Milan had penalty appeals, but were also saved in stoppages by Gianluigi Donnarumma in a dismal 0-0 draw with Carpi.
Cristian Brocchi won his debut, a 1-0 result at Sampdoria, but had his first game as Coach at San Siro. Juraj Kucka was suspended with Luiz Adriano, Andrea Bertolacci and M’Baye Niang injured, so Kevin-Prince Boateng was placed in the trequartista role for his first Serie A start since May 2013. The visitors missed Zeljko Brkic, Igor Bubnjic and banned Riccardo Gagliolo.
Boateng had the first chance after five minutes, a sudden long-range snapshot beaten away by Vid Belec, while Andrea Poli’s strike was charged down by Letizia after a Carlos Bacca back-heel flick.
Bacca again blasted over the bar with the outside of the right boot, then the Colombian let a Jack Bonaventura cross through only to realise nobody was ready for the tap-in.
Milan dominated possession at San Siro, but did precious little with it and rarely troubled the Carpi back three.
Alex looked certain to score when being allowed a free header on a corner just before half-time, but turned it over the bar.
Balotelli came sliding in to meet a Boateng cross from point-blank range, but Belec got there first to smother and SuperMario was booked for making contact with the goalkeeper. He’ll be suspended for the next game against Verona.
After the restart Marco Crimi hit the side-netting on the counter and the introduction of super-sub Kevin Lasagna confirmed Carpi wanted to be more attacking. It was inevitable after allowing Milan 80 per cent possession in the first half.
Lasagna’s long-range strike was smothered by Gigio Donnarumma for Carpi’s first shot on target after 57 minutes, as jeers began to rain down from the stands.
Jose Mauri came off the bench and almost immediately put the ball in the net, but the offside flag was already raised.
Carpi wasted an excellent opportunity on the counter, as they were three against two when the cross for Stefano Sabelli was massively over-hit.
Bacca was visibly irritated when replaced by Jeremy Menez, walking straight past Brocchi and the bench into the locker room with a glare.
Jose Mauri was onside soon after, but this time his header whistled just past the near post. The ex-Parma midfielder was comfortably Milan’s most dangerous player, as he burst through the middle with a give-and-go from Balotelli that very nearly paid off.
Milan had strong penalty appeals on 84 minutes when Emanuele Suagher came sliding in to block a Poli pull-back at the by-line and the ball struck his trailing arm, but the referee and assistant judged it to be involuntary.
There was a great double chance for Milan when Belec got down to beat away a Luca Antonelli header, then Alex fired the rebound straight at the goalkeeper at the near post.
Manuel Locatelli got his Serie A debut at the age of 18, having been promoted from the Primavera youth team – previously Coached by Brocchi.
Gigio Donnarumma had nothing to do all evening, but remained wide awake when flying for a fingertip save on Marco Crimi, as Montolivo was caught in possession.