Spezia 2-0 AC Milan: Embarrassing performance sees top four hopes decimated

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan’s top four hopes are hanging by a very thin thread after they were beaten 2-0 by relegation battling Spezia at the Stadio Alberto Picco on Saturday evening.

Milan have had struggles against the lower-ranking sides in the league recently and there was no exception to that rule in Liguria, with the warning signs there after a tepid first half that it was not going to be a good night.

The first goal of the game came in the second half when Przemysław Wiśniewski reacted to a header against the post to fire in from close range, then Salvatore Esposito’s wonderful free-kick doubled the advantage and sealed the victory.

Milan’s hopes of getting into the Champions League are now very close to being over, with a lot now resting on how the team perform in the second leg against Inter on Tuesday.

Stefano Pioli had previously rotated en masse before or between Champions League games, but injuries meant he was unable to do so for this game. That said, Pierre Kalulu, Tommaso Pobega, Divock Origi and Ante Rebic did come into the side compared to the loss against Inter in midweek.

There was a real feeling of deja vu for Milan and Sandro Tonali inside the seventh minute as he burst forward and hit a fierce low shot from the edge of the area that thudded against the post and went to safety, not too dissimilar to how he was denied against Inter.

Spezia players were imploring the referee to give a penalty when a corner from the left was played to Nzola whose shot after an initial slip was blocked behind by Pobega, with suspicions he used an arm quickly disproved by replays.

Milan were very close to taking the lead on 20 minutes. A smart free-kick saw Theo Hernandez fire a low cross in from the left and it was cleared out to Alexis Saelemaekers who pinged it back into the danger area on the volley, yet it went through everyone and just past the far post.

The Rossoneri continued to threaten, and when Rebic saw an effort from just inside the box blocked out to Theo who had a run at it from 25 yards it was obvious a thunderbolt was coming, though Dragowski managed to tip it over the bar.

At the other end the home side sent a reminder regarding the sucker-punch threat they pose when a cross met an unmarked Amian inside the box, but he couldn’t keep it down.

There were a couple of moments of panic for Milan early in the second half, the first when a low cross from the right side seemed primed to be thumped in for the opening goal but evaded everyone, and then Tomori went down holding his ankle but was ok to continue.

Confusion continued in the minutes after when Brahim Diaz was clearly pushed over inside the box by Esposito but the referee Doveri waved play on before booking the Spaniard for his protests, and VAR did not intervene.

Just after Bourabia had curled a shot over at one end, Milan really should have taken the lead at the other. Tonali slide Brahim Diaz in behind down the right side of the box and he went for the shot from the narrow angle, yet he clipped the outside of the post.

When Pobega headed over the bar from a corner unmarked and Saelemaekers seemed to fall over himself when he should have shot sooner, it started looking like it would be yet another day of frustration for the Rossoneri.

Pioli decided to shuffle things midway through the second half with Charles De Ketelaere and Fode Ballo-Toure coming on for Saelemaekers and Theo Hernandez.

Spezia then threatened when a giveaway from De Ketelaere sprung a quick break with Gyasi feeding Nzola whose shot was straight at Maignan, and then the Frenchman saved at his near post to deny Ekdal.

Just as it looked like they were susceptible to doing, Milan fell behind with just over 15 minutes left. A corner from the left was headed onto the post by Amian, but the rebound fell to Wisniewski who had an easy finish from close range.

With five minutes left on the clock, Spezia got their second goal and sealed the win. They did it in some fashion too, with Salvatore Esposito’s free-kick from just left of centre bent beautifully over the wall and into the top corner via the desperate parry of Maignan.

Tags AC Milan Spezia Milan


  1. It is sad to realise that we will be without Champions League football next soon. The lions share of the guilt lies with Pioli, his incompetent, stuborrn and pathetic decision making. I know his apologists will soon show up here and start convincing us how everyone else but Pioli is at fault. The team of Milan’s calibre, budget and squad selection should be able to defeat teams like Spezia, Cremonese and Empoli (we scored 1 last minute goal against these; let that sink in). But to do that you would need an actual coach that can extract best from his players.

  2. Not enough on the bench, not a good coach and an out of form team relying on leao to score. Attacking overhaul was required last year itself and that cry went unheard by maldini, massara but most importantly redbird. Cardinale should think twice, what he did by not investing and by not even accelerating the talks of a new stadium if that’s what he is relying on as a “plan”. A tight slap to him for not spending enough. This team is toothless.

  3. The Inter game will be the last one I watch with Pioli as coach. I’m sick of being disgusted by our play. It’s worse than the ‘banter’ era.
    We have 64% win percentage with Leao, 2.2 points per game.
    Without him, it’s 11% with 0.8 points per game. And that was before this game, it’s even worse now.
    Take away one player and we become a relegation contender.

    1. Honestly the banter era was bad, but we played bad because we had bad players. Now we have some stars and we play this bad so it really hurts and I’m sick and tired of this bald clown coaching the team we can’t afford to play like this

    2. And don’t start with the lack of quality players excuse.
      Pobega had 2 good seasons in Serie A.
      CDK was a top player.
      Adli was a good player.
      Origi was a decent option at Liverpool.
      Somehow under Pioli they are all garbage.
      And another thing: look at our set piece stats. We almost never score, and we often concede. If that’s not an indicator of a bad coach, what is?

      1. Still eludes me how badly we defend set pieces; as if we never work them in training! Today Kjaer jumps jumps to nowhere and he is our ONLY player in the MIDDLE of the box!

  4. I have been saying this team setup is all wrong, our midfield is so porous especially playing against a team with more players in the middle. It’s irks me how this team isnt able to do the basic of thing on football and this is on the coach .
    It’s painfully embarrassing

  5. After i watch spezia V milan, pioli and couple of milan players aren’t in milan calibre. We see napoli for example, they already campeon but always play the best player exclude got injured. Thats the different.

  6. Milan has no money, to sign better coach than pioli. I hope milan will have better coach next season , let see…

  7. Like i said, when Adli come in milan better for build some attack than Diaz. But last 15 minutes not enough for change the game.

  8. I want milan to lose every game till the end of the season . Then fire pioli maldini masara and bring back boban and de zerbi

  9. Kjaer looks tired and then duo pobega and tonali looks confuse and no idea for build some attack. Diaz its like a ghost in the park. Milan really need some playmaker.they already have on Adli but pioli always said: he not ready yet. Hahahaha…

  10. Bring Shevchenko we would happily train our team and would bring more then one tactic of play wich pioli only has one!

  11. Adli in 15-20min showed more then CDK in full season. That’s how clues Pioli is. Also taking out Hernandez who is your bigest goal threat in a game where you have to score lol. The worst part is that if Pioli leave Maldini will bring some mediocore coach again. We could have got Spaletti, Sarri, Conti, S Inzaghi but no, we always have to go for some nobodies.

    1. “Adli in 15-20min showed more then CDK in full season.”

      And also more than CDK & Origin combined this year. But still… Adli will be watching the final matches on the bench and will be sold in the summer to start blossoming in the new club (the next Paqueta?).

      1. And by final matches I mean “last matches” – not as in “UCL final” or anything like that as this team will never win Inter in the semis. 😀

  12. Does anyone here still think Leao is useless to the team?
    Does anyone here still take his performances for granted?
    Does anyone here still think that lazy Leao like they call him is not this teams messiah?

    If anyone still think so, that person is a fool and nothing but a stupid critic.

    He hasn’t been dragged recently because he hasn’t been playing recently at least his absence should make you stupid critics to understand his importantance.

    1. No one Is saying that you mong, you can look everywhere and everyone in pissed at Pioli so idk who you’re looking for but they’re not here, we need De zerbi asap so we can have an actual tactical manager not a pass to Leão and Theo and hope they do something special every game

  13. Mr Pioli, I will leave others to question other parts of the game but I have another question for you. I know some rotation was needed during the season and all.. But all this time you were making a several changes, why didn’t Adli see more minutes. He looks a lot more confident than CDK, a bit more physical, trying to driving forward, looking for the ball.. so what was the persistence on CDK or the others when they were not performing. You guys, you know what I mean, Right?.. we all know CDK and several players were a bust this season, But we can’t really be that definite on Adli because we didn’t see enough of him. He might not have been first team material but you didn’t give chances to really see if he could have been a help. I know some people might say this is an Adli supporter, but it’s a valid question based on what we saw a bit today.. Too bad it ended in a defeat

    1. Adli always looked decent when he played. Better than Diaz and CDK. Maybe Pioli will tell us what was his problem with him after he gets sacked.
      I was saying this all season: CDK is useless and Diaz is a ghost most of the time. What’s the worst that can happen if Adli gets a real chance? That role can’t possibly be played worse than what Diaz and CDK do.

  14. Next season maybe milan need sheva to bring some fresh tactic. At least we see how sheva bring his national team to the big stages

    1. We defenetly do not need Sheva or any other unproven coach. Enough with that. A team that want’s to be at the top needs a proven top manager as well. For expl Klopp, Zidane, Sarri, Anceloti…

  15. Pobega, Rebic, Charles are not worthy to be in our squad that is if we want to go forward. Tonali, leao,Mignan,Theo,are the players we should build a round to be able to compete the scudetto and champions league every season. Only few are fit to be backups the rest are just academy players. Today’s performance was like an U17 style of Play. No hunger, no nothing. So agitating to watch that game. If Rebic, Charles, pobega, Gabbia,florenzi, remain in the team next season then we are not ambitious.

    1. Haha, funny you said that, all while having a Chelsea logo attached as your profile picture.

      I think you’d know better that throwing money into anything doesn’t always solve the issue.

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