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Sampdoria pile pressure on Milan

David Beckham
Beckham lost for the second time as an AC Milan player

A miserable week for AC Milan ended with a 2-1 Serie A defeat at Sampdoria.

Carlo Ancelotti's side were knocked out of the Uefa Cup by Werder Bremen on Thursday, while Sunday's defeat all but ended their hopes of winning the title.

Goals from Sampdoria's Antonio Cassano and Gianpaolo Pazzini also mean Milan's chances of playing in next season's Champions League are not assured.

Alexandre Pato scored in the last 10 minutes but Milan, who included David Beckham, were unable to save the match.

Emerson then had a late goal disallowed to leave Milan five points behind second-placed Juventus, who beat Napoli on Saturday, and two points ahead of Fiorentina.

The top four qualify for the Champions League.

As Milan have slipped further behind leaders and city rivals Inter, Ancelotti's position has been the subject of intense speculation.

But Milan president Silvio Berlusconi, speaking from Brussels, gave a calm response following Milan's defeat.

"Unfortunately we have an entire team in the treatment room and when you can't play winners like Kaka, everything is more difficult," said the Italian Prime Minister.

"But we won't turn this into a drama," added Berlusconi.

Ancelotti opted to use some of his younger players with 40-year-old Paolo Maldini, Giuseppe Favalli (37), Filippo Inzaghi (35) and Massimo Ambrosini (31) rested.

In came Philippe Senderos (24), Daniele Bonera (27), Mathieu Flamini (24) and Luca Antonini (26).

But it was Cassano who gave Sampdoria the lead on 33 minutes, tapping in at the far post after Marius Stankevicius headed on Angelo Palombo's corner although Milan claimed that the ball had failed to cross the line fully.

Inzaghi came on at half-time, but Pazzini made it 2-0 in the 51st minute after he beat Daniele Bonera in the penalty area and shot past Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati following a clever pass by Cassano.

Pato scored his 12th goal of the season after linking up with Giuseppe Favalli on the left flank, and while Andrea Pirlo threatened from free kicks, Emerson's disallowed header was the closest Milan came to drawing level.

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see also
European football photos
01 Mar 09 |  Europe
Beckham makes AC Milan debut
06 Jan 09 |  Europe

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