Allegri defiant after Milan's third league defeat

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MILAN (AFP) –

AC Milan's coach Massimiliano Allegri (R) grimaces next to his assistant Mauro Tassotti

AC Milan‘s coach Massimiliano Allegri (R) grimaces next to his assistant Mauro Tassotti during the last minute of the Serie A football match against Udinese at Friuli stadium in Udine. Udinese won 2-1.

Massimiliano Allegri’s tenure as coach of Serie A giants AC Milan came under fresh scrutiny when the Rossoneri suffered their third defeat of the season in a 2-1 reverse away to Udinese on Sunday.

Milan opened their campaign with defeat at home to Sampdoria and have failed to win or score any goals at the San Siro in three attempts including the scoreless draw against Champions League opponents Anderlecht.

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Reports last week suggested only a win on Sunday would save Allegri’s job, but post-match reports citing unnamed sources at Milan suggested the 45-year-old had the support of the club.

Allegri, whose side finished with nine men, told Sky Sport Italia: “It wouldn’t make sense to talk of my dismissal as it’s not my decision.

“I don’t feel guilty, nor am I a victim. We lost, but for me it’s a good sign that the team gave everything after we’d been reduced to nine men.”

Udinese started the day fourth from bottom and took a 40th minute lead when giant Swedish striker Mathias Ranegie rose to send a header under the crossbar of ‘keeper Christian Abbiati.

Italy under-21 international Stephan El Sharaway levelled for Milan 10 minutes after the restart with a shot from outside the box.

But from then on, things got worse for the seven-time European champions.

Milan’s Colombian defender Cristian Zapata was sent off for a second bookable offence after a foul from behind on Ranegie in the box.

AC Milan's goalkeeper Christian Abbiati (R)

AC Milan’s goalkeeper Christian Abbiati (R) reacts next to AC Milan’s midfielder and captain Massimo Ambrosini (2nd L) at the end of their Serie A football match against Udinese at the Friuli stadium in Udine. Udinese won 2-1.

The referee pointed to the spot and striker Antonio Di Natale stepped up to beat Abbiati with a low drive to put the hosts in the lead.

Milan’s hopes of levelling suffered a blow seven minutes from time when they were reduced to nine players after Kevin Prince Boateng was sent off for a second bookable offence.

A day after champions Juventus underlined their title credentials in emphatic style with a 2-0 home win over Chievo, it was a disastrous day all round for the Milan giants.

Inter Milan started the day six points behind Juve and finished it with the same deficit after suffering a shock 2-0 defeat at home to basement side Siena.

Simone Vergassola silenced the San Siro with his 73rd minute opener and midfielder Francesco Valiani came off the bench to inflict further damage with a goal on the stroke of full-time.

Inter’s second defeat at home, following a 3-1 reverse to Roma, could prompt suggestions there is a curse at the San Siro: so far this season, neither Inter nor AC Milan have won there.

Despite losing to the league’s least successful side, Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni did not seem unduly concerned.

“It’s a bad defeat for us and it stings,” Stramaccioni told Sky Sport Italia.

“But we can’t let a defeat get in the way of the ambitions of a new team that is still looking for consistency.”

While Inter sit in sixth, AC Milan are 15th in the table ahead of the late match between Lazio and Genoa.

Napoli's Edinson Cavani

Napoli‘s forward Edinson Cavani reacts during the Italian Serie A football match between Catania and SSC Napoli at the Massimino Stadium in Catania. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.

Elsewhere, Sunday struggling Pescara grabbed a share of the points, their first this season, in a 1-1 draw at Bologna while Atalanta beat Palermo 1-0 at home to leave the Sicilians second from bottom.

Napoli’s 0-0 draw away to Catania means that for the first time this season Juve have opened up a gap, two points, on their closest challengers from Naples.

Only Lazio can pull level on points with the champions if they beat Genoa later.

Earlier Sunday, Sampdoria failed to win for the first time this season when they were held at home by Torino.

The Cagliari v Roma match was controversially postponed hours before kick-off after the Sardinian club’s president invited fans to the match despite an official decision for it to be played in an empty stadium.

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