AC Milan’s season hit a new low point on Tuesday night as they were hammered 4-0 by Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico.
For the third game in a row Milan found themselves two goals down at half-time, with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Mattia Zaccagni each netting from inside the area to give Stefano Pioli’s men a second half mountain to climb.
Unlike he Lecce game there would be no heroics though, as a penalty from Luis Alberto and a fourth from Felipe Anderson condemned the Rossoneri to a hiding in the capital which continues a bad 2023.
The defeat not only probably hands the title to Napoli who now have a 12-point lead atop the table, but it leaves the top four race wide open with Lazio climbing into third and Milan now sitting just one point above Roma in fifth.
Pioli made a couple of changes to his starting line-up compared to the team that lost to Inter last week and both came in defence, with Pierre Kalulu returning and Sergino Dest stepping in for the absent Theo Hernandez.
It took less than five minutes for Milan’s fragile defence to be breached, as Lazio took the lead through Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. An attack down the right flank saw Felipe Anderson roll a ball into the box that was dummied by Luis Alberto and was swept home first time by the Serbian midfielder.
In truth, the exchanges that followed resembled a side with an obvious plan and some cohesion in their pressing, while the other team instead seemed more focused on knocking the ball long and hoping for some individual brilliance from Rafael Leao.
Milan tested Provedel for the first time on 18 minutes when Sandro Tonali turned into space just over 20 yards out and let fly with a fierce shot that deflected straight down the middle of the goal for an easy save.
There was another setback suffered midway through the first half as Fikayo Tomori collapsed in a heap having taken a knock on his hip, and he had to be replaced by Simon Kjaer.
Things went from bad to worse a few minutes later as Ismael Bennacer had a foul awarded against him for putting an arm in his opponent’s face and he reacted by kicking the ball away, resulting in a yellow card that sees him banned for the Sassuolo game on Sunday.
Just like in their last two games, Milan left themselves with a mountain to climb by going two goals down in the first half. This time the attack came down the left side, with Pedro putting Marusic through on goal and his shot hitting the post before rebounding into the path of Zaccagni, who essentially ran into the ball to put it in from a couple of yards out.
Milan were inches away from getting themselves back into the game in the opening minutes of the second half with what would have been a stunning free-kick from Bennacer. The Algerian got his effort over the wall via a very slight deflection that took it narrowly wide of the near post with Provedel at full stretch.
The Rossoneri were lucky to hear the referee’s whistle when Kjaer went into the back of his man and earned a yellow card, because it meant Lazio were denied an advantage that would have seen them through on goal.
After a counter-attack had been squandered by a poor pass from Tonali to Messias, a triple change was made which saw Alexis Saelemaekers, Divock Origi and Charles De Ketelaere come on for Messias, Diaz and Giroud.
Lazio were given the chance to put the result to bed with 25 minutes left on the clock as a ball in behind Milan’s defence was not met by anyone allowing Zaccagni to burst onto the loose ball and cut it back to Pedro in the box, who was chopped down by Kalulu. Luis Alberto took on the responsibility from the spot, and hammered it down the middle.
Three goals became four with a quarter of an hour left and again it came down Milan’s right side. Zaccagni got the better of Calabria yet again and found Luis Alberto, who played a lovely ball into the path of Felipe Anderson which allowed him to spin and convert unmarked on the penalty spot.