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Ivory Coast star inspires Milan comeback, Juventus slip up

Franck Kessie scored for the third consecutive Serie A game.

Franck Kessie celebrates.
Franck Kessie celebrates.
Image: Spada/Lapresse

Updated at 23.55

FRANCK KESSIE scored for the third consecutive Serie A game as AC Milan boosted their Europa League hopes with a 3-1 comeback win over Parma on Wednesday to move equal on points with sixth-placed Napoli who were held 1-1 at Bologna, while Juventus drew 3-3 at Sassuolo.

Stefano Pioli’s Milan are unbeaten in seven league games since Serie A returned after the coronavirus pandemic.

And goals from Kessie, Alessio Romagnoli and Hakan Calhanoglu sealed the three points against 12th-placed Parma who had taken the lead thanks to a Jasmin Kurtic goal just before the break in the San Siro.

Ivory Coast’s Kessie rifled in the equaliser after 55 minutes with captain Romagnoli getting his head to a Calhanoglu free kick four minutes later.

The Turkish international added a third on 77 minutes off a Giacomo Bonaventura cross.

Milan move equal on 53 points with Napoli, who are ahead on goal difference.

“Franck and I had some relationship difficulties at the beginning, once we understood each other better he is proving to be a very high level player, and he is having incredible performances,” said Pioli.

“(Zlatan) Ibrahimovic has helped us a lot he is proving to be a point of reference.”

Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli are already assured of a place in the Europa League thanks to their Italian Cup victory. 

But Gattuso conceded he was worried ahead of the Champions League last eight clash against Barcelona after letting their early lead slip.

Kostas Manolas’ diving header off a Matteo Politano corner put the visitors ahead after just seven minutes.

Musa Barrow grabbed the equaliser ten minutes from time for the hosts who are in tenth position.

“We earned this point,” said Gattuso.

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“We struggled in the second half.”

“We have to play to prepare for Barcelona and with performances like this we will not go anywhere.”

Sampdoria moved further away from the relegation zone with Federico Bonazzoli scoring a brace in a 3-0 win over 11th-placed Cagliari.

Serie A leaders Juventus continued to stutter towards a ninth straight league title as they threw away a two-goal lead before settling for a thrilling 3-3 draw.

Juventus are seven points ahead of Atalanta, who thrashed Brescia 6-2 on Tuesday, with five games left to play after their winless run was extended to three matches.

Juventus were two goals up within 12 minutes thanks to Brazil’s Danilo and Gonzalo Higuain.

But Filip Djuricic pulled one back for the hosts just before the half-hour mark with Domenico Berardi curling in a free-kick on 50 minutes and Francesco Caputo blasting in a third four minutes later.

Alex Sandro headed Juventus level on 64 minutes, but the champions had goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to thank for securing a point as the Pole pulled off a string of late saves.

Lazio missed the chance to retake second and cut the gap to Juve to six points with a goalless draw against Udinese and are one point behind Atalanta in third.

Juventus lost 4-2 to AC Milan and needed a 90th-minute Cristiano Ronaldo penalty to snatch a 2-2 draw with Atalanta in their previous two games.

The Turin giants next host Lazio on Monday.

© – AFP, 2020 

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