Napoli sprang to life in the second half of their thrilling 2-2 draw with AC Milan at the iconic Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. The visitors, led by Olivier Giroud, found the back of the net twice before halftime. However, the momentum dramatically shifted when Matteo Politano scored in the 50th minute, halving the deficit for Napoli. The match became even more captivating when Giacomo Raspadori struck a phenomenal free-kick from 25 yards out, leveling the score at 2-2 after 63 minutes of exhilarating play in the heart of Campania.
Napoli faced adversity towards the end as Natan received a red card, reducing them to ten men. Despite late opportunities for both teams, neither side could secure a winning goal. The opening moments of the game showcased a brilliant display of defensive prowess by Amir Rrahmani, who blocked a goal-bound effort from Giroud. AC Milan suffered a setback when Pierre Kalulu succumbed to a thigh injury and was substituted, leaving Stefano Pioli with limited options due to Malick Thiaw’s suspension and Simon Kjaer’s muscle ailment.
Marco Pellegrino, a 20-year-old making his Serie A debut, replaced the injured Kalulu but was also forced off later in the match. It was Giroud, a seasoned veteran 17 years his senior, who became the catalyst for Pioli’s team. Christian Pulisic delivered a splendid cross, allowing the 37-year-old striker to execute a deft header that grazed the fingertips of Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret before finding the back of the net. AC Milan extended their lead when Davide Calabria supplied a cross for Giroud, who outmuscled Rrahmani in an aerial duel and directed the ball into the bottom left corner.
The visitors seemed to be cruising, creating numerous chances to make it 3-0 before halftime, while Napoli struggled to produce a shot on target. However, Napoli manager Rudi Garcia’s tactical changes during halftime quickly paid dividends. Politano unleashed a powerful left-footed strike from the edge of the area, sending the ball crashing into the back of the net. Suddenly, Milan, who had controlled the first half, found themselves on the defensive, desperately trying to withstand Napoli’s relentless barrage. The home crowd erupted in celebration when Raspadori curled a sensational equalizer from 25 yards away.
Natan’s clumsy challenge on Giovanni Simeone resulted in a second yellow card, leaving Napoli with only ten men. However, AC Milan failed to capitalize on their numerical advantage during the four minutes of added time. Calabria came close to snatching victory for the visitors with a header that missed the target and hit the side-netting. In a late dramatic twist, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia nearly secured a last-gasp winner for Napoli, but Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan reacted swiftly to deny the Georgian’s powerful effort, ensuring both teams shared the spoils at the final whistle.