(CNN) -- David Beckham's AC Milan capped a disappointing week with a 2-1 defeat at Sampdoria which leaves them 12 points adrift of arch-rivals Inter in the Serie A title race and looking over their shoulders as they bid to seal a Champions League spot.
Beckham applauds the Milan fans after being substituted at Sampdoria.
Carlo Ancelotti's ageing Milan team threw away a two-goal lead in midweek to crash out of the UEFA Cup to Werder Bremen and their latest defeat came after Antonio Cassano gave the Genoa-based side the lead in the 33rd minute.
Cassano's header was ruled to have squeezed over the line as Milan protested and the visitors were in further trouble after Gianpaolo Pazzini made it 2-0 early in the second half from a Cassano pass.
Alexandre Pato scored with a clever header in the 80th minute to give Milan some hope they were unable to grab the equalizer as Emerson's effort was ruled out.
The poor results represent bad timing for Beckham, who is hoping his newly-adopted club will meet Los Angeles Galaxy's demands to make his loan move permanent.
He is due to return to the Major League Soccer team on March 9 if no deal can be reached.
Fortunately for Milan, Fiorentina and Genoa, the two teams immediately below them in the league, both failed to win on Sunday.
Fiorentina drew 1-1 at bottom club Reggina as Emiliano Bonnazoli equalized after Alessio Sestu had put Reggina ahead.
Genoa were held to a goalless draw by Siena and stay sixth.
Inter, held to a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to AS Roma in Sunday's late match, top the standings with 60 points, followed by Juventus with 53, Milan with 48 and Fiorentina with 46. Genoa have 45.
Jose Mourinho's men looked to be heading for defeat in the San Siro after they trailed 2-0 and 3-1.
But a double from youngster Mario Balotelli and a late equalizer from Hernan Crespo gave them a last-gasp point.