Serie A: Milan 0 Roma 0
By Football News
Referee Gianluca Rocchi was forced to temporarily halt Milan's goalless draw with Roma following alleged racist chanting from the away fans.
The match was overshadowed by the behavior of sections of the crowd, apparently part of the Roma support, at the San Siro as Rocchi stopping play briefly in the second half before the action restarted.
There was also a bizarre red card for midfielder Sulley Muntari and both teams ended up finishing the game with 10 men, as Francesco Totti was also dismissed late on.
The fight for third place in Serie A will now go to the last day after the goalless stalemate on Sunday.
Milan went for a strong, attacking line-up in an attempt to secure their place in the UEFA Champions League next season, with Stephan El Shaarawy and Kevin-Prince Boateng being recalled into advanced roles. There were also recalls for Philippe Mexes and Massimo Ambrosini, while Mattia De Sciglio was handed a start at full-back.
Roma also decided to make changes to their team, after a devastating loss to Chievo on Wednesday, with Simone Perrotta replacing the injured Daniele De Rossi. Maarten Stekelenburg also missed out, being replaced by Romanian goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont.
The hosts came into this game looking to go four points clear of Fiorentina in fourth place, but it was the visitors who created the game's first chance after just six minutes.
A pinpoint pass from Totti found its way to Marquinhos, who then decided to shoot from distance, producing a powerful, swerving strike to force a good save from Christian Abbiati.
It was just the beginning of what proved to be a confident start for Roma, and Totti was at the heart of more problems for Milan, picking up a poor clearance from Kevin Constant and driving into the penalty area, only to power a shot wide of the near post.
The Milan defence was carved open again just 10 minutes later when Erik Lamela played Marquinhos clean through on goal, forcing Abbiati to rush out and make a low block.
The home side's best opportunity came just after the half-hour mark, when Muntari sent a crashing effort just wide of the post. And it was Muntari who became involved in the most notable incident of the half, receiving a red card for grabbing hold of the referee, after he had previously shown a yellow card to Mario Balotelli.
It was a bizarre end to what was an ultimately frustrating first 45 minutes for the hosts.
There was more controversy shortly after the break, with referee Rocchi stopping the game in response to alleged racist chanting from the Roma fans.
When play resumed, Roma largely picked up where they had left off, with Marquinhos and Pablo Osvaldo both creating good opportunities.
It was a difficult evening for Milan striker Balotelli, who came into this match having scored in each of the last five games.
The best the Italian could muster in the second half were two long-range free-kicks, both of which were sent harmlessly over the crossbar.
Robinho came on to replace El Shaarawy in an attempt to help unlock the Roma defence, but it was Mathieu Flamini who nearly made an impact.
The former Arsenal star raced away from the Roma defence, forcing Bogdan Lobont to make a smart save at his near post.
Four minutes from time, Roma had a good case for a penalty after Erik Lamela was brought down by Kevin Constant.
Balotelli sent another free-kick just over the bar in the dying minutes, before Roma full-back Dodo's stinging strike was well saved by Abbiati.
Totti was then sent off for lashing out at Mexes, elbowing the Frenchman in the chest.
The result means that Milan head into the final game against Siena two points ahead of fourth-placed Fiorentina, who play at relegated Pescara.
Roma, meanwhile, will have to win the Coppa Italia against arch-rivals Lazio in order to qualify for the Europa League.