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AC Milan draws 1-1 against city rival Inter in Serie A derby, Napoli held 3-3 by Cagliari

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MILAN — Roberto Mancini's first game back in charge of Inter ended with a 1-1 draw against city rival AC Milan in front of a sellout crowd on Sunday.

A stunning Jeremy Menez volley gave Milan the halftime lead but Joel Obi leveled shortly after the hour mark.

Both sides also hit the crossbar through Stephan El Shaarawy and Mauro Icardi.

In previous seasons, the derby would often be vital for the destination of the title.

Not this season.

The result left Milan in seventh spot, 13 points behind Serie A leader Juventus, with Inter a point further back.

Earlier, title hopeful Napoli squandered a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 at home to Cagliari and lose ground in the title race, while Udinese's Antonio Di Natale scored his 200th Serie A goal in a 1-1 draw against Chievo Verona.

Sampdoria remained fourth after an own goal salvaged a 1-1 draw at Cesena

Fiorentina beat Hellas Verona 2-1, with both sides hitting the crossbar, and Empoli won 2-0 at bottom club Parma, to put more pressure on former Italy coach Roberto Donadoni.

In the lunchtime kickoff, Torino midfielder Juan Sanchez Mino had a penalty saved before Antonio Floro Flores headed home late on to snatch a 1-0 win for Sassuolo.

It was Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi's first derby in charge, while Mancini — who replaced the sacked Walter Mazzarri last week — won four derby matches during his first stint as Inter coach, losing five and drawing one.

PHOTO: AC Milan's Jeremy Menez, left, scores a goal during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Inter Milan at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
AC Milan's Jeremy Menez, left, scores a goal during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Inter Milan at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Inter started brightly and could have taken the lead in the eighth minute after Milan's Sulley Muntari gave the ball away, allowing Icardi to go through clear on goal for an effoet that drew a magnificent stop from Diego Lopez.

Milan soaked up the early pressure before taking the lead with its first shot on target. El Shaarawy raced down the left flank and crossed for an exquisite volley from Menez into the far corner.

Milan went close to doubling its advantage shortly after halftime but Giacamo Bonaventura's effort took a slight deflection off Andrea Ranocchia and flashed across the face of goal.

Moments later at the other end, Lopez denied Zdravko Kuzmanovic and the ball pinged around the box before coming out to Icardi, who blazed it over the bar.

Napoli slipped nine points behind Juventus and six behind Roma, after both sides won on Saturday.

Gonzalo Higuain put the home side in front in the 11th minute when he latched onto a long throw in from Faouzi Ghoulam near the halfway line and raced past Luca Rossettini and Francesco Pisano before slotting across into the far corner.

Napoli doubled its lead on the half hour when Alessio Cragno did brilliantly to parry Jonathan de Guzman's effort but the ball came out for Gokhan Inler to smash it in from 25 yards (meters).

Victor Ibarbo got one back for Cagliari seven minutes from halftime following some delightful footwork.

And Cagliari leveled two minutes after the interval when Diego Farias headed in from practically on the line after Rossettini knocked on Andrea Cossu's free kick.

Napoli was back in front on the hour mark when De Guzman was left unmarked to head Christian Maggio's cross into the far corner but Farias leveled again, sidefooting in Ibarbo's low cross.

Sampdoria dominated its game but Cesena took a surprise lead when Stefano Lucchini bundled over against his former club, where he spent four seasons.

However, Cesena gifted its opponent the equalizer when substitute Constantin Nica poked a cross into his own net under no pressure, leaving him looking stunned at his error.

Nicola Sansone hit the post for Samp late on, while Emmanuel Cascione's free kick smacked the crossbar for Cesena.

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PHOTO: Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini gives directions to his players during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Inter Milan at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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