MILAN, Italy, April 21 (Reuters) - Bottom team Benevento held on to their forlorn hopes of avoiding relegation from Italy’s top flight after a Pietro Iemmello goal gave them a shock 1-0 win at former European Cup winners AC Milan in their Serie A clash on Saturday.
Benevento, who have 17 points from 34 games, will only be able to prolong their fight for survival if 18th-placed Crotone, on 28 points from 33 matches, fail to win at Udinese on Sunday.
Milan stayed sixth on 54 points from 34 games and are in danger of missing out on European competition next season, with seventh-placed Atalanta two points behind them before their home game against Torino also on Sunday.
Iemmello netted a 29th-minute winner with a calm finish after a defence-splitting pass by Nicolas Viola, with match official Maurizio Mariani allowing the goal to stand after brief offside consultations with the video assistant referee (VAR).
Benevento had substitute Cheick Diabate sent off in the 80th minute when he received a second yellow card for elbowing Leonardo Bonucci but the visitors fully deserved their win at the San Siro.
Their goalkeeper Christian Puggioni pulled off a pair of superb saves to deny Patrick Cutrone and Giacomo Bonaventura. Franck Yannick Kessie hit the underside of the bar for Milan, who looked flat and bereft of ideas most of the match.
The lively Viola and Daniel Cataldi came close at the other end as Benevento looked dangerous on the break, while Milan’s final pass kept going astray.
Earlier on Saturday, AS Roma stayed on course for a top-four finish with a clinical 3-0 win at struggling SPAL thanks to goals from Radja Nainggolan and Patrick Shick following a Francesco Vicari own goal.
Sassuolo moved well clear of the relegation zone with a 1-0 home win over Fiorentina thanks to a first-half goal by Matteo Politano after the visitors had Bryan Dabo sent off for two bookable offences. (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Christian Radnedge)