Fiorentina 1-1 AC Milan: VAR controversy denies Rossoneri all three points in Florence

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan were denied all three points via a controversial refereeing display at the Stadio Artemio Franchi as they drew 1-1 with Fiorentina.

After Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored but saw his goal debatably ruled out for a handball, Ante Rebic gave Milan the lead with a deflected strike in the second half.

Dalbert was shown a straight red card for a foul on Ibrahimovic which appeared to put Stefano Pioli’s side in position to see out a win, but Erick Pulgar’s penalty inside the first 10 minutes – despite VAR again showing it to be a contentious decision – rescued a draw for the home side.

Pioli made two changes to the starting XI that were 1-0 winners against Torino on Monday night as Andrea Conti came back from suspension to replace Davide Calabria at right-back while Matteo Gabbia made his full debut for the club with Simon Kjaer out and Mateo Musacchio not risked.

In what was a cagey opening to the game, Ismael Bennacer went into the book for the 12th time this season in the 12th minute, before Milenkovic tested Donnarumma with a low shot through a crowd of bodies. Moments later, the Milan goalkeeper saw the ball almost stolen from him inside the area, but eventually Castrovilli fired over when he should have done better.

Dragowski was called into action for the first time in the 16th minute as a cross from the right side drifted towards both Ibrahimovic and Rebic in the area, however the Poland international saved well from the latter’s header.

Donnarumma was forced into a save as a cross from Fiorentina’s left was headed goalwards by Lirola; the Milan keeper saving comfortably despite being initially wrong-footed.

Calhanoglu went into the book 24 minutes in for bundling Castrovilli over as La Viola attempted a break.

The game continued to be a midfield battle with few opportunities at either end, but Bennacer should have done better 13 minutes before the break when he was unmarked 20 yards out but fired well over.

Not long after Milan thought they had taken the lead. It came through Zlatan Ibrahimovic; the Swede doing excellently to bundle through on goal before finishing from inside the area, however the referee ruled it out upon consultation with VAR for handball when he got possession.

Early in the second half Bennacer had yet another opportunity to test Dragowski in the home goal as a beautiful pass from Ibrahimovic found him via a dummy from Kessie, however the Algerian fired well over.

In the 52nd minute, Pioli was forced into a change as Donnarumma came off injured with what looked like a muscle issue in place of Asmir Begovic.

Begovic was tested inside the first 30 seconds as a Dalbert cross was directed goalwards by Chiesa’s header; the Bosnian saving well.

Three minutes before the hour mark the Rossoneri took the lead. A ball into the box wasn’t properly dealt with by German Pezzella, and Ante Rebic swooped in to capitalise by firing in via a deflection from Martin Caceres.

Just after the hour mark, Giuseppe Iachini’s side went down to ten men. Ibrahimovic was played through on goal and after initially giving a yellow card, Dalbert was sent off for what was adjudged to be a last-man challenge.

Fiorentina had a huge chance to level despite Milan’s numerical superiority as Dusan Vlahovic found space on the left side on the counter-attack, however the Serbian fired narrowly wide of the far post.

With just over 16 minutes to play, Gabbia was brought off in place of the more experienced Mateo Musacchio.

A second change was made by Milan inside the final ten minutes as Samu Castillejo – who appeared to be carrying a knock – was replaced by Alexis Saelemaekers.

There was yet another moment of controversy in the 85th minute as Fiorentina were awarded a penalty for an alleged foul on former Milan striker Patrick Cutrone. Upon VAR review it appeared as though Romagnoli got a touch on the ball, but the spot kick was upheld and Pulgar fired home the penalty to make it 1-1.

After the leveller Milan didn’t pick respond, and Caceres was denied by Begovic at the near post in injury time with what would have been a lovely winning goal.

Tags AC Milan Fiorentina Milan
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