AC Milan 1-2 Spezia: Gyasi nets late winner as the Rossoneri fall victim to officials again

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan were stunned in the final minute by lowly Spezia as they won for the first time ever at San Siro thanks to a last minute goal from Emmanuel Gyasi. 

Everything was going according to plan at half-time thanks to Rafael Leao’s superb lob in added time, which came after Theo Hernandez had rolled a penalty wide just a couple of minutes prior, but things unravelled in the second half for the home side.

Kevin Agudelo came off the bench and instantly became the best player for Spezia, equalising with a well-taken goal at the near post after a feed from Verde. Milan thought they had won it when Junior Messias fired into the top corner but the referee whistled and had not played advantage, and then the final dagger came in the final few seconds when Emmanuel Gyasi finished a counter-attack to win it for the away side.

The result means that Milan missed the chance to overtake Inter and go top of the table, remaining two points behind their city rivals who have a game in hand, with the derby looming in early February.

Stefano Pioli made several changes to the team that beat Genoa in the cup last Thursday as Alessandro Florenzi, Tiemoue Bakyoko, Alexis Saelemaekers, Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all made their way back into the team.

It was the Rossoneri who made the better start to the game and they had a couple of half chances inside the opening four minutes. The first saw Leao get the ball in space wide on the left and curl an effort narrowly wide of the far upright, while the second was a cut-back that Brahim failed to control on the edge of the six-yard box, which would have created a huge opportunity if he had.

Both sides constructed some nice attacking moves in the opening exchanges, with Leao again causing trouble this time via a jinking run down the centre, spreading the ball wide to Saelemaekers who cut inside and saw his shot blocked. A corner not long after was headed wide at the near post by Gabbia when he could have done better as Milan continued to dominate the chances.

Leao once more showed all of his explosive ability in the 16th minute as he got in isolation with Amian and shifted onto his left foot before shooting fiercely towards the bottom corner, though Provedel was equal to it with an excellent save.

There was another big chance for Milan to take the lead as confusion again consumed the Spezia defence, with Saelemaekers getting the ball in space inside the box before cutting onto his left foot and dropping Erlic in the process, yet his attempt was blocked and Ibrahimovic fired over from a narrow angle seconds later.

The man wearing number 17 was causing the Ligurian visitors all kinds of problems, and midway through the second half he nutmegged an opponent before sending the ball wide to Saelemaekers, but fired over first time after the cut-back from the Belgian.

Ibrahimovic was the latest to draw a save from Provedel in the 27th minute as a fantastic mid-air flick from Saelemaekers found the Swede and he bumped Erlic out of the way prior to firing low on goal, forcing the Spezia stopper to use his feet and save.

Up the other end Thiago Motta’s side provided a reminder of their danger as a quick break got Reca in behind with Gabbia playing him onside, though Maignan saved and gathered. Moments later, Ibrahimovic shot a couple of yards wide from distance.

Milan continued to find openings from anywhere on the field without scoring as Florenzi raked a 60-yard pass over the top to Leao who brought it down impressively but saw a shot blocked for a corner.

Provedel remained the busier of the two goalkeepers and he was called into a full stretch diving stop to deny Saelemaekers after he cut inside onto his left foot and angled a shot that was heading for the far corner.

However, he was to turn from hero to villain two minutes before the break as he was slowest to a throw-in that Leao poked beyond him before being kicked on the back of the leg. Both went down and initially a foul was given on the Portuguese winger but VAR reviewed it and gave a penalty, which Theo Hernandez stepped up to take and inexplicably rolled it wide with Provedel motionless.

In the one minute of added time at the end of the first half, Milan got the lead their early pressure had deserved and rather predictably it came through Leao. A ball over the top towards the former Lille man from Krunic took a slight but fortuitous deflection that put him through on goal, and he finished over Provedel with a cheeky lob as he was caught in No Man’s Land.

Gyasi certainly lived a very charmed life to begin the second half as the winger – who was given a yellow card in the first half – escaped a second booking for pulling on Theo’s shirt as he surged away, which came after he chopped Ibra down a few minutes before.

Ibrahimovic had the first opportunity of the second 45 minutes as the No.11 was fed by Saelemaekers, cutting onto his left foot and curling wide. The Belgian’s last action of the game would be drawing a save from Provedel at the near post in a move very similar to how he scored against Genoa in the cup, with Junior Messias coming on.

Maignan made a smart stop at his near post just before the hour mark as a lapse in concentration allowed Amian to receive the ball in space inside the box before turning and firing but being thwarted.

Spezia began to press more and more, and they got an equaliser in the 64th minute through the substitute Kevin Agudelo. The ball was worked out wide to Verde who had all the time in the world to pick out a teasing low cross that the striker got to at the near post and finished.

Moments after Messias headed a cross onto the roof of the net, a double change followed. Davide Calabria and Olivier Giroud were the players who came on, with Florenzi and Brahim Diaz the ones to make way.

There was a moment of anxiety for Milan as Spezia weren’t far away from taking the lead with Agudelo again the man at the centre of it all, beating his man to the byline and cutting it back into a dangerous area but just a couple of yards behind Kovalenko. Ante Rebic came on for Leao moments after.

Milan’s big final chance of normal time came in the final 15 seconds of the 90 minutes as a long ball was flicked was flicked on by Rebic into Ibrahimovic who spun and fired on the half volley but straight at Provedel.

There was an absolutely baffling moment in added time as the referee blew early for a foul on Rebic as the ball rolled into Messias who slotted into the top corner for the winner. No advantage was played and the Milan players were understandably furious.

To make matters worse Provedel then made a flying save to deny Ibrahimovic from the resulting free-kick and then again from the 40-year-old from the corner, tipping it onto the crossbar.

Tags AC Milan Milan Spezia


  1. Let’s be honest here guys, even if Messia’s goal was allowed this is not a scudetto winning team. We had an amazing attack first half but could not finish. Second half we simply weren’t there. Our midfield is a joke. Regardless of absolutely horrendous refereeing, we didnt deserve a win.

    1. Oh shut it! We definitely deserved the win. Goals gets you the win, if the ref could have done his job that goal would have counted and the game is over! Championship teams win even when they don’t play well….that is of course as long as the ref do their job!!

    2. “Deserve” means nothing. Only (allowed) goals count. It doesn’t matter HOW the points came. Only the outcome counts. And it was 3 points robbed tonight!!

      1. Drawing (in this case losing) to teams like Spezia is how dont surpass inter. Why couldnt we be winning by more goals? Why did we have to rely on the refs to do their jobs. I will agree that this ref is at fault and probably is another Muntari situation but we as a big team should not be in these stuations

    3. Dude we were better we deserved the win… we gaf alot of good chances very close. We lost cause bad luck… im not saying we played our best game but we were better.

  2. Bakayoko is a disaster… Each game he starts, we don’t win… Especially when he stopped a storming attack with Calabria alone on the right, just to ask for a foul at the middle of the pitch!!
    Diaz once again, a ghost. Messias didn’t give anything at all while playing.
    The referee was a disaster… Once again, decisions made against Milan… It becoming a joke.
    Pioli cannot a champion contender mentality to the team. Same mistakes as last year.

  3. How many important points have Milan already lost this season only due to CATASTROPHIC refereeing errors? Enough with this sh** already!!! It’s not the referees’ job to decide who wins and who don’t!

  4. Yeah, Tonali was out and we didn’t have many replacements. At least, it is good to see Calabria coming back. But it seems thar after this loss, Inter will be champions again. After today, Milan will have two important fixtures which will decide how much they can do. First against Juventus, and then against Inter. The problem today was the lack of replacements. Most Milan players were tired after having played during the week. For example, Pioli should have played Maldini instead of Messias. I think Saelemakers wasn’t doing so badly. At the end of the match, Milan had a weird formation.

    1. No offense but back when seedorf pirlo cafu were playing, they almost all were over 30 and Ancelotti did not rotate.
      These are young guys and cannot play 2 games in a week – against very weak opponents?

      1. That’s very much true. That’s when Milan should look at the experience in more positions than only forwards. I think there’s a lack of experience in the midfield. That’s why the team suffers there so much. The midfield is extremely essential in modern football. Extremely unlucky result today, but I honestly have no words because the team could have done more and Pioli substitutions were not great either. Of course the referee didn’t help at lot either because many players from Spezia should have been booked many times and he didn’t do anything. It was a very unfair match without counting the result.

  5. Let’s face it, this is the end of the scudetto chase. The next game (vs Juve) is the most important: if we lose, even top 4 will be probably lost.
    Huge disappointment.

  6. Are we Milan or Fiorentina?

    I understand blaming the loss on the ref vs Napoli, Atletico.

    But this was Spezia!

    Again Pioli taking off players who do good like Leao and Saele. Saladmaker is important because he contributes a lot in defence while Leao is free to attack more

    We did not close the game. Bad game from Theo who needs to be moved forward.

    Brahim, Krunic. I know they are depth players but sonce serie a is too strict i would rather see primavera guys next season. This is a kind of a game for Brahim to win.

    I wrote after Genoa that inter will win scudetto and we coppa italia. I hope we do win coppa and finish top3.

    1. Fiorentina winning with ease against Genoa (5-0). We struggled 70 minutes loisng 1-0 until Girouds equalizer. Took us ET to score 2 more.

      We need to look ourselves in the mirror.

    2. agree, this is not first time these players and coaches have experienced a bad ref….you do not put it in their hands to decide, Theo should have exploited Gyasi with already a yellow as an example. I do not understand Pioli’s reasoning, he clearly saw that their GK was/had some great saves,we had many shots on goal we pounding him and dominating shots on goal with Leao and Saelaemakers (I know many are not a fan of his) but the chemistry was good, then he makes substitutions late, if the players he put in were better he should have started them, he had the best players on the field to begin with..they were pounding the GK. who had the game of his life, now he can fade into obscurity. Harder you work the luckier you get. This loss is just as much on Pioli as it is on the refs. Baka is a quitter,gives up too easily, wanders around, here is some advice for that ass clown, it is soccer, attack every 50/50, he just gives up on them. I will tell you of his value, we cannot GIVE him away,bad signing bad evaluation, release him and move on. Now we must seriously ask ourselves, how good is this team ? are we worthy of the Scudetta ? Forget Spezia, Juve and Inter games are the test….. and the future, it is games like this that plant the seed in the minds of Theo, Roma, Kessie, Tonali is this really the team that is gonna do big things in my future as a player for AC Milan. forza Milan

    3. i say ur right but did we have our players. AFCON and covid destroyed us. Even we had kessie and bennacer match could be better they could play better than brahim and baka. so i say refreeing error robbed us. Due to that spezia scored

    1. You are a moron!! There is no such thing as deserving, goals decide games and the ref took that from us! That goal would have ended the game, no matter how we played!

      1. Ok so if we played like this and if the ref did his job then we would have won this game. But playing like this? Juve is going to whoop our ass Inter is going to whoop our ass. At the end of the day if we cant destroy a team like Spezia then wtf. We cant soley rely on refs doing their jobs and us getting lucky every game

    2. agree, when you start a game from the first whistle you mentally must understand you are facing 12 opponents, 11 players and the ref. Pioli should have exploited Gyasi’s yellow by having Theo and Leao work his ass over forcing him to foul.

  7. Every game is a new game, Juve and Merda-Inter gas nothing to do with this game. We lost this game because of the ref!!!! Basta!

  8. Ok, got some minutes not mad anymore
    Funny how i had a bad feeling of this game.

    Everybody hyped and only talking juve inter
    Football is a very close sport even city has been many times lucky against worse teams

    After the season fitness team needs to go. Pioli will have last chance. It is great what we did and this season is also recovery season. But next one he needs to at least go out of CL group

    And I hope i will not see Messias here next season.

  9. No need risking heartaches with Milan disappointments this season… The mistakes were made even before the season started. Maldini and Massara were virtually inactive in the transfer window, living with the delusion that the squad was complete.

    No reinforcement, and no renewal talks, until they were shocked by Donna and Chala, and now Kessie. The Management is not proactive, and it was indeed stupid to think that this squad could challenge for any domestic trophy, let alone the Champions League.

    We may not know if the funds are available, but the choices of players brought in don’t strike determination in the hearts of the team and the fans.

    Diaz, Messais, Bakayoko, and Giroud, were all unnecessary transactions. If you stand on building a competitive team, that’s understandable when we see the management going for young players. But panic-buying to make a false statement is pretty much insulating to the fans and the club.

    I’m not one for splashing cash in football, but if Elliot is not ready to invest in the club’s successes, then I think the club should be sold.

    Pioli can only do so much with the players he has. If the players aren’t good enough, you cannot turn them into superstars during training.

    We need a clear idea on the club’s direction. As for me I don’t know what Elliott’s plan is. Maybe they aren’t interested in the sport. Maybe they just want to steady the books, and sell to make a profit.

    But in all. It’s heartbreaking. We are nowhere different from what happened last season, I think we are even worse this season, because the competition seems less and we can’t take advantage of it.

    This season is over, we need to look ahead to the future.

    1. They spent 70m and they shocked Donna with Maignan not him us.

      Even he is not worth 12 net a year – thats 24gross, a whole new transfer

      We are better in the midfield and defence but worse in the goal and in front – Zlatan is too old this year although enough for top4, Brahim is proving he is not that good at least not as cam.

      1. agree on Diaz, does not possess upper body strength, cannot play with his back to goal, he is pushed off the ball to easily, convert Rebic to cam

  10. I dont know what else you guys would expect from this team, our opponents also come to matches with a particular tactics themselves to earn a result.
    The Gk of Spezia is the real MoM tbh, and indeed we were robbed. With the absences the team did enough to win, but again, the referees poor decisions and endless injuries since our resurgence, this is more than Bad Luck.
    Believing Milan Players and Fans should pray for the team. I really want us to win a Trophy.

  11. I’ll just copy and paste this on Pioli’s postmatch
    Nonsense!! Foolish excuses!!! We wasted too many chances! Zlatan with his soul called foolish experiences he’s got, still wasted chances like an upcoming player. Who gives a fuck about his flicks?!!! Bakayoko should better go back to Chelsea, and Krunic isn’t Milan’s level in anyway!! I fucking hate those two in our midfield!! LEAO’s talent is wasted if he can’t make good use of his chances! I regret watching this match tonight! Difficult to go to bed after this abysmal result from these set of foolish players!! I can’t even hold my tears!! I can’t believe we lost this match!!!!

  12. I just wonder if it was possible for Milan to go against Serie A to play again the match with another referee. I mean they should take it to court or something like that because this match can cost the title. Does this also mean that the matches against Juventus and Inter, Milan will have referees favoring their opponents? I am just asking if Milan can do something to solve this issue of the referees having made the team to lose the match. I know some people say that Milan didn’t deserve the win, but many great teams win like that, including teams like Manchester City or Liverpool. Sometimes they don’t play well, but they still win because they habe fair referees in England.

    1. Nothing will be done. “These things happen” (which is ridiculous it should not happen). No way will it be possible to replay or anything. On to the next game

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