on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
On form striker Olivier Giroud pulled Milan level in the 69th minute, but substitute Simeone fired in the winner to seal a huge victory for Luciano Spalletti’s side, who remain unbeaten in the league this season.
The result means Napoli went past Udinese and Atalanta at the top of the table, while Milan dropped down to fifth after a first Serie A defeat in 23 games.
Milan started strongly and were denied a 13th-minute lead when Giroud’s strike from 12 yards was superbly tipped onto the crossbar by Alex Meret.
The Napoli goalkeeper was called into action again shortly before the half-hour mark when he pushed over Rade Krunic’s header from a corner.
Napoli offered very small attacking threat in the first half, yet they went ahead 10 minutes after the interval when Politano scored from the spot after substitute Dest had fouled Kvaratskhelia – the decision given after referee Maurizio Mariani was told to check the pitch-side monitor by VAR.
Meret denied Junior Messias soon after, before Giroud pulled Milan level with a simple finish from eight yards after fine work down the left by Theo Hernandez.
Their joy was short-lived, however, as Simeone stole into the area to glance home Mario Rui’s cross from the left wing.
Milan should have snatched a point with four minutes remaining, yet substitute Pierre Kalulu inexplicably crashed against the crossbar with only Meret to beat from eight yards.
Milan have now lost their past three home league games against Napoli – the first time this has happened since 1979.
Napoli, meanwhile, have now picked up 10 points from their first four Serie A matches this season. They are unbeaten in the first four away games in an Italian top-flight season for the third campaign in a row – something they have never achieved before.
Politano’s penalty was hardly sweetly struck but it still had enough on it to beat Mike Maignan. It was the Italy international’s fourth goal against Milan – he has not scored more against any other side in Serie A.
Kalulu had the chance to salvage a point for Milan in the dying stages, but the 22-year-old defender got well under his close-range effort and could only watch on as it cannoned back off the crossbar.
The international break is next then after that, Milan will be away to Empoli , while Napoli host Torino.