Despite fighting hard with a man less, Napoli could only pull one goal back.
Milan held on despite a late onslaught by 10-man Napoli to earn a 2-1 victory from their Serie A encounter at the San Paolo.
Robinho’s left-footed strike and a Zlatan Ibrahimovic header had put the Rossoneri in control either side of Michele Pazienza’s senseless red card for two handball offences. But Ezequiel Lavezzi’s wonder goal gave the Vesuviani hope and the visitors were left hanging on at the end.
Milan suffered a blow early on when they lost Luca Antonini to a nasty looking head injury. The full-back clashed heads with Napoli wing-back Christian Maggio and was stretchered off with a neck brace being worn for support. Maggio would also leave the field due to the effects of the incident, but not before Milan had taken the lead.
Robinho led a Rossoneri attack down the right channel before feeding substitute Massimo Oddo down the right, and when the full-back cut the ball back Robinho was able to scuff a effort off the far post and beyond Morgan De Sanctis.
It was a deserved goal for the visitors, but Napoli immediately started to come into the game. Marek Hamsik had their best chance but failed to convert Lavezzi’s cross at the near post. Soon after Pazienza picked up a yellow card for attempting to meet a cross with his hand. And in first half stoppage time he repeated the offence to earn possibly the most silliest red card of 2010.
The disadvantage in numbers meant left the home side with a mountain to climb in the second half, but they fought gamely nonetheless. However, it was Milan who were to add to the scoresheet next.
Oddo again was responsible for the final pass as his cross from the right was inch perfect for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to head past De Sanctis.
The game appeared over on the scoreboard if not on the pattern of play as the Partenopei continued to press in search of a way back in, and it eventually came, gloriously from Lavezzi.
Having had a match-long tussle with Sokratis Papastathopoulos, the Argentine again tangled with his marker and found himself on the ground nine yards from goal. Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati saw a chance to come and collect the ball, but he bargained without the genius reactions of Lavezzi, who sprung to his feet and immediately chipped the onrushing 'keeper and saw the ball go in off the underside of the bar.
Despite the majesty of the goal, the Azzurri were unable to complete a second successive San Paolo comeback against Milan as the visitors held on to go second in the table, two points behind leaders Lazio.Click here to follow the Goal.com Twitter feed and join Goal.com USA's Facebook fan page!