Giroud goal sends Milan back to Serie A summit

Victory means that Stefano Pioli's table-topper now has 60 points, two ahead of city rival and reigning champion Inter -- which has played a game fewer -- and three more than Napoli in third.

Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud of AC Milan celebrates his side's victory on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

Olivier Giroud's second-half goal sent AC Milan back to the top of Serie A as it battled to a 1-0 win away at Napoli on Sunday.

Victory means that Stefano Pioli's table-topper now has 60 points, two ahead of city rival and reigning champion Inter -- which has played a game fewer -- and three more than Napoli in third.

The triumph was Pioli's first in 12 attempts over opposite number Luciano Spalletti, as Milan look to win a first Scudetto since 2011.

However, the 56-year-old Pioli insisted his side is an underdog despite leading the pack.

"They're three important points for the league position. The boys worked a lot without the ball, as a unit," Pioli told DAZN.

"It's hard to talk about the league table as not everyone has played the same amount of games. I'd say Inter are favourites for the title given their team, and the fact they're around the top. We just need to focus on getting as many points as we can."

READ | My dad is a fighter, Pele's son says of cancer battle

Chances were few and far between in a nervous encounter, with the host only managing two shots on target throughout the 90 minutes at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

After a low-key first-half in which neither side really threatened, Giroud netted the only goal of the game as he turned in Davide Calabria's cross-shot four minutes after the break.

ALSO READ | Joao Felix double spurs Atletico to victory over Betis

Adam Ounas curled one wide for Napoli and Hirving Lozano dragged an effort wide late on as they tried in vain to find an equaliser.

Theo Hernandez and Alexis Saelemaekers were denied by smart saves from Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina on the counter in the closing stages as they sought to double their advantage.

Earlier on Sunday, Juventus strengthened its place in the top four as Alvaro Morata's first Serie A goal since December earned it a 1-0 victory over Spezia.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :