Inter Milan failed to cash in on AC Milan’s draw against Udinese on Friday with a goalless draw at Genoa, allowing their local rivals to retain the top spot in Serie A.
Champions Inter would have risen by 57 points with Milan had they beat relegation fighters Genoa, but they were unable to capitalize on long spells of dominance at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris and remain two points clear of the lead.
Napoli can now recapture the top on goal difference with a win over Champions League chasing Lazio on Sunday night before hosting Milan next weekend.
Champions Inter have a game on their hands against the two title contenders but have failed to win their last four league games in a mini slump, also nearly eliminating them from the Champions League by Liverpool.
“No matter what Milan did, two points were lost today,” Inter’s Danilo D’Ambrosio told DAZN.
The Milan giants face each other in the first leg of the Italian Cup semi-final on Tuesday, while Napoli have a whole week to prepare for another big game after a sobering Europa League defeat to Barcelona.
Inter had plenty of chances to take the points on Friday but again failed to find the finishing touch – a common thread in a worrying series of forms for Simone Inzaghi’s side – despite 21 shots against a lively team from Genoa, supported by a passionate home team.
“When you have a lot of opportunities, you have to put the ball in the goal,” added D’Ambrosio.
“But it’s a team game, it’s not just a problem with the attackers, defenders and wingers also had chances to score. We need to be more clinical no matter what position we play in.”
They came closest when D’Ambrosio headed a corner from Hakan Calhanoglu on the crossbar in the 62nd minute, one of several chances of a breathless night that saw the likes of Calhanoglu and Edin Dzeko go wide.
Leo Ostigard was huge in the back for Genoa, who remain in the bottom three after their fifth draw in a row with 17 points, four points away from Venezia, who are just outside the relegation zone.
– Milan’s handball rage –
Stefano Pioli couldn’t believe that Destiny Udogie’s leveler was allowed to stand and Udinese earned their 1-1 draw in Milan.
Udogie himself said after the game that his muffled celebration in scoring his first goal as a professional footballer at the San Siro was of all places because he was “not sure” whether he had played.
And Pioli expressed frustration at the decision after footage showed the Italy Under-21 international touching the ball with his arm.
“That equalizer should have been disallowed, Udogie clearly hits the ball with his arm,” he told DAZN.
“We didn’t play particularly well, but VAR should have seen it, it’s a clear mistake.
“It is not the first time that we have been penalized (by a referee decision). Maybe Udinese would have equalized later, but this is not okay.”
Milan, who also tied at the bottom of Salernitana last week, were disappointing against a team that sat in 14th place and have only won once since the turn of the year.
A quiet first half was only brightened by Rafael Leao’s opener in the 29th minute, which came after the Portugal international beautifully knocked down Sandro Tonali’s clipped pass, restraining Rodrigo Becao before rolling into a calm lock.
Udinese were unhappy with what they believed was a foul by Leao on Becao and after the break the away side came out with the bit between their teeth, Tolgay Arslan was unlucky not to see his low blow slip just past the post on the hour .
Udogie scored the controversial goal that would give Udinese the draw and Maignan had to be at his best deep into stoppage time to prevent Gerard Deulofeu from taking a dramatic victory.