Napoli staged a stunning second half comeback as they earned a 2-2 draw against AC Milan at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Sunday night.

Olivier Giroud netted a brace in the opening 31 minutes to put Milan in the driving seat but the hosts refused to give in and scored twice in 12 minutes in the second half to earn a point in front of the vociferous home faithful.

Rudi Garcia’s side finished with ten men when defender Natan was given his marching orders late in the game.

The defending Champions came into this encounter missing their influential striker Victor Osimhen through a hamstring injury while Juan Jesus also missed out in the heart of the defense.

Giacomo Raspadori started up front for the hosts while Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Matteo Politano pulled the strings out wide. For Milan, Giroud led the line while Christian Pulisic and Rafa Leao were the main men out wide.

Giroud makes rapid start

Giroud had a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the second minute, but his volley was brilliantly blocked by Aamir Rrahmani. Milan were dealt an early blow in the 19th minute when Pierre Kalulu was forced off due to injury with Marco Pellegrino taking his place on the field.

However, the visitors went ahead just seconds later when Giroud glanced home from an inch-perfect left-footed cross from Pulisic to silence the home crowd.

Eight minutes later, Politano should have restored parity but the Italian inexplicably hit the side netting with the goal at his mercy.

Milan took full advantage of the shocking miss as Giroud once again was in the right place in the penalty box to head home Davide Calabria’s cross from the right wing.

Giroud scored two goals to put Milan in charge
Giroud scored two goals to put Milan in charge

Giroud scored two goals to put Milan in charge

Napoli looked out of sorts and were lucky not to have fallen three behind going to halftime. Theo Hernandez pulled it back for Tijjani Reijnders after being played in by Leao, but the midfielder failed to keep his shot on target.

Napoli start epic comeback

Garcia made several substitutions right at half time and Napoli seemed inspired after the resumption. The Partenopei came out firing all cylinders and played with intent as they looked to mount a comeback.

Politano halved the deficit with a stunning solo effort in the 50th minute as he hammered his shot past Mike Maignan in the Milan goal to restore hope for the home side.

It was all Napoli, thereafter, and should have been level at the hour mark. As Maignan missed a routine catch, Kvaratskhelia, who was having a fine game, somehow scuffed his effort over the bar from just six yards out.

Raspadori made it 2-2 in the 63rd minute with a stunning freekick from 20 yards out and it looked like Napoli would go on and snatch a victory.

However, Milan, to their credit, slowed the game down making vital changes from the bench as Napoli too ran out of steam late in the game.

The hosts were then reduced to ten men when Natan received his second yellow as he caught Luka Romero with a late tackle. Milan could have snatched victory right at the end but Calabria put his header just wide from close range.

The result means Napoli stay on fourth with 18 points from 10 games, seven behind league leaders Inter while Milan also stay in third with 22 points.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Giuseppe Maffia IMAGO / NurPhoto