Napoli draws at Sassuolo, Milan beats Genoa to close gap

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his side's opening goal during the Serie A match against Genoa at the Genoa Luigi Ferraris stadium, Italy on Wednesday. (AP)

MILAN — Junior Messias continued his scoring form by netting twice for AC Milan to help the Rossoneri get back on track in the league with a 3-0 win at relegation-threatened Genoa on Wednesday.

Messias even overshadowed Zlatan Ibrahimović, who scored Milan’s opener.

Milan moved a point below Serie A leader Napoli, which let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Sassuolo.

After losing back-to-back league matches, AC Milan got off to a poor start as Simon Kjær was injured almost immediately and had to be taken off on a stretcher in the third minute with a knee injury.

But Ibrahimović curled in a free kick in the 10th minute for his sixth goal in nine league matches.

Messias had scored his first goal for Milan last week in the Champions League to secure a 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid. And he opened his league account with the Rossoneri in first-half stoppage time with a looping header.

The Brazilian, who began his professional career only a few years ago, scored his third goal in a week in the 61st with an angled drive into the bottom left corner.

DISALLOWED WINNER

After leading 2-0, Napoli nearly had to return home without even a point.

Gregoire Defrel celebrated wildly after thinking he had scored a stoppage-time winner for Sassuolo but it was disallowed on video review for a foul by Domenico Berardi in the buildup.

Napoli took the lead with goals from Fabian Ruiz and Dries Mertens. But Gianluca Scamacca pulled one back for the home side and Gian Marco Ferrari leveled in the final minute.

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti was sent off for dissent immediately after the equalizer.

PRESSURE ON

Lautaro Martinez scored one goal and set up another as Inter Milan beat Spezia 2-0 to close the gap on Napoli.

Martinez assisted on Roberto Gagliardini’s opening goal in the first half and then converted a penalty after the break as the defending champion moved to within two points of the lead.

Inter took the lead with a delightful team move in the 38th minute. Following a series of passes, Danilo D’Ambrosio rolled across from the right for Martinez to backheel into the path of Gagliardini, who swept it into the bottom left corner.

Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanović kept his side in front by keeping out Kelvin Amian’s header shortly before halftime.

Joaquin Correa saw an effort come off the underside of the crossbar for Inter early in the second half but the Nerazzurri doubled the lead in the 58th when they were awarded a penalty for a handball by Spezia defender Jakub Kiwior. Martinez slotted it into the bottom left corner.

Inter next faces Roma and former coach Jose Mourinho. Roma lost 1-0 at Bologna.

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