AC Milan dropped more points in the race for the top four as they were held to a 1-1 draw by 16th-placed Salernitana on Monday night.
It looked as if Milan were on course to take advantage of the poor results for Inter, Lazio and Roma as they took a one-goal lead into the break courtesy of Olivier Giroud’s header from a corner, however the lead was squandered.
The Rossoneri’s defence had looked shaky in the first half and they were punished in the second with Boulaye Dia’s first time finish at the near post taking advantage of a lack of coverage.
Despite having a couple of efforts cleared off the line it was just not Milan’s night, meaning they missed out on the chance to go level on points with Inter in second and instead remain fourth in the league.
Stefano Pioli chose to make two changes to the starting line-up compared to the team that drew with Spurs to secure progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League as Alexis Saelemaekers came in for the injured Junior Messias at wing-back and Ismael Bennacer joined Rade Krunic in the midfield.
There wasn’t an awful lot to get the over 72,000 fans off their seats at San Siro in the opening exchanges, with the main threat from Milan being a cross from Saelemaekers on the right that was cleared with Olivier Giroud lining up a volley.
Brahim Diaz had a frustrating start to the game as he found himself getting bumped and bundled off the ball, but he did well to spin and win a free-kick around 20 yards out in the 13th minute, though Bennacer saw his effort blocked behind.
The Rossoneri’s first big chance of the game came midway through the first half as Theo Hernandez was stopped by Gyomber but the ball fell to Rafael Leao who flashed a shot across the face of goal that just needed touching in.
Five minutes later Giroud tried the spectacular as he launched into a bicycle kick and got on the end of the corner that came in from the left, getting a good connection on the ball but just sending it over the bar.
The best way to describe Milan in possession in the first half would be sloppy and it nearly proved fatal just after the half-hour mark as a giveaway from Bennacer saw Kastanos pick up the ball in a dangerous position inside the box with Maignan off his line yet Krunic did well to divert it wide and save his midfield partner.
At the other end of the field Leao was again at the heart of danger as he cut onto his right foot and curled one towards the far corner that took a deflected and fizzed wide.
If there were any doubts about how special Maignan is – and there shouldn’t be by now – he dispelled them minutes before the break. A mix-up at the back between Thiaw and Kalulu saw Dia get through on goal, yet Maignan came off his line and cut out the danger with a slide tackle Paolo Maldini would have been proud of watching on.
Milan capitalised on Salernitana’s missed opportunities in the minute added at the end of the first half and the goal came from Olivier Giroud. An in-swinging corner from Bennacer on the right met the head of the Frenchman perfectly and he nodded home from close range.
Pioli’s men had the first chance of the second half and rather fittingly for how Leao’s night was going it was he who missed it. Bennacer did well to beat a couple of players on the dribble and fire a low ball into the near post that the Portuguese winger deflected wide.
The goal scorer Giroud had been penalised for a number of clumsy fouls when tracking back from his position up front and just before the hour he finally went into the book, with the yellow card meaning he misses the game at Udinese.
Not long after that Salernitana got the goal that their pressure in the first half had suggested they might be capable of, and it came from their main threat Boulaye Dia. It was a defensive mix-up that led to the goal as nobody picked up the run of the Senegalese forward who finished first time from Candreva’s low cross.
The response from Pioli was a triple sub as Leao, Brahim Diaz and Giroud came off for Charles De Ketelaere, Divock Origi and Zlatan Ibrahimović, moments before Bennacer flashed a shot over the bar.
With 20 minutes left on the clock Milan were awarded a penalty by the referee La Penna as Bennacer took a tumble in the box, however he was called over by the VAR chief Banti and overturned his decision given there seemed to be no contact.
Milan were inches away from retaking the lead when a cross from the right flank was aimed towards Ibrahimovic and Origi at the far post, with the latter chesting an effort on goal that Ochoa made a fantastic reaction save on his line to deny.
The last couple of changes from Pioli saw Alessandro Florenzi and Sandro Tonali come on for Saelemaekers and Bennacer.
With just over three minutes remaining Milan were left questioning how they didn’t get back in front. A cross flew across goal to Theo who dinked one back over the other way that Ochoa scrambled to stop before again clawing the rebound from Florenzi back off the line.
There was what would best be described as a bench-clearing altercation in the fifth minute of the six added on at the end of the 90 minutes with Theo taking exception to Salernitana’s attempts to stop him taking a throw-in.
Again the same. They can’t manage to complete 2 games in a row. Milan will need a BIG BIIIG luck to finish top 4 this season.
what the f*ck?
F*** Pioli! Any coach with half a brain knows to make substitutions BEFORE their concedes when they haven’t played for 15 minutes at all. Home team was left in the half time and didn’t show up at all.
And when that f*cker finally makes the substitutions, he brings in CDK & Origi. The two men with millions of goals and excellent performances day after day. FFS!!! Anyone but them! ANYONE!
You get what you deserve. Thanks to Pioli!
*before they concede…
Well, when you have this roster, you can’t do better?
Leao is totally fu*ked up, Giroud old, also Ibra.
Milan is paying full price with too old old too young, inexperienced players.
Who exactly should Pioli bring in? We have no depth. Origi almost scored and was denied on the line by Uchoa. Brahim worked hard and was tired. Pioli brought Ibra in as well and he almost scored too, again denied by Uchoa, and the same happened to Florenzi whose header Uchoa cleared on the line. I don’t think this was Pioli’s fault. We were rather unlucky and deserved to win. If there was someone to blame, it was Thiaw who didn’t mark his man when we conceded, adding to two other blunders he committed earlier.
It was more about WHEN to make the changes than who to bring in. If you haven’t managed to do anything in the first 15 minutes of 2nd half, you make the first substitution at 60min mark – at latest.
Pioli did nothing. Nothing but wait. As did the players. They just waited and didn’t play. And waiting for awarded. With an insanely poorly defended conceded goal. WTF was Tomori doing there btw?
Origi “almost scoring” (or CDK for that matter) isn’t going to cut it. Almost doing something doesn’t bring us the points. I’d be asking “how the **** didn’t Origi score a goal from that chance?!” than pat him on the back for “ALMOST scoring”.
Attack again frustrating to watch, leao out of form, giroud only bright spot and both wings just couldn’t do anything…. It’s high time to think about quality players on that right hand side and a quality backup to Theo and leao is seriously needed, this isn’t good. Attack just won’t score…..
And how was it NOT A PENALTY when Hernandez was pushed down from behind? Even my blind neighbor saw it even though he doesn’t have a f’ng telly!
A disgraceful performance in front of 70k spectators. This type of game is where we feel we can sell Leao without any hesitation. But then again, we don’t have any better replacement to do anything about it.
Maybe we need to change formation, and keep 3 in defence. Than we don’t need Leao cause he can’t play with striker in pair.
If he can be sold than who knows what other profiles players can be bought…
The system was built around Leao, or his role. As ugly as we are with him on the field, we’re not playing any better without him on the field. Past match against Fiorentina can serve as a perfect example.
Let’s see whether he’ll stay with us or not by next season. If we eventually sell him, sure, we can talk about radically changing the system without the Leao or Leaoesque role in it.
Leao, he has taken laziness to a whole new level. I got sick of watching him make a mess of himself. I expected Pioli to sub him at 50th minute, I still don’t know why players ain’t mad at him. Zero work rate. I know a lot of Leao ass lickers would rise
Piolis days are at an end at Milan as manager
The squad is responding when need
He is failing to inspire them to play for him
Pioli has to do something about his tactics. Wheater it is the 4231 or the 3421 the instructions are the same…hit crosses and hope. This team cannot play the ball through the center. Everytime the ball is in the middle of the pitch the players are just standing there, no movement what so ever. He has unlocked the motivation side of being a manager but he does not have the tactical know how.
Brahim diaz should not be a player of this club next season he was way too easily dispossessed. Get enzo le fee or van de boomen or someone else but I should not see diaz#10 next season. Leao does not deserve the salary that we are offering as he is only a system player. He does not know what to do if he is not in a team that gives him 1 v 1 with the opposition fullback.
The opponent is Tottenham, and you need to defend? Use 5-4-1.
The opponent is Salernitana and you need to attack? Use 5-4-1 again!
Wtf Pioli? Zero adaptivity….
We ain’t going anywhere like this…
When was the last time Leao played very well? Yeah,right, I don’t remember it either.
Whole team waiting for a Hero.. And they think a 41 year old will be it?
The 2 man mid hasnt been working this whole season and yet here we are, still pushing that rock up a hill.. and then he subs off the best player of the game for Tonali who has been lost since Franky left for barca.. Lol
Leao just wants a fat paycheck. He’s not interested in playing football. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind sitting on the bench while he earns his millions. I don’t care what kind of talent he has but that attitude to work of his is just too bad. I’m eager to see him leave. No big club would tolerate such a nonchalant attitude. Maldini is too weak to be a director. Pioli is not a top-level coach. I think we should all know that by now.
I’m seriously angry with this team and I lost money today cos I was waiting jst 4 milan 2 win and at d end of d day they messed up
I wouldn’t say I regret been a rossonero
Leão almost scored 3 times and created other opportunities that his companions didn’t capitalize on. Not his fault. What’s with everybody always bashing Leão here? Up to today’s goal by Giroud, Leão was tied with him for the most season goals, and Leão has the most assists, the most shots, and the most shots on target of the season. Look at ESPN’s stats for confirmation. It’s definitely not Leão’s fault.
Have you seen any games in 2023? Stop looking at stats from last year, Leao is completely useless now. The sad thing is that our squad is garbage so he starts anyway. I can’t wait to see him leave, along with Pioli.
I’ve seen all games in 2022/23; I haven’t missed one. The stats I’ve mentioned are stats for the CURRENT season, not last season’s when he did even better. Yes, in 2023 he had a dip in form but he STILL leads the team in most categories, for the season. Beware of what you wish for. If he leaves, we’ll be even worse. By the way, he played very well against Tottenham.
Please tell me that you’re being sarcastic.
Trying watching an actual game please help, WTF do you mean by almost scored? Did his almost scoring give us the victory? If we go by almost scoring so you know where Osimen would be on the chat of “almost scoring” players?
Leao was terrible to watch, completely useless today
I did watch the game… and all others played by Milan. I haven’t missed a single one. Including, a few of them in person at San Siro. No, almost scoring didn’t give us the victory but he had three opportunities that didn’t go in by a hair, two of them having been deflected by the defense through more luck than anything, and one of them, it would have needed just a tap-in if his companions had followed what he did. No, I don’t agree that he was terrible to watch or useless.
“Leão almost scored 3 times and created other opportunities”
Almost scored 3 times?!!!! With his long range shoots from 35 meters? LOL. Yeah, right.
Created opportunities?!!! You mean the passes and crosses that went to the stands? He couldn’t get a single decent ball to teammates all night. Not once.
Maaaan, you’d better take off those Leao-optimized glasses because you’re not seeing what was really going on.
How long can maldini let this go on pioli needs to go and go now so that we can make into top four he has lost his way with the squad. .i could not believe what I was watching to night. We should be burying teams like this at home. I no the players that he has are not the best sale makers CDk origi Etc are not going to make it Giroud Ibra to old now .i said two months ago let leao go and take the money he does not want to play for us I Watch him he is bloody lazy. I’m glad i am not paying in to watch that load of crap.
Giroud isn’t the problem. He scored the goal and almost scored another (with a bicycle kick I might add!). He was once again one of the best on the pitch.
E.g. Origi & CDK have no excuses to be on the pitch though.