Napoli’s hopes of catching Serie A leaders Juventus suffered a dent after drawing a blank at top-four rivals AC Milan.
Returning to the San Siro exactly one month after defender Kalidou Koulibaly was the subject of alleged racist chanting in a 1-0 defeat at Inter Milan, Napoli this time settled for a goalless draw.
Jose Callejon clipping the crossbar was the closest Napoli came to a breakthrough, although both goalkeepers were pressed into action on multiple occasions in a see-saw encounter.
Napoli closed the gap on Juventus to eight points, but the Turin giants could further their lead into double digits when they travel to Lazio on Sunday.
To compound the Partenopei’s disappointment, Fabian Ruiz was given his marching orders deep into time added-on after receiving a second yellow card.
Fabio Quagliarella’s penalty double helped Sampdoria thrash Udinese 4-0.
Quagliarella struck from the spot in either half before Karol Linetty and substitute Manolo Gabbiadini added gloss to the scoreline as Samp moved up to sixth in the standings.
Sassuolo are up to ninth as goals from Manuel Locatelli and substitute Alessandro Matri either side of Khouma El Babacar’s spot-kick sealed a convincing 3-0 victory over Cagliari.
Still unbeaten 19 games into the league campaign, the ‘Old Lady’ headed into the weekend’s fixtures nine points clear of second place Napoli and are firmly on course to clinch an eighth successive Serie A title.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side visited Chievo on the opening day of the current Serie A season and came from behind to win 3-2 – Federico Bernardeschi scoring the winner deep into stoppage time.
Chievo currently sit bottom of the table, but have lost only one of their seven league games under new coach Domenico di Carlo
And this turn around in form culminated in the ‘Flying Donkeys’ picking up their first win of the league campaign in their previous game, beating fellow strugglers Frosinone 1-0.
AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso claims he has now made peace with Gonzalo Higuain’s potential departure to Chelsea.
Higuain has been linked with a move to the Blues and is expected to make the move to West London later this week.
The 31-year-old was left on the bench for Milan’s Supercoppa Italiana defeat to Juventus in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Gattuso understands the Argentine has to make a professional decision and maintained he will always have respect for the forward.
“There is still nothing done or finalised but Sunday’s training session was one of the worst since I have been here,” he said.
“The team is worried and anxious and the training was not the best. I spoke in my office with Higuain and it is right to leave him out.
“Higuain wasn’t ready to travel with us at this time and we lost an important player who had some difficulties,” Gattuso acknowledged.
“If he does leave, I’m not disappointed. I was a player and I know what happens when you sometimes have people pressing all around you.
“He’s behaved very well with me. It is okay. I accept his decision and retain my respect for him.”