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Ref apologizes for apparent error in AC Milan loss to Spezia

Little went AC Milan’s way in a dispiriting 2-1 home loss to Spezia as the Rossoneri wasted a chance to move back atop Serie A on Monday.

Emmanuel Gyasi was left unmarked to finish off a counterattack and score a stoppage-time winner for Spezia, which moved six points clear of the drop zone.

That came moments after a potential winner from Junior Messias was disallowed for Milan because the referee whistled a foul on Rossoneri forward Ante Rebić in the buildup just as Rebić was passing the ball to Messias.

Spezia's Emmanuel Gyasi, right, celebrates his goal against Milan during a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Spezia, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan.17, 2022. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

Referee Marco Serra quickly held his hands up in an apparent apology to Milan’s protesting players but still refused to allow the goal, assigning Milan a free kick instead.

Spezia goalkeeper Ivan Provedel then made a leaping save to stop the free kick from Zlatan Ibrahimović. Seconds later, the ’keeper again denied Ibrahimović by deflecting the 40-year-old forward's header away off the crossbar.

Kevin Agudelo equalized for Spezia midway through the second half following an opener from Rafael Leão just before the break.

AC Milan's Olivier Giroud reacts as Spezia players celebrate a goal from their teammate Emmanuel Gyasi during a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Spezia, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan.17, 2022. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

Leão’s goal came moments after Theo Hernández missed a penalty kick for Milan with a poor effort that went wide right.

Milan remained two points behind city rival Inter Milan, which has a game in hand, and was only two points ahead of third-placed Napoli, which beat Bologna 2-0.

LOZANO BRACE

AC Milan's Rafael Leao celebrates after scores against Spezia during a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Spezia, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan.17, 2022. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

Hirving Lozano scored twice for Napoli at Bologna.

First, Lozano used one touch to redirect a pass in the center of the area despite being closely marked. Then the Mexico international finished off a counterattack from close range.

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen went on in the second half to mark his return from a cheekbone injury two months ago and a case of COVID-19 that kept him out of Nigeria’s African Cup of Nations squad.

Napoli's Hirving Lozano, left, celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Bologna and Napoli at the Renato Dall'Ara stadium in Bolgona, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (Massimo Paolonedpa via AP)

This is one of two rounds in Serie A with a maximum attendance of 5,000 fans at matches in a measure aimed at containing the coronavirus.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Napoli's Hirving Lozano, right, competes for the ball with Bologna's Luis Binks during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Bologna and Napoli at the Renato Dall'Ara stadium in Bolgona, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (Massimo Paolonedpa via AP)