Zlatan Ibrahimovic snatched a late point for AC Milan in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Udinese which gives the Serie A leaders’ title rivals a chance to steal top spot, while Juventus drew 1-1 at Venezia to slip up in the Champions League race.
Ibrahimovic struck with an acrobatic effort in the 92nd minute to claim a point for the Rossoneri but Inter Milan, who are two points behind their local rivals in second, will end the weekend in first place if they beat struggling Cagliari at the San Siro on Sunday.
Napoli are a further point back and can move level on 39 with Milan before Inter kick off with a win over Empoli in Naples, with some of their key players including Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Lorenzo Insigne back in the squad.
Also waiting in the wings are Atalanta, who sit fourth but are only five points behind Milan ahead of their trip to Verona on Sunday afternoon.
Milan are in the midst of a injury crisis, with starting centre-back Simon Kjaer out long-term and forwards Olivier Giroud, Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic all sidelined, and it was another low-key display after being dumped out of Europe by Liverpool midweek.
“The boys know they aren’t playing to the best of their abilities,” said Milan coach Stefano Pioli.
“We need to do better and I’m convinced we will because we have ambition and the ability to both understand our mistakes and work on them.”
Beto put the hosts ahead 16 minutes into Gabriele Cioffi’s first match as Udinese’s caretaker boss when he whacked home on the rebound after Mike Maignan had saved his first effort when clean through on goal.
Beto could easily have sealed the points for Udinese in the closing stages when he slipped a close-range finish just wide, and Ibrahimovic got something from the game for his underwhelming team when he took Daniel Maldini’s knockdown and thrashed home a barely deserved leveller.
Mattia Aramu earned promoted Venezia an excellent point against Juve with a curling low drive nine minutes after half-time.
The 26-year-old’s fifth goal of the season, which equalised Alvaro Morata’s 32nd-minute opener, moved Venezia six points away from the relegation zone.
Juve meanwhile are sixth after being leapfrogged by Fiorentina — 4-0 winners over Salernitana earlier in the day — and are six points behind Atalanta, who sit in the final Champions League spot.
Matters were made worse for Juve by the early loss of Paulo Dybala to injury, the latest of a series of niggling problems for the Argentine.
The 28-year-old, who was substituted at half-time of Juve’s 1-0 win over Malmo on Wednesday, limped off the field in the 12th minute and after being replaced by Kaio Jorge was seen with a bandage around his right knee.
“I’m worried, we risked it a bit,” said Allegri to DAZN.
“On Wednesday he left the field with a light muscle problem. We thought he was OK but instead that wasn’t the case.”
Vlahovic strikes again
Dusan Vlahovic is two goals clear at the top of the scoring charts in Italy after taking his tally this season to 15 with a brace against Salernitana.
Serbia forward Vlahovic lashed home Fiorentina’s second five minutes after half-time and tapped in Riccardo Sottil’s low cross six minutes from the end in a thumping win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in which Giacomo Bonaventura and Youssef Maleh scored the other goals.
Vlahovic, 21, has now scored 32 Serie A goals in 2021 and is leading Fiorentina to what looks to be their best season in years.
“Dusan is good, he needs to keep that hunger he has, he needs to keep training as he is… he has a tremendous future in front of him,” said Fiorentina teammate Jose Callejon to DAZN.
He had been barracked by supporters earlier in the season after refusing to sign an extension to his current contract which expires in the summer of 2023 but seven goals in his last five matches have brought the crowd in Florence back on his side.