Early Serie A pacesetters AC Milan and Juventus FC were both held to draws today as S.S. Lazio and Parma AC showed they remain sides to be reckoned with despite the sale of key players.
Juventus had trailed Parma by two goals until the 87th minute but an Igor Tudor header and then a goal from Alessandro Del Piero in the fifth minute of added time earned them a point. In Rome, Milan took an early lead through a Paolo Maldini header, his second goal in successive weeks, but had to settle for a share of the points after Claudio López equalised six minutes into the second half.
Japanese international Hidetoshi Nakata put impressive Parma ahead in the 66th minute with a close-range finish and the away side doubled their lead nine minutes from time when Adrian Mutu broke down the right flank and Adriano converted the Romanian's low cross.
Marcello Lippi's side began their comeback when Igor Tudor headed in a Del Piero corner three minutes from the end of normal time. Parma then had midfield player Sabri Lamouchi sent off for his part in a scuffle as Juve tried to retrieve the ball from the net in order to swiftly restart.
Del Piero had the final say, though, when he turned defender Matteo Ferrari before skipping past Parma goalkeeper Sébastien Frey and slotting into an unguarded net. The Parma players claimed Del Piero had handled the ball as he brought a high pass under control and there were angry scenes at the end of the game.
At the Stadio Olimpico, Lazio fans watched their former captain Alessandro Nesta take the field against them for the first time wearing a Milan shirt. But Lazio soon had other matters to worry about as Maldini rose superbly to head a Rivaldo free-kick past Angelo Peruzzi to put the visitors ahead in the seventh minute.
Roberto Mancini's side must have wondered what would be in store for them after Milan's stunning 4-0 UEFA Champions League win at RC Deportivo La Coruña in midweek but they showed great spirit to take control of the game. Jaap Stam was desperately unlucky with a superbly struck free-kick which flew out off the post and Simone Inzaghi, lining up against his brother Filippo, wasted a good chance from close range.
Abrosini sent off
Six minutes after the restart Lazio's efforts were rewarded when Lopez fired home after some neat work from Dejan Stankovic. Milan continued to threaten and Massimo Ambrosini forced a superb save out of Peruzzi with a powerful header. Ambrosini was sent off in the final seconds for a late challenge but Milan survived added time with ten men and maintain their place at the top of Serie A with seven points from three games.
©Reuters 1998-2010. All rights reserved.