AC Milan leave it late to open up lead, Juve held to a draw


MILAN: Italian champions Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw at lowly Atalanta and title challengers Lazio needed a late equaliser as they drew at Chievo in Serie A yesterday. 

Leaders AC Milan took advantage by extending their lead at the top of the table to three points with a 2-1 win over Modena. 

Milan have 42 points with second placed Juventus level on 39 points with Inter Milan who face Torino later yesterday. 

Fourth-placed Lazio are now five points behind the leaders. 

Juventus coach Marcello Lippi fielded an attacking line-up against Atalanta at Bergamo with Marco Di Vaio joining David Trezeguet and Alessandro Del Piero in a three-pronged frontline. 

But it was Atalanta who made the early running and took the lead in the 40th minute with a cool finish from highly-rated youngster Alex Pinardi. 

Juve got back on level terms five minutes after the restart when Di Vaio rose well to head in a corner from Argentine Mauro Camoranesi. 

Juve piled on the pressure but Atalanta keeper Massimo Taibi produced some fine saves to keep his side on level terms. 

Atalanta had playmaker Cristiano Doni sent off eight minutes from the end for a second bookable offence and Juventus could have taken all three points had Uruguayan substitute Marcelo Zalayeta taken advantage of a late chance. 

Juventus, who had used all their substitutes, also ended the game with 10 men after Del Piero was taken off injured. 

Lazio also had to come from behind after Eugenio Corini put Chievo ahead with a twice-taken penalty on the stroke of halftime. 

The penalty, the first given against Lazio this season, was awarded after Chievo striker Federico Cossato was judged to have been brought down inside the area by Lazio defender Paolo Negro. 

It was not until the 88th minute that Roberto Mancini's side got on level terms with a Diego Simeone header after good work from Simone Inzaghi and Stefano Fiore. 

Simeone had only been introduced as a substitute six minutes before his goal but AC Milan's Andrea Pirlo made an even quicker impact at the San Siro. 

Milan had enjoyed plenty of pressure against a resilient Modena but it was not until the 76th minute that they were able to make it count. 

Georgian wing-back Kakha Kaladze was brought down by Modena defender Paolo Ponzo and Pirlo was brought on to take the penalty which he converted. 

Another substitute, Brazilian Rivaldo, made Milan's second with a fine cross which Filippo Inzaghi headed firmly home. 

Modena pulled a goal back in injury time through Massimo Scoponi. – Reuters 

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