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Spezia rally to stun AC Milan in Serie A amid controversy

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Rome, Jan 18 (IANS) AC Milan squandered a one-goal lead to be upset by Spezia 2-1 in a controversial game at San Siro here. Milan had claimed three consecutive league wins before Monday’s game, and a win would have lifted them to the top place.

The home side was utterly dominant in the first half, as Rafael Leao was active and won a penalty in the 43rd minute for Milan, but Theo Hernandez scuffed it wide.

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Leao kept wreaking havoc and finally found the back of the net on the stroke of halftime when Rade Krunic’s long pass found the Portuguese, who outpaced the defender to loop over an on-rushing goalkeeper.

Spezia pulled back on level terms in the 63rd minute as Daniele Verde rolled across from the left and Kevin Agudelo tapped it in undisturbed.

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The game culminated in stoppages time, Milan’s winger Junior Messias thought he had scored the winner, but the referee Marco Serra blew the whistle before the Brazilian hit the ball, instead he awarded Milan a free-kick following a foul on Ante Rebic.

It sparked controversy as Milan players thought the referee should allow them to play with advantage, rather than halt the game, Xinhua reports. With Milan still smarting from the decision, Spezia scored the last-gasp winner in the dying seconds through a counter-attack, when Emmanuel Gyasi finished with a daisy-cutter from a close range.

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With the setback, AC Milan still sit second with 48 points, two behind Inter Milan who have a game in hand.

Also on January 16, Napoli dominated Bologna 2-0 on Hirving Lozano’s double; Fiorentina registered a comfortable 6-0 victory over relegation battlers Genoa who just sacked coach Andriy Shevchenko.

–IANS

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