Inter stall in Lecce as Rebic lifts AC Milan

Milan (AFP) - Inter Milan's Serie A title push hit another stumbling block on Sunday after a 1-1 draw at lowly Lecce as Ante Rebic fired city rivals AC Milan to a last gasp 3-2 win over Udinese.

Antonio Conte's Inter looked set to take maximum points from his hometown team, where he started his footballing career in the 1980s, when Alessandro Bastoni headed the away side in front with 18 minutes remaining.

But Marco Mancosu grabbed a precious point for the southerners five minutes after going behind.

Inter have won just two of their last six league games.

They are still just one point behind leaders Juventus but the champions can stretch that to four points when they host Parma later on Sunday.

Conte's side are now also under threat from Lazio who are just two points behind with a game in hand after hammering Sampdoria 5-1 on Saturday.

"For me there's always great emotion," said Conte of his return to Lecce.

"Coming back to the Stadio Via del Mare means going back 30-35 years. I spent my childhood as a ball boy here. There will always be this attachment, but I am a professional and I try to do this job better."

Lecce -- just one point above the relegation zone -- were coming off a four-match losing streak, but had held Juventus by the same scoreline back in October.

"Congratulations to them, even if conceding this goal leaves a bitter taste in the mouth," said Conte.

"The final result stems from the fact that we're a team that needs to go at 200 km/h, we cannot afford to be off the pace.

"We went at full pelt throughout the first half of the season and even beyond that."

Earlier Ante Rebic hit a brace, including the stoppage time winner, against Udinese that snatched a dramatic win that gave troubled AC Milan back-to-back league victories.

Star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic got his first start at the San Siro after scoring last weekend at Cagliari.

The 38-year-old Swede did not get to celebrate on front of the home crowd but he has provided a confidence-boost for the seven-time European champions, who have taken seven points in three matches since his return.

"The arrival of Ibrahimovic has given us even more depth and conviction, which has helped us," said coach Stefano Pioli.

- Balotelli sees red -

However, Pioli's side needed to fight back after Jens Stryger Larsen opened the scoring in the seventh minute for the away side, who were coming off a run of three consecutive wins.

But the hosts upped the pace in the second half with former Eintracht Frankfurt player Rebic coming on after the break to equalise minutes later.

Theo Hernandez put Milan ahead with a powerful volley on 72 minutes, to take his tally to five league goals this season.

Kevin Lasagna got Udinese back level five minutes from time but Rebic had the final word deep into injury time to lift Milan to eighth, two points off the Europa League places.

Just below fellow European hopefuls Hellas Verona and Bologna played out a 1-1 draw.

In Brescia, Mario Balotelli came on late and was sent off just seven minutes later in a 2-2 draw against Cagliari.

The Italy forward started on the bench, coming on after 74 minutes, but received a yellow card for a foul on Fabio Pisacane, picking up a second when he turned to argue with the referee.

"Mario was on the ball and did not see the Cagliari defender. He did not believe the referee's decision was right and he reacted," said Brescia coach Eugenio Corini.

"He had come on with the idea of winning the game for us, but we could not exploit it and went a man down."

Both sides' goals came from braces with Joao Pedro getting two for the visitors and Ernesto Torregrossa on target twice for third-from-bottom Brescia.

The sixth-placed Sardinians ended a four-match losing streak, but have not claimed three points in the league since December 8.

Brescia are third from bottom of the league.


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