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Milan slip-up hands Europa impetus to Inter

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Milan (AFP)

AC Milan suffered a second league setback since their takeover by a Chinese consortium to boost rivals Inter's bid for one of two Europa League spots in Italy's Serie A.

Milan travelled to relegation-haunted Crotone looking to make up for a shock 2-1 San Siro defeat to struggling Empoli last week.

But for the second game in succession since Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux bought the seven-time European champions from long-time owner Silvio Berlusconi, Vincenzo Montella's side disappointed.

Marcello Trotta fired Crotone into an eighth-minute lead at their Ezio Scida stadium and it took until the 50th minute for Milan to level, veteran defender Gabriel Paletta bundling home a messy goal from close range.

Milan pushed for a late winner but the Serie A giants, who saw Juraj Kucka sent off six minutes into second-half stoppage time for a second bookable offence, were forced to settle for a point.

Milan remain sixth, five points adrift of Atalanta in the final Europa League spot.

Inter, enduring an equally tough season under new Chinese owners Suning, host Napoli in Sunday's late game looking for their first win in six outings.

A home win at the San Siro would pull Stefano Pioli's men level on points with Milan (59).

Roma's 3-1 derby defeat to Lazio earlier Sunday left them in second place at nine points behind runaway leaders Juve, but only four points ahead of Napoli, as they chase the second automatic Champions League qualifying place.

Elsewhere, former Roma striker Mattia Destro struck in either half to complete a brace as Bologna moved away from the danger zone with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Udinese.

Genoa and Empoli, however, face a nervous end to the season after defeats to Chievo and Sassuolo respectively left them just above the drop zone with four games remaining.

While rock-bottom Pescara's relegation last week was hammered home on Sunday by a 1-0 defeat away to Cagliari, fellow strugglers Crotone and Palermo can dream of top-flight survival for another week.

A point from their draw with Milan left Crotone third from bottom but now just four points behind Empoli.

Palermo saw goals from Alessandro Diamanti and Haitam Aleesami, at the death, secure a 2-0 home win over 10-man Fiorentina -- only their fourth of the season. It left the Sicilians second from bottom and 10 points behind Empoli with four games remaining.

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