AC Milan 1-1 Udinese: Lethargic Rossoneri drop two more vital points in title race

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan dropped two more crucial points in the title race as they were once again held to a 1-1 draw by Udinese at San Siro on Friday night.

Milan went into the break a goal up thanks to Rafael Leao’s exceptional work inside the box to outmuscle Rodrigo Becao and open up his body to finish, but in truth there was never the impression that the team were in control of the game.

An equaliser came in the second half after a spell of pressure from the visitors when substitute Isaac Success bundled in from close range, and after that the Rossoneri failed to really create anything in another lethargic and error-laden performance.

The result is another damaging one against a side in and around the bottom end of the table, and it gives Inter the chance to pull level if they win against Genoa at the Marassi.

Stefano Pioli made just one change to his starting line-up compared to the team that drew 2-2 against Salernitana as Franck Kessie came in to partner Sandro Tonali in the double pivot, with Ismael Bennacer out due to suspension.

There were a couple of early incidents of note as inside the first minute Rafael Leao went down inside the Udinese box when trying to latch onto a ball and he thought he had been fouled, but the referee Marchetti waved his appeals away, while up the other end Beto sent a header from a Molina cross straight into the arms of Mike Maignan.

As Milan tried to manufacture an early breakthrough, the away side again provided a reminder of the threat they pose on the counter as Molina fired a low ball in from the right that Tomori did well to divert behind for a corner.

There was an incident somewhat reminiscent of the Spezia debacle earlier in the season when Brahim Diaz was brought down but the referee chose to whistle early rather than play an obvious advantage that would have had Milan away down the right wing.

In the 20th minute Brahim Diaz’s nice pass through to Leao on the left side of the box, though the Portuguese winger dragged his low shot narrowly wide of the far post from a tough angle.

The opening half an hour was mostly characterised by a growing frustration about Milan’s set piece deliveries, which were almost always taken short and ended with a delivery straight into Silvestri’s arms or floating too far and out to safety. Davide Calabria did angle a fierce shot that fizzed low and wide of the far post in the 27th minute.

Having not created a real concrete opportunity, Milan took the lead just before the half-hour mark and it came through Rafael Leao. A ball was clipped towards the former Lille man and he held off Becao before steadying himself and slotting under Silvestri with fantastic composure to move on to 11 goals for the season.

There were two moments of worry for the Rossoneri; the first being when Leao dropped to the ground after a heavy landing clutching his ankle but he decided to continue, and the second came when Beto tested Maignan with a header that the Frenchman did well to clutch while back-peddling.

Udinese had a penalty appeal in the opening stages of the second half as a long ball over the top found Beto in behind Tomori and the Portuguese striker thought he was held by the English defender as the ball bounced in front of him but the replays showed there was minimal contact.

In truth the Rossoneri were struggling to control and manage the game in the same way they did against Sampdoria in the 1-0 win, often surrendering possession in dodgy areas. Arslan let fly after a free-kick was not properly cleared and dragged a shot narrowly wide just before the hour, but it might have been offside on Beto anyway.

Moments after Molina got the better of Theo and got in behind down the right but squared to nobody when he should have shot, a double change came to freshen things up. Alexis Saelemaekers and Ante Rebic came on for Messias and Giroud.

In truth, the equaliser was coming and Udinese got it in the 66th minute. A throw into the box was not properly dealt with and Deulofeu’s deflected shot looped up to Pereyra who hooked it back across goal where Destiny Udogie was waiting to bundle in from close range.

Milan had a huge chance to get the advantage back as Brahim Diaz flicked a perfect ball over the top to find Leao in behind and although he managed to knock it over the top of Silvestri, he was just beaten to the ball on the other side.

There was another big chance 12 minutes from time when Theo Hernandez’s deflected shot from distance fell to Romagnoli at the far post and the Udinese keeper saved well even though the flag went up, though the replays showed the call was tight and the goal may have stood.

Another change came with six minutes left as Daniel Maldini came on for Brahim Diaz in the playmaker role, and seconds later Romagnoli directed a header on goal that resulted in an easy save.

In the end Milan wouldn’t fashion any other chances in what was yet another indication that this side is lacking the ruthless streak required to seriously challenge for the title.

Tags AC Milan Milan-Udinese


  1. Guys please stop this “race for the title”, there is not such a thing. Let’s face it, the absolute goal is to secure top 4. And it won’t be easy.

    1. I disagree with you because Milan is a big name of Italian football and European football. So the goal should be about winning titles, otherwise the team shouldn’t exist. Imagine a team like Real Madrid having that mindset. You can’t think like that about big brand names

      1. Of course the goal SHOULD not only the scudetto but the CL itself. But let’s face it the team is not up for the task, at least not as it is right now. Just be realistic.

        1. I’m realistic. I’m not saying that this current team will win the Scudetto. But I’m saying that winning the scudetto and other titles should be among the goals of the team. The team needs reinforcements to achieve that and it is starting to be noticeable in the second half of the season as it was last season. Especially some experience is needed. Also it has been noticeable that Kessie isn’t the same. Milan needs another midfielder there for sure

        2. Winning the Scudetto is realistic. Do you really think Inter and Napoli are MUCH better teams than us.We beat Inter 2 wks ago. We have the ability to win the Scudetto but the team lacks focus and consistency and that’s why we are all annoyed. We are able to win the title..and we have had the chance to do so but we have given it away.

          1. Of course it isn’t unrealistic, but Inter has had coaches with more experienced who have helped the team to be more psychological prepared. Conte won many titles before going to Inter. Milan hasn’t had a successful coach since Allegri. I think that has made a huge difference. This current team is lacking some deep approach and a better leader. Tonali has been taking that position, but he still lacks the experience. Giroud is good, but not reliable. I don’t know what else to think about this Milan after so many dropped points!!! Milan should be ahead of Inter by many points and now how it is reflected. Indeed the team needs investment in the summer to be more confident and try to fight for more

    2. I think Milan fans are right to be disappointed. Inter and Napoli have been dropping points lately, yet we are not taking advantage, even without the distraction of European football like those 2.
      When we finished last in the UCL group,we all consoled ourselves with solely focussing on the title but we’ve choked it away

  2. Milan gave its farewell to the Scudetto. It is a team with many young players, but the team needs some experience and it was noticeable. Although Milan had another referee against the team, but either way the team has shown terrible performances lately. I think Italian football is having a decline again because most teams are also playing terrible in Europe

    1. Milan don’t lack leadership. Romagnoli is 27. Giroud is 35. Maignan is 26. Pioli is NOT the man to win us trophies. We have to upgrade to a bigger manager.

  3. I said it last week, and I’ll say it again. “Milan don’t have the players”. Are there still any dreamers here who think Milan can win the scudetto with these players. Pioli overachieved beyond the expectations of the management with what he has at his disposal. Immediately Leao picked up the knock in the first half we stopped attacking, Theo couldn’t do the pressing all alone. Leao didn’t get himself back until the 75th minutes.

    Milan only play well when the opponent allows us to the space to. We struggle to unlock teams defences, we struggle against teams that sit deep. Our right wing still doesn’t offer much threat. It’s all about the left wing for Milan. Before the first whistle, we are already handicapped with a player like Diaz on the pitch. This will go on till the end of the season. Giroud of course wasn’t in the game.

    Rebic seems to be a yellow card magnet off of the bench. Although today’s card was a bit harsh you might argue. At least it’s good to see the boys learning the hard way that being a goal up is the same as 0-0 until the final whistle is blown. I feel sorry for the psychological effect this might have on players.

    Not being a pessimist, but the reality has to be faced fair and square. Well, we try again next season. Forza Milan.

    1. You’re completely right. The team needs a more extensive and quality bench, in order to win the Serie A. That’s why Inter has been taking advantage because it has the best bench of all teams in Italy. They were mentioning the idea of Conte. Well thinking well, it could be good for Milan to have a coach with experience. Although a lot of money would have to be spent

  4. There’s no passion, there’s no vision there’s no fucking mindset in this team. You don’t win titles like this, you need to make things count.

  5. Milan didn’t deserve to win tonight. Awful performance again. Total lack of creativity and even worse, spirit. Udinese’s equalizer was clearly and obviously illegal. Having said that, Milan played absolutely horrible.

  6. Yeah.. Race of title for seria C.. Cause I don’t think such performance should be leading the league table.. What an eye sore performance..

  7. I think top 4 is the target, no title.
    I will put the blame on the management because I said it from the start of the league that Dias can’t play the playmaker role well for a season, the risk by management backfired, then not find upgrade to the RW another risk that backfired. Then we come to the depth of the team. The players bought during transfer have been poor or average. They haven’t improved the team from last season. It has been the same players from last season.
    Lastly Pioli also need to change somethings and tactics. Also it look like the players are too comfortable with Pioli. They need extra or new ideas and motivation.

  8. Milan is NOT in the “Title Race”. This side would be the WORST Serie A champions ever if they somehow sneaked a Scudetto.
    Inter has men playing for them, we have a bunch of weaklings that crumble at the first sign of pressure.
    Instead of building on that derby win, they’ve gone back to being LAZY and dropping 4 pts in 2 winnable games vs Salerno and Udinese.
    This team is mentally weak.
    Congs to Inter for winning a 2nd Star and their 20th Scudetto. Until MILAN fires Pioli gets a Coach who can actually win trophies, they will CHOKE like this.
    We’ll probably be back in the UCL next year and will get bounced again. Pioli can’t get us to the next level. Bring in Conte from Spurs or Ten Haag from Ajax please. Elliot need to invest more money in the team too

  9. What a disgussting match , just like i expected ,game flow was like 2 passes 1 foul all the time ,this made me hate football, just for info match ended with 30-20 freekicks , 50 free kicks on one match,briliant job by referee u made a s*** of this game

  10. Romagnoli was terrible today. Not just his mistake missing the clearance on Udine’s goal; but got outmuscled several times, made a couple of bad passes and his headers off of corners were so weak, there is no point to send them to goalkeeper if so weak — better to flick on toward other teammates who can get the 2nd ball and maybe score.

    Messias has one good game then 2 or 3 bad ones; then 1 or 2 good games in a row and then 3 or 4 or 5 bad ones. Today = bad. Bad first touches, bad passing, bad runs. Just so predictable and poor.

    Leao was not the same after that first half foul that hurt him (should’ve been a yellow card; was borderline red card).

    Diaz i’m usually critical of; but he was actually one of the bright spots today I think. Also 88 minute mark, that was a handball by Udine man w/ arm away from body IN THE BOX and should’ve been a PK. Also some other terrible calls — out of bounds on Rafa was wrong; that foul on Kessie late was Udine guy tripped on his own feet. Referee hurt us today.

    overall, not an inspired performance though, very disappointing. ;-(

  11. If you put together a bargain basement team, you get this kind of performance. Elliott’s penny-pinching is to blame. Until Milan get some serious investment, they won’t win anything.

  12. Pioli said that they want to improve their previous season by getting more points but regardless of that the last two perfomances are not acceptable regardless how its twisted or turned and i dont give a damn about any excuses about learning and improving from todays and last weekends match mistakes as there simply isnt one good excuse for losing 4 points in the last 2 games.
    Imagine had we had belotti in our fold. a leader
    on ther pitch and lethal in front of goal who hooks up great with the midfield and has great work ethics and easily finds room in space between defenders.

  13. Milan spent €5 million in January to bring in a player that might never play for Milan except after some good performance loan spells. And Lyon paid €15 million for Faivre. A player that wanted to join Milan and would have had his say in our quest for trophy this season…… Let that sink in next time you think the management doesn’t have the investment power or maybe you think they are worried about FFP.

    Think about this too when you try to believe the rumours of Botman and Renato Sanchez.

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