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Second-place Roma held to draw by Milan

Photo: Antonio Calanni/AP

Kevin Strootman's successful penalty gave Roma a second-half lead that would not hold up.

(Reuters) -- Sulley Muntari salvaged a point for AC Milan with a second-half equaliser in a 2-2 draw at the San Siro on Monday that saw visiting AS Roma slip five points behind Serie A leaders Juventus.

The return of Francesco Totti after two months out was not enough for Rudi Garcia's still unbeaten Roma, who are on 38 points and three clear of third-placed Napoli. Massimiliano Allegri's Milan are 10th on 19 points.

Roma twice allowed Milan to hit on the counter-attack and come back from a goal down with Muntari levelling for good in the 77th minute after taking Mario Balotelli's pass and firing home at the near post.

Mattia Destro had put Roma 1-0 up with his second goal in as many games in the 13th minute.

Cristian Zapata then equalised against the run of play in the 29th when he met Muntari's flick on from a corner with a clumsy header onto his knee and past Morgan De Sanctis.

Kevin Strootman restored Roma's advantage from the penalty spot five minutes after the break when Gervinho was floored by Milan goalkeeper Gabriel.

"Usually when you have lots of goalscoring opportunities you win, but it's a point at Milan, it's not a bad thing," Garcia told reporters.

"But when you go in front twice you need to be better in defence. We made some mistakes but I'm happy with how we played, we looked good out there.

"We know that the only (Italian) team that qualified from the Champions League group stage was Milan and you don't do that with a bad team, you do it with a good team."

While Roma dropped precious points, they will be looking to the clash at Juventus right after the mid-season break on January 5 (1945 GMT) to apply pressure on their title rivals, providing Atalanta do not spring any surprises next weekend.

Destro tapped in the opener when delightful play from Adem Ljajic and Strootman saw the Dutch midfielder slide an unmissable chance to the attacker.

With Roma looking to kill off the match in the second half, and Totti coming on for Destro, Milan hit back and could even have snatched the victory had Balotelli not dithered and dragged a weak shot wide in added-time while in a promising position.

© 2014 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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