AC Milan lost further ground in the Scudetto race as they were held to a second straight 0-0 draw, this time failing to break the deadlock against Torino.
After not scoring against Bologna on Monday night, the attack somehow looked even worse at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino as there was hardly an abundance of clear cut scoring opportunities, and both goalkeepers had merely routine saves to make.
Inter’s win over Hellas Verona on Saturday night means that they have gained two points, while Napoli’s defeat against Fiorentina earlier in the day goes unpunished.
Head coach Stefano Pioli made two changes to the starting line-up that drew with Bologna as Franck Kessie came in for the injured Ismael Bennacer in midfield, while Alexis Saelemaekers got the nod over Junior Messias on the right.
Saelemaekers was the man who had the first sight on goal just over a minute in when a long ball was knocked down by Rafael Leao into the path of the Belgian, whose snapshot ended up being deflected over the bar.
Torino’s first chance of the game came around 10 minutes later as a pinpoint cross was whipped in from their left flank and Andrea Belotti got between Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez to rise for a free header, but the ball was just above him and he couldn’t direct it on goal.
Torino’s strategy when not in possession was very much centred around crowding Milan out and stopping supply into dangerous areas very much like Bologna did with a similar three-man defence on Monday night, with the away side forced to go more direct to find some joy, and Giroud dropping deeper.
Berisha was forced into his first save of the game just after the midway point in the first half when Torino failed to clear their lines and Davide Calabria let off a curling left-footed shot from just inside the box that was parried to safety.
There was a flare-up before the half-hour mark when Saelemaekers cut to the byline after an excellent bit of dribbling and went down under a challenge inside the box from Ricci yet Doveri determined that the Belgian had exaggerated the contact.
Ricci was involved at the other end when he was slipped into space down the left side and was able to fire off a shot yet he sliced it wide of the near post with Maignan not troubled.
Maignan was the first goalkeeper called into action in the second half as a ball fell to Vojvoda on the left side of the box following some pressure from Pobega, and the Frenchman did excellently to prevent it sailing into the top left corner.
In the 55th minute, Pioli decided to make his first change of the game. Brahim Diaz – who had continued his theme of struggling to affect the game – made way for Junior Messias who took up more of a central role.
Milan continued to attack down the left side more than the opposite flank, and a fantastic dribble from Leao nearly carved the home side open as he beat Vojvoda to the byline and tried to round the keeper before Bremer again was the man to intervene.
Ricci made an excellent block to deny Tonali as he attempted to cut the ball back to Giroud who would have had a nearly empty net to finish into, with Vojvodina the man guilty of giving the ball away in a dangerous place.
Tomori was then the man who produced an absolutely decisive intervention when Belotti brought down a ball perfectly on his boot and looked to have beaten the Englishman, who recovered to block heroically.
The back and forth continued as the Rossoneri grappled for supremacy heading into the final 20 minutes, and Tonali was the latest to be denied after a smart chop back on to his left foot, seeing his effort saved low. Up the other end Belotti was found in space behind down Milan’s right but fired from a narrow angle into the side netting.
Another change came in the 82nd minute as a tired-looking Tonali was withdrawn in place of Rade Krunic, with Pioli’s men still failing to show any quality or composure in the final third.
There was nearly a nightmare scenario for Milan moments later when Pietro Pellegri found some space to run into on the left flank and forced Maignan into a save that he gathered at the second attempt.
Another change was made with less than four minutes left as Tomori came off with a grimace on his face and Matteo Gabbia took his place.
The ball fell to Messias a couple of times in the closing stages and he was able to get a shot off, the first time bending one over from 25 yards and the second time seeing it blocked for a corner.
There were late appeals for a penalty rightly waved away when Giroud’s knock-down inside the box fell to Messias again but his compatriot Bremer timed his intervention brilliantly, as he had done all night.