AC Milan held as Serie A title race heats up

AC Milan's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (C) and Bologna's Senegalese defender Ibrahima Mbaye go for the ball during the Italian Serie A football match between AC Milan and Bologna on April 4, 2022 at the San Siro stadium in Milan.

AC Milan have missed the chance to move three points clear at the top of Serie A after being held to a 0-0 draw by Bologna.

The result left Milan just one point ahead of second-place Napoli with seven matches remaining.

Defending champions Inter Milan are four points behind their city rivals but have a game in hand.

It was Bologna's first match since coach Sinisa Mihajlovic returned to hospital for treatment for leukaemia.

Mihajlovic briefly coached Milan six years ago and there was message of support for him on the big screens before the match.

Milan had 33 efforts on goal at San Siro but couldn't break the deadlock. The Rossoneri have managed 69 attempts in their past three matches but have only scored twice.

It's easy to analyse the match, we couldn't manage to find the spark to get the ball into the net," Milan coach Stefano Pioli said.

It wasn't a mental block, or pressure ... we were just lacking in the final 20 metres, unfortunately it's a period where we are creating a lot but we're not being clinical.

Bologna meantime haven't scored a goal since February, the same round in which Milan last conceded, but had the better of the early chances.

Rossoneri goalkeeper Mike Maignan was forced into a number of saves, including a fantastic one to fingertip a scorching shot from Musa Barrow over the bar.

The home side should have taken the lead in the 61st minute but Davide Calabria's shot was deflected past the far post by a sliding tackle from Bologna defender Gary Medel.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who returned from injury, was brought on with 20 minutes remaining but the veteran Milan forward was unable to change the result.

Ibrahimovic was left bleeding and finished the match heavily bandaged after a clash of heads with Medel, who was unable to continue.

In Monday night's other match, relegation-threatened Genoa suffered their first defeat under coach Alexander Blessin, losing 1-0 at Hellas Verona.

Giovanni Simeone scored his 16th league goal of the season in the fifth minute, poking the ball home at full stretch.

Verona move above Sassuolo into ninth while Genoa remain 19th, three points from safety.

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