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Milan’s Calhanoglu snatches point in Florence

Milan (AFP) – Hakan Calhanoglu snatched a point for under-pressure AC Milan with a crucial 1-1 draw against Fiorentina in Tuscany on Saturday.

The Turkish midfielder equalised three minutes after Giovanni Simeone had headed in for the hosts in the 71st minute.

It was the first time this season that Milan have come from behind after conceding a goal.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma pulled off several key saves on his 100th game for Milan. But despite clearing strikes from Simeone and Gil Dias in the first half Donnarumma, 18, could not stop Argentine striker heading in.

Milan hit back when Calhanoglu picked up a Suso strike to level.

“Calhanoglu is reborn with work, with passion and desire,” said coach Gennaro Gattuso whose side halted back-to-back Serie A defeats to move up to ninth.

Fiorentina are sixth before Saturday’s late games.

“We didn’t want to lose, we knew how much energy we had spent in the derby but we had the game we needed,” continued Gattuso of Milan’s Italian Cup victory midweek over city rivals Inter Milan.

“Towards the end we even felt like we could win it. I’m really starting to like the mentality of this team that never gives up.”

Milan are 23 points behind Napoli who ensured they end the year with the symbolic title of Winter Champions with a 1-0 win at Crotone.

Captain Marek Hamsik, who last week overtook Diego Maradona as the club’s all-time leading scorer,  settled the game with his 1l7th goal in a Napoli shirt.

Maurizio Sarri’s side end 2017 with just one defeat in 19 games, to  champions Juventus, who are four points behind ahead of their trip on Saturday to struggling Verona.

Napoli are four points clear of six-time defending champions Juventus. Inter Milan, in third, are at home to fifth-placed Lazio.

Inter are two points ahead of Roma, who host Sassuolo, with Lazio a further two points back in fifth with the two teams from the capital both having a game in hand.

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