AC Milan 0-0 Bologna: Wasteful Rossoneri miss out on maximum points

By Mitchell Wilks -

Milan were held to a 0-0 stalemate by Bologna on Monday, extending their lead as Serie A leaders by just one point, in a desperately disappointing performance.

The game had a high octane feel from the first whistle, with Bologna confident they could force a contest against Milan, despite having won just one of their last ten fixtures. They carved out chances on the counter, exploiting spaces left in wide areas by Milan, who lacked finesse with their passing and shooting, despite Olivier Giroud coming close towards the end of the half.

Following a similarly inspired start once more after the break, Bologna maintained a more disciplined shape as the second half drew on, instead focusing on keeping Milan out. The hosts were able to carve out chances, especially as defensive legs tired, but rushed finishing was the theme of the evening as the Rossoneri failed to truly test Lukasz Skorupski, or find Zlatan Ibrahimovic upon his introduction.

Just the one change was made to the starting XI that saw off Cagliari before the international break, with Ismael Bennacer coming in for Franck Kessie. And with Bologna not having won away to Milan since 2016, anything less than three points would’ve been disastrous. Decked out in the new fourth kit, Milan started brightly, containing Bologna within their own half and keeping the full backs high to create chances.

Bologna were able to find their wing backs in space early on, and particularly had joy when finding Aaron Hickey, with Milan so keen to push Theo Hernandez and Davide Calabria up high on the underlap. Milan always looked in control, though, and should’ve pulled ahead after 16 minutes when the ball fell to Rafael Leao on the penalty spot, only for the winger to lash his shot over the bar.

There was a fierce pace to the game as both sides bombed forward in transition. Musa Barrow – who scored in October’s reverse fixture – forced a save out of Mike Maignan after 26 minutes with an accurate shot from distance, after Bologna had caught Milan in possession.

Bennacer was key for Milan in maintaining a tempo, breaking up Bologna’s advances and playing a number of clever passes, all at different ranges and angles. The Rossoneri needed to sharpen up their passing as a whole, however, to stifle the visitors, who were enjoying the space being left to exploit on the break.

Referee Livio Marinelli was keen to let the game flow and reluctant to make decisions on a number of occasions, seemingly frustrating Milan more than Bologna throughout the first half. Giroud forced a full-stretch save from Skorupski on the cusp of half-time, ensuring Bologna went into the break on level terms. And while it was far from calamity for Milan, work needed to be done to contain the visitors, who often looked good for a goal.

Bologna refused to fade after the break, maintaining their shape all the same and looking to pick apart Milan with well-timed passing exchanges. Leao continued to struggle in possession, slipping and failing to generate the space for a shot or killer pass.

He found his golden touch on the hour mark, however, coming inside and reversing a pass beyond Bologna’s defence to the overlapping Calabria, whose shot was narrowly diverted off target by Gary Medel, although no corner was given. Hernandez then lashed a low cross across the penalty spot five minutes later, but Giroud was unable to latch onto a teasing delivery.

The visitors were beginning to tire, showing less intent to counter attack and allowing Stefano Pioli’s men more space in wide areas. Bennacer tested Skorupski with a curled effort from range after 68 minutes, as Pioli introduced Kessie and Ibrahimovic for the remaining 20 minutes.

Ibrahimovic’s impact was instant. After more tidy dribbling from an inspired Brahim Diaz, the Swede squared a low cross, only for Leao to fire wide once more – a summary of his wasteful evening.

The Swede’s physicality was felt with 10 minutes to go as he clashed heads with Medel when trying to control a cross, resulting in both men needing cuts patched up.

An accurate cross finally came Ibrahimovic’s way in the first of eight minutes of injury time, but he couldn’t turn it into a winner. Skorupski then tipped away a header from Ante Rebic, securing a draw for the Rossoblu.

One point is certainly better than zero for the Rossoneri, but leaves Napoli and Inter breathing down their neck once more, with their lead atop of Serie A down to just one point.

Tags AC Milan Milan Bologna


    1. It is not the first and it won’t be the last time milan bottle it against small teams. If it was up to me all of the players who were involved in italy dropping out the world cup would not play.

  1. It is time for pioli to think of a way to beat small teams. Sending fullbacks forward into the box and using a CB to whip crosses into the box is no longer and was never effective.

    1. Lord knows why this man insist on starting Brahim, this is become a joke now, along with Messias and Saelemaekers, I would rather start Samu above any of them

  2. DIAZ was AWFUL yet again. He needs to go. We need to upgrade at CAM..please Buy De Ketelaere.
    Messias is useless. REBIC is done at Milan as well.
    Only Leao offered anything going forward.
    Pioli is NOT to blame.These players just can’t score chances..even the last 3 games, we won 1-0 but wasted MANY chances. Maldini and Massara need to really upgrade our attack in the summer.
    There is no way this pathetic attack that can’t score against Bologna can win Scudetto.
    This is supposed to be our season but We are trying EVERYTHING to throw away the title.
    These players should be ashamed of themselves after today.

  3. That pretty much sums up our season guys, Trying to knick the scudetto without trying, without making the much needed investment. And even if we win it, it will only try to vindicate the management’s laxity in the Mercato. Our profligacy in front of goal is unmatched in Serie A. We haven’t earned it to be honest, we are at the top partly because of our competitor’s drop in form.

    The referee was fantastic. At least we can stop making our inability to win games the referee’s fault. Milan management started crying about the choice of an inexperienced referees even before kicking the ball. How the that complain help this game, and our quest for the title. I will keep saying it, and anyone who doesn’t like it can take a walk, “Milan needs to do the talking on the pitch and forget that the referee is on the pitch”.

    We also need to learn how to win dirty, even our dribblers on the pitch can’t even force a penalty. We spent the last 15-20mins lofting the ball to Ibra in an overly crowded defence, mostly because of the lack of a creative AM. Kessie had no business being on the pitch today, and if the game had lasted long enough, we could have seen Krunic. Leao was out of sorts today, and we all know that when the boy is having an off day chances of winning are cut by more than half. These problems will live with us till the end of the season, and we can only win the scudetto if Napoli and Inter allow us to.

    Have a great week guys.!!!

    1. We need more physicality on the pitch at CAM ,I will harp on it forever,I think Rebic can play it (10) and enough of the header action, everyone just loads the box for us. Start shooting from narrower angle at the goal and cleaning up/scoring on rebounds. Giroud often marked by 3 or 4.

  4. I cant just blame Messias and Diaz. Defence was fine, but there is not much need for a defence with Bologna anyway. But our offense… clowns, every single one of them. Ridiculous. Being Milan fan is a pain.

  5. 1 step forward, 2 steps back for pioli here.
    Step forward: actually subbed rebic on for messias at half time
    Steps back: why tf did Calabria take corners and FK’s? Tonali is better at that + if he wants RB to take them he should have used Florenzi.
    Also: why not just keep playing a 3 man midfield?

  6. This is the fifth game we had clean sheet; and we still have trouble to scoring goals and creativity and make scoring opportunities; and some fans are still excited about buying Bottman for €30m+ for next season!

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