The Rossoneri's talismanic Swedish striker was dismissed for sneakily slapping Salvatore Aronica during the second half of an otherwise disappointingly uneventful encounter
Just when it appeared that the Rossoneri appeared capable of making the breakthrough at San Siro, the Sweden international was dismissed for a petulant slap on Salvatore Aronica.
The hosts threatened on the break thereafter but they were forced to settle for a point by a resolute Napoli side.
When these two sides met at the same venue last season, Napoli failed to register a single shot on goal over the course of the 90 minutes. However, they posed a constant threat this time around.
Indeed, while Milan as expected dominated possession for the majority of the game, it was the Partenopei who looked the more likely to open the scoring during a dire opening period.
Marek Hamsik stung the hands of Christian Abbiati with a powerful strike from distance after being allowed to advance by a lethargic Mark van Bommel, while Ezequiel Lavezzi dragged a shot wide after Philippe Mexes and Ignazio Abate had both failed to cut out Christian Maggio’s cross from the right wing.
Milan, meanwhile, huffed and puffed during the first half but while Urby Emanuelson went close with a half-volley on 28 minutes, the Rossoneri struggled to get in behind the Napoli defence and were left restricted to taking pot shots from distance.
Indeed, Ibrahimovic cut an increasingly disillusioned figure as the half wore on and he took his frustration out on Emanuelson just before the break when the Dutchman failed to provide a decent delivery into the box after finding himself in some space on the right-hand side of the area.
The hosts were forced to replace the injured Abbiati with reserve goalkeeper Marco Amelia during the break but it was clear that Milan’s problems were at the other end of the field.
However, they should have taken the lead five minutes into the second half when Ibrahimovic allowed the ball to run through for Robinho but the Brazilian fired wide from just inside the area with just Morgan De Sanctis to beat.
Seedorf then headed straight at the Napoli goalkeeper after Antonio Nocerino had stood the ball up for him wonderfully well before Ibrahimovic saw his side-footed effort from the edge of the area tipped around the post.
But just when it appeared that Milan were building some momentum, their talismanic Swedish striker was dismissed for sneakily slapping Aronica while pretending to break up a dispute between his team-mate and the Napoli centre-half.
It very nearly got even worse for the Partenopei on 69 minutes when Ezequiel Lavezzi sent over a terrific cross for Cavani but the Uruguayan headed horribly over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
However, Milan coped quite well with reduced numbers and could even have snatched all three points just before the end but De Sanctis was equal to a well-struck effort from Robinho.
As it was, the Rossoneri claimed a draw which means they remain a solitary point behind leaders Juventus. However, they must now do without Ibrahimovic for their next three league outings, including their meeting with the Bianconeri at San Siro at the end of the month.