Inter Milan conceded twice in the last eight minutes of extra-time as their grip on the Coppa Italia came to an end with a 2-1 defeat to Bologna.

Lautaro Martinez had a penalty saved as normal time ended goalless, before Carlos Augusto headed hosts Inter into a 92nd-minute lead.

But Sam Beukema and Dan Ndoye struck in a dramatic turnaround as the back-to-back cup winners were dumped out at the quarter-final stage for the first time since the 2018-19 season.

Inter’s Marko Arnautovic tried his luck from range but his sixth-minute effort went wide in a cagey start.

Bologna responded with a chance of their own in the 18th minute when Giovanni Fabbian’s shot grazed the outside of the post.

Inter pushed for an opening but were being held off by a stubborn Bologna.

The closest they got in the first half was when Davide Frattesi went down under a challenge but his penalty appeals were waved off.

Inter came out fast after the break and came close in the 49th minute through the dangerous Fratessi.

The goalscoring midfielder lost his marker and met Alessandro Bastoni’s cross, but he failed to connect with the ball properly.

Simone Inzaghi’s side had kept four successive clean sheets prior to this match and their quality showed as their tight back three and hard working midfield stifled any Bologna attack.

But at the other end Martinez missed a golden opportunity to give Inter the lead in the 65th minute.

Bologna’s Tommaso Corazza was deemed to have handled the ball in the box following a corner but Martinez’s placed effort was saved by Federico Ravaglia.

The striker had scored 17 in all competitions up to that point and failed to add to his tally as Inter’s frustrations grew.

The Argentina international was keen to make up for his miss when he drove with the ball before shooting from range, but his shot sailed just over the Bologna crossbar.

The stalemate remained at full-time, but Inter finally broke the deadlock just two minutes into extra-time.

Federico Dimarco’s corner picked out Augusto who rose highest and nodded his effort home.

But the visitors responded eight minutes from time when Joshua Zirkzee flicked on a corner to the charging Beukema who smashed home from close range to make it 1-1.

And Bologna grabbed another in the 116th minute.

Zirkzee produced another moment of brilliance to beat his man in midfield before he threaded a pass through to Ndoye, who casually chipped Emil Audero to give his side a 2-1 win.

Inter Milan blew a two-goal to drop points at the top of Serie A as Bologna earned a 2-2 draw at the San Siro.

Inter looked set to move clear at the summit of the table after they burst into a 2-0 lead after just 13 minutes as Francesco Acerbi and Lautaro Martinez scored.

But mid-table Bologna hit back, with Bendetta Orsolini scoring from the penalty spot before the break and Joshua Zirkzee earned a point after the break.

The result was a big boost for Inter’s city rivals AC Milan, who play at Genoa later on Saturday and go three points ahead with a win.

Although the hosts made a fast start, it was Bologna that almost drew first blood as former Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson hit the post in an open start to the match.

But it was the hosts that soon took control as Acerbi headed home from Hakan Calhanoglu’s corner in the 11th minute.

Two minutes later it was 2-0 as Martinez doubled the lead in style, rocketing a 25-yard shot into the top corner for his 10th goal of the season, becoming just the third Inter player in history to reach double figures in the opening eight matches.

Bologna were shell-shocked, but they responded well and were awarded an 18th-minute penalty when VAR spotted an infringement at a corner, with Martinez ruled to have fouled Ferguson.

Orsolini converted from 12 yards, though Inter goalkeeper Yann Sommer may be disappointed after he got a hand to it.

Inter should have restored their two-goal lead eight minutes before the break as both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Calhanoglu found space in the area but could not get a shot away.

Bologna responded well after the break and levelled seven minutes after the restart.

Zirkzee got the ball on the edge of the area and wrong-footed Sommer, shooting into the near post to make it 2-2.

Inter thought they had regained the lead on the hour when Sanchez converted Carlos Augusto’s cross, but it was ruled out for offside.

Boss Simone Inzhagi’s frustration boiled over and he received a yellow card in protestations at refereeing decisions.

His mood did not improve as Martinez then flashed a header just wide from a corner as they pushed to regain the lead.

The pressure mounted in the final 10 minutes with Bologna goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski beating away Augusto’s shot before the same player headed over at the death.

Inter Milan are hoping to have Davide Frattesi available for Saturday’s clash with Bologna.

The Italy international suffered a muscle injury in the defeat at Sassuolo 10 days ago and missed the Serie A clash with Salernitana and the Champions League win over Benfica in midweek.

He trained on Friday and boss Simone Inzaghi will decide whether to risk him for Bologna’s visit to the San Siro.

Marko Arnautovic did not train with the group and will miss out.

Inter sit top of Serie A on goal difference ahead of their rivals AC Milan after a strong start to the season.

Defender Carlos Augusto is loving life at the San Siro following his loan move from Monza.

 

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The 24-year-old Brazilian has featured nine times for his new team and already knows what is expected.

 

“It’s going very well,” he said in an interview with DAZN, reported by La Gazzetta Dello Sport.

“The group and the staff have helped me a lot to get used to the new surroundings as best as possible and I’m very happy to help my team-mates. We are a family where everyone helps each other and for this reason, we are doing well.

“Inter aims to always win in all competitions, we want the title, but also the Italian Cup and to get as high as possible in the Champions League, this is what this team is, we want to win everything, always.”

Bologna have only lost once this season – a 2-0 reverse to AC Milan – so they will present a difficult challenge to Inter.

However, they will be without injured trio Stefan Posch, Jhon Lukumi, and Adama Soumaoro.

Victor Osimhen missed a penalty as Napoli drew 0-0 at Bologna to continue the early stutters in their Serie A title defence under new boss Rudi Garcia.

Osimhen, who earlier had a shot touched on to the post by Lukasz Skorupski, hit his spot-kick wide in the 72nd minute as the champions failed to win for a third successive league match.

The result, which follows a 2-1 loss to Lazio and 2-2 draw at Genoa, leaves Napoli seventh in the table, seven points behind leaders Inter Milan.

The opening stages of the clash at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara saw Osimhen hit a fifth-minute effort that came back off the far post via Skorupski’s glove, then head wide five minutes later.

Further Napoli efforts came with Piotr Zielinski shooting off-target and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s low drive being held by Skorupski, before Giacomo Raspadori bent an attempt just over the bar in first-half stoppage time.

After Osimhen was denied by Skorupski again in the 63rd minute, the visitors were awarded a penalty when Kvaratskhelia’s cross came off Osimhen and the ball struck Bologna substitute Riccardo Calafiori.

The verdict was handball and Osimhen stepped up, but while Skorupski went the wrong way, the Nigeria international could not get his effort from 12 yards on target.

A rare attack from Bologna then saw Joshua Zirkzee’s firm strike bring a save out of Alex Meret in the 75th minute.

Bologna appealed for a penalty of their own in added time when Alexis Saelemaekers fired the ball at Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, but it was not given.

Napoli – who won 2-1 at Braga in the Champions League last week – will attempt to get back to winning ways in the league when they host Udinese on Wednesday.

AC Milan winger Alexis Saelemaekers has joined Bologna on a season-long loan with an option to buy.

The Belgium international joined the 2021/22 Serie A winners in 2020 and made 98 appearances, scoring five times.

Saelemaekers becomes Thiago Motta’s eighth signing of the summer window and could feature in Bologna’s next league match against Cagliari on Saturday.

An AC Milan club statement said: “AC Milan can confirm that Alexis Saelemaekers has joined Bologna FC on loan until 30 June 2024, with an option to make the deal permanent.

“The club would like to wish Alexis all the best for the coming season.”

Napoli squandered a two-goal lead as Lorenzo De Silvestri snatched a 2-2 draw for Bologna against the Serie A champions, who appear set to lose Scudetto-winning coach Luciano Spalletti.  

Spalletti said a decision has been made on his Napoli future before kick-off, with many expecting the Partenopei boss to depart, yet his side initially appeared far from distracted at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

Victor Osimhen seized on an early Lukasz Skorupski mistake to open the scoring before doubling his – and Napoli's – tally after 54 minutes with a powerful finish across goal.

However, Lewis Ferguson halved the arrears just past the hour before De Silvestri headed home with six minutes remaining, and only the offside flag denied Nicola Sansone a late winner as Napoli were forced to cling on. 

A terrible pass from Bologna goalkeeper Skorupski gifted Napoli their 14th-minute opener as Osimhen intercepted on the edge of the area and finished into an empty net.

Skorupski somewhat made amends by thwarting both Osimhen and Alessio Zerbin as Napoli threatened to extend their lead before the break.

Marko Arnautovic skimmed a rare Bologna chance across the face of an empty goal after the interval before Osimhen furthered Napoli's advantage.

The Napoli striker rolled onto Bartosz Bereszynski's delicate throughball before firing through the legs of Skorupski.

An unmarked Ferguson pulled one back shortly thereafter, tapping in a rebound after Pierluigi Gollini saved from Sansone, who subsequently assisted De Silvestri's headed equaliser with a delightful corner.

Sansone then thought he had snatched a late victory with a one-on-one finish, only to be denied by a belated offside flag. 

Juventus missed the opportunity to go second in Serie A as they were held to a 1-1 draw away at Bologna on Sunday.

Second-placed Lazio were beaten 3-1 by Inter earlier in the day, yet Riccardo Orsolini smashed home a first-half penalty at Renato Dall'Ara to leave Juve fearing a fourth straight league defeat.

Those concerns were not helped when Arkadiusz Milik missed a chance to level from the spot, but he brilliantly fired in after the interval to deny Bologna a first Serie A win over the Bianconeri in 22 attempts.

Juve remain below Lazio and crucially just three points ahead of Inter, Milan and Roma in fourth, fifth and sixth, and they face a real dogfight over the final six games if they are to finish in the Champions League places.

The hosts were ahead after just 10 minutes, a lengthy VAR review adjudging Danilo to have brought down Orsolini before the winger picked himself up off the turf to thump his penalty into the bottom-right corner.

Lukasz Skorupski preserved his side's lead with a sensational double-stop from Nicolo Fagioli, and the goalkeeper came up big again shortly after.

The referee initially awarded a free-kick after Milik was pushed over by Jhon Lucumi, but the VAR found the foul to have occurred inside the Bologna box. Skorupski was not fooled by the striker's hop-skip-and-a-jump penalty technique, though, comfortably getting down to his right to save.

Milik was more ruthless in the second half, however, bouncing back from his poor spot-kick to brilliantly lash a first-time snap-shot into the bottom corner and level.

There were big chances at either end in the closing stages, but neither side could find a winner as Juve at least snapped their losing streak.

Milan midfielder Tomasso Pobega bemoaned a missed opportunity in Serie A against Bologna.

Stefano Pioli's side fell behind with just 33 seconds played, with Pobega equalising five minutes before the break with a thunderous strike.

Despite dominating proceedings, Milan were unable to find a winner in the game and dropping points opens the door to rivals Inter and Atalanta in the hunt for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.

Having been held to a draw, Milan could end the weekend outside of the top four and have testing fixtures to finish the season – including a trip to face Juventus on the final day.

While there has been plenty of attention on the two recent victories over Napoli, domestic form is a huge concern with Milan having just a solitary victory in their last six Serie A games.

Pobega is aware that Milan need to fare better in the coming weeks, though he is unsure as to why the side is struggling.

"We paid for the approach with the game, we made a mistake at the beginning," he told DAZN.

"It's too bad, we threw away points and it's not the first time. It hurts. We are preparing for the games as best we can, we have to start strong and score goals.

"We all train well, all strong, we wanted to make an impression today, and it's a shame. We needed to be more precise and incisive."

However, Pobega refuted the suggestion that Milan paid too much attention to Tuesday's second leg in the Champions League against Napoli.

"I don't think so, we were focused on this game. We gave so much today, we just have to look where we went wrong," he replied when asked if that was the case.

A weakened Milan side were held to a 1-1 draw in Serie A by Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

With their focus clearly on the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie with Napoli, Stefano Pioli's side made 10 changes and fell behind to a Nicola Sansone strike inside the opening minute.

The early goal sparked some life into Milan's understudies, with Tomasso Pobega's fierce strike levelling the scores before the break.

Neither side could find a winning goal in the second half, with honours even and a result Bologna will be happier with.

Milan heavily rotated from the opening leg win against Napoli, only Mike Maignan retaining his spot between the posts, and he was picking the ball out the back of the net after just 33 seconds when Sansone met Stefan Posch's low cross and smashed home.

The visitors responded strongly, dominating possession, with Ante Rebic heading straight at Lukasz Skorupski before the Bologna shot stopper was forced into a diving save from Alessandro Florenzi's curling free-kick.

Milan's equaliser came five minutes before the break, Bologna unable to clear their lines properly and Pobega unleashing a fierce shot that cannoned off the inside of the left-hand post and into the back of the net.

A much quieter second half saw limited clear-cut opportunities for both sides, with Milan's attempts to pepper Skorupski's goal seeing a number of efforts fail to provide any sort of threat to the Polish keeper.

Rebic came closest to an equaliser, though not through skill as the chance instead saw an attempted clearance strike his head but fly wide of the mark, much to the relief of the home side.

Lautaro Martinez bemoaned Inter's Serie A form this season after they slipped to a shock 1-0 defeat against Bologna, with the forward insistent they have to change.

A Riccardo Orsolini half-volley saw the visitors downed on the road at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, to leave them 18 points adrift of Napoli in the top-flight.

Having lost the Scudetto to rivals Milan last term, the San Siro outfit had hoped to mount a serious challenge to reclaim their crown this season.

But with any challenge all but long gone amid their indifferent form, Martinez acknowledged something has to shift for Simone Inzaghi's side.

"It would be wrong to talk too much in the heat of the moment," he told Sky Sport Italia. "But the sensation I have right now is that we'll get nowhere playing like this.

"We need to be more consistent. We just played a great game in the Champions League. We arrive here fired up and then [we] put in this performance.

"We've got to get our heads up and push forward, because we will get nowhere like this."

"Bologna are a good side. They played better than us today and deserved the win. We need to be more consistent, like we were against Porto.

"I am here to apologise to all the Inter fans. If I feel the need to say something, then I say it. We are 18 points behind Napoli, so clearly something is not working."

Inter next face a trip to Lecce, followed by a home clash against Spezia ahead of their second leg with Porto in the Champions League.

Simone Inzaghi feels Inter must "do more" after they fell to a 1-0 defeat away at Bologna on Sunday.

Riccardo Orsolini fired home a 76th-minute winner to give the hosts victory at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara and inflict another blow to Inter's already slim chances of catching runaway Serie A leaders Napoli.

Inter have now failed to score in two consecutive away games in Serie A for the first time since April 2018, and Inzaghi says the Nerazzurri must improve if they are to get back to winning ways.

"There will be a lot of talk about the defeat and there will be criticism, but I'm the coach and I'm primarily responsible," he said.

"We have to say that even if the result had been different, we couldn't have been happy with our first half.

"We have to analyse and understand why these drops happen to us after the European matches, we have to do more and better."

Inter's lacklustre display, which saw them concede at least nine shots in a Serie A first half for only the second time this season, came after Wednesday's 1-0 win over Porto in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie.

Inzaghi is unsure why they failed to follow up that impressive performance with another strong showing, saying: "If you go to watch matches, after the Champions League we often have some problems.

"Then away from San Siro the problem becomes even more pronounced and we have to try to do better.

"Today's first half was insufficient, the second was better, but in the moment in which we had created the conditions to win the game, we conceded goals."

Asked whether he felt let down by his players, Inzaghi replied: "Betrayed no, they have always given me everything both in the match and in training.

"I'm sorry because we are Inter and we have to do more."

A toothless attacking display from Inter saw them beaten 1-0 by Bologna on Sunday as Riccardo Orsolini scored to give the hosts all three points.

The Nerazzurri had four shots on target without scoring at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara as Napoli's charge towards a first Serie A title in more than two decades received yet another boost.

Musa Barrow saw an early goal disallowed for offside, though it would matter little as Orsolini fired home a 76th-minute winner to clinch victory and put another dent in Inter's already slim title hopes.

With an 18-point deficit to overturn, catching runaway leaders Napoli now looks a hugely improbable prospect for Inter and they may now have to focus on fending off the likes of Roma and Milan for second spot.

 

Bologna thought they were ahead after 12 minutes through a fine finish from Barrow, but a VAR review ruled the offside Nicolas Dominguez as having blocked Andre Onana's view.

The hosts continued to look the more threatening as Roberto Soriano hit the crossbar, though Lautaro Martinez should have done better when he sent a free header wide of the post. 

Clear-cut chances for both teams continued to be few and far between as the game went into the break goalless, but Hakan Calhanoglu missed a golden opportunity shortly after the interval when he blazed over.

Soriano saw a shot blocked, before Edin Dzeko came off the bench to force a decent save out of Lukasz Skorupski.

The deadlock would be broken with 14 minutes to play, though, as Orsolini latched onto Jerdy Schouten's throughball before firing home his fourth goal in five matches to claim an impressive victory.

 

What does it mean? Drab Inter not matching Napoli's stunning form

The title race looks all but over as Napoli's closest challengers continue to falter while they march on, rattling off eight straight Serie A victories since they were beaten by Inter in early January. 

The Nerazzurri looked a far cry from challengers here as they failed to score against Bologna for the first time in eight league meetings. 

Inter accumulated just 1.01 xG (expected goals) to Bologna's 1.28 as Skorupski enjoyed a relatively comfortable 90 minutes between the sticks before watching Orsolini secure all three points for his team. 

Orsolini the hero

In-form winger Orsolini has now been involved in six of Bologna's last seven Serie A goals as he fired them to a fifth victory in six league games. 

The goal capped an impressive display from the 26-year-old, registering three shots and creating three chances as well as scoring the well-taken winner. 

Ineffective Lukaku fires a blank

Romelu Lukaku managed just nine touches in the first half while also not creating any chances as he failed to provide much of a focal point for Inter.

Simone Inzaghi saw enough after 64 minutes, deciding to bring on former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko with Lukaku unable to add to his two Serie A goals this season.

Key Opta Facts:

- Bologna have won four of their past five Serie A games (L1), three of these by just a one-goal margin.
- Inter have failed to score in two consecutive away games in Serie A for their first time since April 2018 (three).
- Orsolini has been involved in 10 goals in a Serie A season for the fourth time with Bologna (seven goals and three assists in the current campaign).
- Inter have not score a single goal with their last 40 shots fired on the road in Serie A.
- The Nerazzurri have conceded at least nine shots in a Serie A first half for only the second time this season, after doing so against Milan last September (13).

What's next?

Inter host Lecce in Serie A next Sunday, while Bologna travel to Torino the following day.

A toothless attacking display from Inter saw them beaten 1-0 by Bologna on Sunday as Riccardo Orsolini scored to give the hosts all three points.

The Nerazzurri had four shots on target without scoring at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara as Napoli's charge towards a first Serie A title in more than two decades received yet another boost.

Musa Barrow saw an early goal disallowed for offside, though it would matter little as Orsolini fired home a 76th-minute winner to clinch victory and put another dent in Inter's already slim title hopes.

With an 18-point deficit to overturn, catching runaway leaders Napoli now looks a hugely improbable prospect for Inter as they may now have to focus on fending off the likes of Roma and Milan for second spot.

Bologna thought they were ahead after 12 minutes through a fine finish from Barrow, but a VAR review ruled the offside Nicolas Dominguez as having blocked Andre Onana's view.

The hosts continued to look the more threatening as Roberto Soriano hit the crossbar, though Lautaro Martinez should have done better when he sent a free header wide of the post. 

Clear-cut chances for both teams continued to be few and far between as the game went into the break goalless, but Hakan Calhanoglu missed a golden opportunity shortly after the interval when he blazed over.

Soriano saw a shot blocked, before Edin Dzeko came off the bench to force a decent save out of Lukasz Skorupski.

The deadlock would be broken with 14 minutes to play, though, as Orsolini latched onto Jerdy Schouten's throughball before firing home his fourth goal in five matches to claim an impressive victory.

Sinisa Mihajlovic was given a fond farewell by the good and great of Italian football as his funeral was held in Rome on Monday.

Former team-mates Roberto Mancini, Attilio Lombardo and Dejan Stankovic were among those who carried Mihajlovic's coffin out of the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels and of the Martyrs after the service, to the sound of applause from within the church.

Mihajlovic and Italy head coach Mancini were team-mates at Sampdoria and Lazio, with Mancini later also coaching Mihajlovic at Lazio before taking the then 35-year-old with him to Inter in 2004.

They had a close friendship, winning the Serie A title together with Sven-Goran Eriksson's Lazio in the 1999-2000 season, and doing so again at Inter in 2006, as player and coach.

Mihajlovic's death after a battle with leukaemia was announced on Friday, a shuddering jolt to the football community in Italy, where the popular former Yugoslavia international spent most of his career. He died last week at the age of 53.

After his playing days ended, Mihajlovic became Mancini's Inter assistant before having spells as a head coach with Bologna, Catania, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Milan, Torino and, finally, Bologna for a second time.

Mihajlovic was ousted as Bologna boss in September of this year, after a slow start to the season, and the players he left behind made the trip to Rome to pay tribute.

Mancini said ahead of the funeral that Mihajlovic had "fought like a lion until the last moment, as he was used to doing on the pitch".

As a player, Mihajlovic was a tough-tackling defender who also packed a fierce shot and became known as a free-kick expert.

Wife Arianna led the family at the funeral. She wrote on Instagram following Mihajlovic's death: "When you will no longer be part of me, I will carve out of your memory many little stars, then the sky will be so beautiful that the whole world will fall in love with the night."

She also posted a picture of the couple and their five children, stating: "I'll take care of them don't worry. Our greatest masterpiece! We'll never stop loving you."

Former Serbia, Lazio, Roma and Inter defender Aleksander Kolarov was among the mourners, along with Serie A luminaries including Francesco Totti, Franco Baresi, Daniele De Rossi, Angela Di Livio and Stefano Fiore.

The Corriere dello Sport newspaper reported the mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri, was also in attendance, along with Italy's sports minister, Andrea Abodi.

Sven-Goran Eriksson paid an affectionate tribute to Sinisa Mihajlovic as Italian football mourned an adopted son, saying his former Lazio star was a "fabulous player" who it was impossible to dislike.

Mihajlovic was part of Eriksson's Lazio team that won the 1999-2000 Serie A title, with his set-piece prowess, fierce tackling and combative attitude making Mihajlovic a standout figure in that era.

His death was announced by his family on Friday, with Mihajlovic succumbing to leukaemia at the age of 53.

As well as playing spells in Italy with Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter, Mihajlovic was a European Cup winner in 1991 with Red Star Belgrade and a long-time Yugoslavia international.

His free-kicks were among the best in the game, and he later took to coaching, with Milan, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Torino and Bologna among the clubs he led from the touchline.

Mihajlovic and Roberto Mancini, now the Italy head coach, were both highly influential figures in Eriksson's great Lazio side.

"Mihajlovic was a very successful player," Eriksson told Italian broadcaster Sky Sport 24. "For him there was no such thing as finishing second. He was generous, an intelligent and fabulous player. He was someone who helped everyone in the team, especially the youngsters. It's all very sad.

"He was a great coach even when he was still a player. He had to become a coach, it was known. He was a very intelligent player, he understood everything in football, I didn't need to talk about tactics with him.

"I don't know how many games Lazio have won due to his free-kicks or penalties. I remember that he was a very successful man and very helpful with everyone.

"He was different from me in terms of character, but the respect that existed was the secret of that team. This made Lazio great. It was impossible not to like Sinisa, he was positive, cheerful. It was a huge pleasure to work with him."

Former Lazio striker Christian Vieri added, in an Instagram post: "It's hard to find words today. Rest in peace great warrior."

Mihajlovic was sacked by Bologna in September after a disappointing start to the season, ending his second spell as head coach with the Rossoblu.

Milan great Andrea Pirlo paid his own tribute to Mihajlovic, writing: "A great man as well as being a great footballer... You have always proved to be a loyal warrior. Goodbye Sinisa."

Another former on-field adversary, Gabriel Batistuta, wrote: "How many battles on the field. Goodbye Sinisa."

Italian FA (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina said he was "deeply saddened".

"Sinisa was a protagonist on and off the field, an example of passion, determination and courage, able to inspire and excite," Gravina added. "Mihajlovic was a true champion as a player, as a coach, but above all as a person.

"In an era often marked by falsehood, he has always known how to put the truth before him, not underlining his defects and his weaknesses."

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis added his own salute, saying on Twitter: "A great man leaves too soon. A coach that in the past I had thought of bringing to Naples. A person of great human depth. A fighter who defied the disease with the courage of a lion."

Red Star Belgrade labelled Mihajlovic "a great star and a man with an incredible heart and strength", adding: "Our club expresses its deepest condolences to the Mihajlovic family. To him be eternal glory!"

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