Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina ended Mario Balotelli's streak of 21 successive penalties but failed to see his side reclaim top spot on Sunday despite a first league win over Milan at the San Siro in 27 years. Napoli's 2-1 win was their first Italian Serie A victory over the Rossoneri at the San Siro since a side led by Argentine legend Diego Maradona beat Milan in April 1986.
But despite Rafael Benitez's men dominating Massimiliano Allegri's injury-hit side, the Azzurri failed to hold on to the two-goal lead that would have seen them reclaim top spot after Balotelli reduced the arrears in injury time.
It meant Roma, who scored second-half goals through Federico Balzaretti and Adem Ljajic to secure a 2-0 win over derby rivals Lazio, remain top thanks to superior goal difference. Napoli, in second, also have 12 points with both sides now owning a two-point cushion on Inter, Fiorentina and Juventus after their respective wins over Sassuolo, Atalanta and Verona.
Napoli started in positive fashion and opened the scoring after just six minutes when Miguel Britos headed home Raul Albiol's headed delivery from Jose Callejon's free kick on the left. Six minutes later Balotelli saw a well-struck free kick go a metre wide of Reina's goal, however it was as close as the hosts got to an equaliser in a poor first half.
Milan's woes continued minutes after the restart when goalkeeper Christian Abbiati failed to hold a rocket from Gonzalo Higuain despite the Argentinian falling to the ground as he struck with his right foot.
Balotelli run ends
Barely ten minutes later Milan won a penalty when Albiol fouled Balotelli in the area, but the striker, perfect from the spot in his past 21 attempts for club and country, saw his effort stopped by Reina.
Milan spurned two chances to reduce the arrears, Reina rushing out to deny Alessandro Matri after Balotelli's cross and then Balotelli seeing his strike under pressure come off the Spanish keeper's crossbar. Balotelli tested the 'keeper again on 71 minutes with a dipping effort which Reina spectacularly tipped over.
Balotelli finally beat Reina when, in the first minute of injury time, he sent a curling shot from the edge of the area past the Spanish keeper at his far post. Milan pressed for an equaliser but fell to their second reverse of the campaign and remain 11th, eight points adrift of Roma and Napoli.