Gianluigi Donnarumma’s heroics weren’t enough, as Verona snatched a fully deserved last gasp 2-1 win over Milan.
Cristian Brocchi had to revamp his side again for the third match in charge, as Mario Balotelli and Alex were suspended with Giacomo Bonaventura, Andrea Bertolacci and M’Baye Niang injured, but Jose Mauri got his first start in a Rossoneri jersey. Hellas were practically relegated and went into this clash without Luca Toni, Mohamed Fares, Filip Helander, Federico Viviani and Samuel Souprayen.
Ex-Milan striker Giampaolo Pazzini was causing huge problems for the centre-backs from the start, getting one shot over the bar, then another brilliantly parried by Gianluigi Donnarumma’s legs.
However, the visitors took the lead when Pierluigi Gollini spilled a Keisuke Honda strike and Jeremy Menez tapped in the rebound. It was the Frenchman’s first Serie A goal since April 4 2015, but replays suggest he was marginally offside when Honda got the shot away.
Menez ran on to another Honda slide-rule pass, forcing a save out of Gollini. Mattia De Sciglio had to come off with a bizarre injury, as Wszolek fell on him and with a stud scratched his cheek and bridge of his nose. The full-back was patched up twice, but eventually had to make way for Luca Antonelli.
Pazzini blasted another very promising chance straight at Donnarumma after Zapata’s error, then Carlos Bacca had the ball in the net, but was clearly offside.
Verona also made a change, but Ante Rebic did not appear to be injured, so Romulo’s introduction was tactical and based on his general attitude.
Antonelli robbed Eros Pisano and rolled across for Menez, but Michelangelo Albertazzi’s block stopped the tap-in from six yards.
After the restart Luca Siligardi put a pass into the six-yard box with two strikers ready to tap in, but Abate got back for a crucial interception.
Pisano was fortunate he charged down a cross with his arm right on the outside edge of the box, as it was inches away from being a penalty.
Bacca found himself in space on a through ball at the near post, but inexplicably attempted a rabona and it was easy prey for Gollini. This was the kind of pointless flick that used to infuriate Sinisa Mihajlovic, so the Colombian is fortunate he’s no longer the Coach.
Bacca ran on to another pass and accidentally clattered into Gollini as the goalkeeper smothered at his feet. Bacca stung Gollini’s gloves from a tight angle and the Menez follow-up was cleared off the line by Pisano.
Those wasted opportunities seemed even more serious when Verona were awarded a penalty for Alessio Romagnoli’s handball. He claimed he was pushed, but also flailed his arms around and struck the ball with both hands, so it was difficult to ignore. Pazzini stepped up and fired the penalty just under Donnarumma’s gloves at the near post.
Hellas were suddenly revitalised, as Donnarumma denied a Pazzini effort from close range, did well to beat away the veteran’s fierce angled drive and then Juanito Gomez Taleb’s follow-up was charged down, as was Luca Siligardi’s volley.
Bacca ran forward only to drill wide and Zapata made a decisive block as Artur Ionita was turning in from seven yards.
Luiz Adriano came sliding in and just failed to meet a Menez assist at the back post, then Donnarumma performed a great reaction save on Romulo from close range, as the final stages were end to end.
In the final minute 17-year-old goalkeeper Donnarumma saved his team again, flying to palm a Juanito Gomez Taleb strike out from under the bar. He also used his legs to deny a Romulo strike.
Just as it seemed Donnarumma had rescued a point for a truly awful Milan performance, Siligardi curled a magnificent free kick in off the underside of the crossbar with the last move of the game. Verona fully deserved this victory and put off relegation for at least a few more hours.
If Carpi beat Empoli this evening, then Hellas will be mathematically in Serie B.