AC Milan’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League took another dent as they were held to a 1-1 draw by lowly Udinese.
Krzysztof Piatek’s first-half goal appeared to have somewhat helped settle an expectant San Siro crowd; the Poland international ending a run of two Serie A starts without a goal.
A cautious start to the second period ended up costing the Rossoneri, though it was a counter-attack which allowed Kevin Lasagna to level for the visiting side with a tidy finish.
Milan probed late on but were devoid once again of any real quality, dropping two crucial points.
Gennaro Gattuso shocked everybody by making a number of changes from the expected XI, including starting Ignazio Abate, Diego Laxalt and Lucas Biglia in a 4-3-1-2.
Milan made the better start and had their first chance inside three minutes, as good work from Piatek saw him get to the byline and provide a low cross for Patrick Cutrone, who mishit his effort from inside the area.
Gattuso was forced into a change in the 12th minute after Gianluigi Donnarumma failed to properly recover from jarring his knee in the early stages; Pepe Reina coming on in his place to make his league debut for the club.
Lucas Paqueta was preferred over Suso in the position behind the strikers and came close to breaking the deadlock midway through the first period with an effort from 25 yards that whizzed past the near right post.
Moments later the Rossoneri came close to taking the lead as the San Siro crowd began to gain in volume. A wonderful ball from Paqueta over the top was well brought down by Cutrone, but Juan Musso was equal to his effort on the volley as he palmed it to safety.
Five minutes before the break though Paqueta was forced off too; the Brazilian exiting with an ankle problem and being replaced by Samu Castillejo.
That didn’t deter Milan though and they took the lead moments before half time as the two strikers linked up perfectly. Cutrone again showed wonderful close control to get crossing position inside the box, and he curled a gorgeous ball over to Piatek who converted from close range at the second attempt.
GOOOOAAAAALLL! PIATEK! pic.twitter.com/St7mQF5IK1
— MilanGifs (@MilanGifs) April 2, 2019
The away side chose to make a tactical change at the break, with Wilmot coming on for Samir as Igor Tudor’s side looked to generate even a half chance to get back into the contest.
After a tentative opening 20 minutes to the second-half, Milan went from almost doubling their advantage to conceding at the other. A goalmouth scramble from a corner ended with Piatek failing to convert, and Udinese broke through Seko Fofana who squared to Lasagna to make it 1-1.
Marco De Maio should have given the Bianconeri the lead minutes later as he was found in space by a precise free-kick, however he could only glance his header wide.
They had another golden chance to take the lead through the goalscorer Lasagna who was played through on goal by Rodrigo De Paul, though this time he could only fire wide of the near post.
Milan began to then press for the winner as the away side contained to try and protect a point, and Castillejo arguably should have scored when a cross was flicked on to him at the penalty spot, but he could only fire straight at Musso.
Alessio Romagnoli could have done better when a corner found him around the penalty spot on added time, though his header lacked power or placement as the sides were forced to share the spoils.