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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.

"It's not the easiest thing starting with a derby match, we only had five days to work together," Mancini said. "But we had great spirit, so it's a positive night for me, apart from we didn't win.

"The derby is always a really lovely match. It made me happy to see a full San Siro. We'll try to do our best quickly, because you need results in football and I'm convinced we'll get them."

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.

"I think my players were really good in trying to get the win, others would have sat back and played for the draw," Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi said. "The two great chances we had at the end leave a really bitter taste, they would have given us the three points which would have changed people's opinions.

"We need to get back to taking all three points, as at the moment we're not getting what we deserve."

Earlier, 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.

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)

Sampdoria remained fourth after Constantin Nica's 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.

Sassuolo won 1-0 at Torino.

In Milan, it was 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.

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.

Milan could have snatched the win as deep into stoppages Andrea Poli's effort was deflected just past the post with Samir Handanovic stranded.

"It was not a normal night. It's been a busy and hard 48 hours, you have to act a bit on instinct when things happen so quickly," Mancini said. "You can understand a lot of things in matches that you can't see in training, so it will take four or five matches before I know the players well."

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 and Gokhan Inler doubled its lead with a 25-yard screamer.

Victor Ibarbo and Diego Farias scored either side of halftime to pull Cagliari level and, although Jonathan de Guzman headed Napoli back in front, Farias equalized again.

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.

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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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