MILAN, Italy — Mario Balotelli earned and converted a late penalty as AC Milan drew 1-1 at 10-man Cagliari in Serie A on Sunday.
The Italy striker stepped up to score his third goal in two games for Milan, following his move from Manchester City. Two of his goals have come from penalties, with Balotelli scoring the winner from the spot in stoppage time against Udinese.
Cagliari took the lead just before halftime when Victor Ibarbo got between two Milan defenders to head home Daniele Conti’s free kick.
Milan levelled 10 minutes from time when Davide Astori wrestled Balotelli to the ground in the area. Astori was dismissed for his second yellow card of the match.
"It was a hard-fought game and in the first half the team held out well, but we conceded that Ibarbo goal right before the break," Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "In the second half we started playing again and after the penalty had chances to win it. Unfortunately we were out of time and weren’t sharp enough.
"We come away from Sardinia with a deserved point against a good Cagliari side."
Milan slipped to fifth place, two points behind Inter Milan, which beat Chievo Verona 3-1.
Inter had won only once in its past seven league matches but got off to a perfect start when Antonio Cassano scored after just 95 seconds. Luca Rigoni headed in the equalizer, but goals from Diego Milito and Andrea Ranocchia secured the win.
Inter is a point behind third-place Lazio, with Napoli six points further ahead. Defending champion Juventus has a five-point advantage at the top of the table.
"We showed that we were angry after our last match (a loss to struggling Siena) and at the end it was a really pleasing performance," Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni said. "The spirit of the squad is the sign that I wanted and I saw that. We played like a real Inter side."
There was more bad news for Roma, which lost 3-1 at Sampdoria in Aurelio Andreazzoli’s first match in charge, after he replaced Zdenek Zeman on an interim basis.
Andreazzoli brought Daniele De Rossi and Maarten Stekelenburg back to the starting lineup and Roma thought it had taken the lead early in the second half but Erik Lamela’s strike was ruled out for offside.
Instead it was Sampdoria which broke the deadlock with an angled drive from Marcelo Estigarribia in the 56th.
Roma should have equalized when it was awarded a penalty after Daniele Gastaldello brought down Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, who snatched the ball out of Francesco Totti’s hands to take the spot kick much to the Roma captain’s displeasure.
Osvaldo stuttered as he ran up and lifted a weak effort straight into Sergio Romero’s hands.
It only got worse for Roma as Samp substitute Gianluca Sansone doubled his team’s lead shortly afterward with a free kick into the top corner.
Lamela pulled one back for Roma two minutes later but their hopes were swiftly dashed as an unmarked Mauro Icardi headed in Samp’s third.
"I wanted to take the responsibility of the penalty so I could help the team," Osvaldo said. "I felt ready to take it. This has been a difficult week for everyone, I am very disappointed, but we have to look forward. Now everyone will turn their backs on me, but I go forward."
Alberto Malesani enjoyed a better coaching debut at bottom club Palermo as it drew 1-1 at home to Pescara.
Pescara took the lead when substitute Birkir Bjarnason nodded in Gaetano D’Agostino’s free kick in the 73rd but Diego Fabbrini drilled in the equalizer seven minutes later.
Palermo remains level on points with Siena after the Tuscan side drew 1-1 at Bologna. Siena, which stunned Inter 3-1, took the lead through Innocent Emeghara, who had scored on his Serie A debut last weekend.
Bologna levelled when Panagiotis Kone — who had hit the post in the opening minute — tapped in from close range four minuted from halftime.
Udinese beat Torino 1-0 thanks to a seventh-minute strike from Roberto Pereyra. Torino’s Maicosuel also hit the post.
Atalanta drew 0-0 against Catania, while Parma was also held to a scoreless draw at home to relegation-threatened Genoa, with the visitors rattling the woodwork twice
Genoa, which has undergone a revival under Davide Ballardini, had the better of the chances, with Andrea Bertolacci particularly dangerous.
Bertolacci forced two good saves out of Parma goalkeeper Nicola Pavarini in the first half, and hit the woodwork twice in quick succession after the interval.
Marco Borriello could also have scored for Genoa in first-half stoppage time but blasted over from nine yards out.
Since Ballardini’s appointment, Genoa has drawn with Serie A leader Juventus and beaten title-chasing Lazio.
Genoa won only two of its 13 games under previous coach Luigi Del Neri, losing nine.