Sampdoria and AC Milan shared the spoils in an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Marrassi stadium today as I Rossoneri's four-game winning run came to an end.
Robinho was the star of the show for Milan, scoring in a first half the visitors totally dominated before Samp hit back after the break through Giampaolo Pazzini. Milan stay top but miss the chance to put daylight between themselves and the chasers, and Lazio could close the gap to one point if they win tomorrow. Samp remain in European contention despite an eighth draw in 14 matches.
Despite the loss of two points, Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was delighted with his team. "That was one of, if not the best, games we've played in terms of intensity and the defensive phase," he said. "We made a mistake at a corner but this can happen, football is like this and you have to accept it, I'm happy with the lads."
Allegri paid special tribute to goalscorer Robinho. "He's doing very well, other than the goal he had several other chances and created some too. We deserved to win but Sampdoria did everything to deny us. We're doing well, the lads are doing great things."
There was only one team in the first half and Robinho was at the centre of everything the visitors did. At times Samp goalkeeper Gianluca Curci was all that was standing between Milan and a rout, or between Robinho and a hatful.
In the first minute the Brazilian played a one-two with Clarence Seedorf before shooting left-footed but his effort lacked power and Curci held on. Three minutes later Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng hit a swerving drive from distance that Curci had to punch clear.
The goalkeeper really excelled himself halfway through the period as he dived full length to his left to keep out another Robinho effort with a one-handed save. Moments later, Seedorf rasped a daisy-cutter goalwards but Curci got down low to his right to parry. Samp then failed to deal with a corner but Gennaro Gattuso blazed wastefully over from a good position.
The breakthrough came just two minutes before the break as Ignazio Abate played the ball inside to Robinho, who released Zlatan Ibrahimovic down the right. The big Swede crossed back into the danger area where Robinho had continued his run and the former Real Madrid and Manchester City striker contorted his body to fire a volley past Curci's despairing drive.
Samp must have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle but the second period was a different affair. Just before the hour mark centre-back Danielle Gastaldello rose above Alessandro Nesta to win a header from a corner and Thiago Silva had lost Pazzini who was left to slot home from six yards out.
Halfway through the period two substitutes combined to almost give Samp the lead as Vladimir Koman crossed for Nicola Pozzi to rise and head goalwards, only for Christian Abbiati to tip it away for a corner. But then Seedorf got in behind the Samp defence only for Curci to thwart him again.
Nine minutes from time Robinho, enjoying his best game in a Milan shirt, curled a shot just past the corner of post and bar. Deep into injury time Robinho twisted and turned but Ibrahimovic couldn't reach his deflected cross with a gaping goal in front of him.