Napoli 1-1 SPAL: Carlo Ancelotti warns of ‘major challenge’ as lowly SPAL hit back to stop Serie A hopefuls from closing gap on Juventus and Inter Milan in draw at Stadio Paolo Mazza
- Napoli shared a 1-1 Serie A draw with second-bottom home side SPAL on Sunday
- Arkadiusz Milik gave the visitors the lead but SPAL hit back seven minutes later
- Jasmin Kurtic’s equaliser meant Napoli remained six points behind Juventus
- Defender Kevin Malcuit exited the action in tears after suffering a knee injury
Napoli remained six points behind leaders Juventus and spurned the chance to capitalise on draws for the top two in Serie A with a 1-1 draw at second-bottom SPAL on Sunday.
Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik scored his third goal in two league matches with a powerful ninth-minute drive to put his side ahead, only for midfielder Jasmin Kurtic to strike back for SPAL just seven minutes later.
Napoli knew they could make up ground on second-placed Inter Milan, who needed a Romelu Lukaku equaliser to draw 2-2 at home to Parma, and Juventus, who were held to a 1-1 draw at Lecce, but finished their afternoon crestfallen after being frustrated by their lowly hosts.
Carlo Ancelotti was in no mood to dwell on the result after Napoli drew 1-1 with SPAL in Serie A
Arkadiusz Milik, who scored both goals in a 2-0 home win over Verona last week, hit the opener
Napoli’s joy was short-lived as SPAL, who are second-bottom, replied just seven minutes later
Belgium midfielder Dries Mertens was awarded a penalty eight minutes before half-time when he appeared to have been impeded by SPAL defender Francesco Vicari, but a VAR review overturned the decision.
Vicari then almost put SPAL ahead when he drew a fine save from former Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina after the break, sparking a double change from unimpressed Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti.
One of his substitutions came close to paying dividends as newly-introduced midfielder Fabian Ruiz struck the woodwork, but Fernando Llorente had the best chance of the half, sending a close-range header over the bar seconds before the final whistle.
SPAL goalkeeper Etrit Berisha also saved twice from Milik to leave Napoli fourth in the table, three points behind third-placed Atalanta, whose 7-1 comeback win at home to Udinese was the result of the weekend.
Slovenia midfielder Jasmin Kurtic struck back with the goal that secured a point for the visitors
SPAL had won two of their previous three matches at home, seeing off Lazio 2-1 and Parma 1-0
The home fans were much the happier at the end of a game in which Napoli hit the post late on
Ancelotti rued his side’s lack of luck ahead of a week in which they will face Atalanta and Roma
Napoli’s discontent was compounded by an injury to full-back Kevin Malcuit, who left the field in…