Carlos Bacca’s penalty proved enough for an uninspired Milan to beat 10-man Bologna, as Amadou Diawara saw red after just 12 minutes.
The Rossoneri were under immense pressure after slipping behind Sassuolo to seventh place, but also had an injury crisis to deal with. Mario Balotelli was only fit for the bench with flu, while Jeremy Menez, Giacomo Bonaventura, Luca Antonelli, M’Baye Niang, Ignazio Abate and Rodrigo Ely all missed out. It meant Luiz Adriano and Davide Calabria had rare starts. The hosts were celebrating Serie A safety, but Mattia Destro, Domenico Maietta, Archimede Morleo and Luca Rizzo were injured.
It was a tense opening, as Alessio Romagnoli risked a penalty by pulling Sergio Floccari’s shirt so he couldn’t reach a Franco Brienza cross.
Luca Rossettini turned a free header just wide from a corner, but Bologna’s night went downhill very quickly indeed.
Amadou Diawara was booked for a clash with Jose Mauri that was turning ugly, then received a second yellow card for his late tackle on Riccardo Montolivo, all in the opening 12 minutes.
The Rossoneri held possession for the rest of the half without creating many genuine scoring opportunities, as Carlos Bacca’s touch was heavy on a Luiz Adriano assist and Mauri blasted well off target.
Keisuke Honda and Brienza had shots from distance, while Emanuele Giaccherini volleyed at Gigio Donnarumma after great work from Floccari.
Moments later Luiz Adriano ran on to a through ball and was brought down by Junior Da Costa for an inevitable penalty. Carlos Bacca converted, even though Da Costa did get his hands to it at the near post.
Bacca’s glancing header whistled wide after the restart, but substitute Andrea Bertolacci was booked for simulation just 60 seconds after coming off the bench.
Rossettini stopped Bacca getting on the end of a Montolivo cross from the right, but Bologna managed to threaten too and on a corner Daniele Gastaldello’s header whistled just wide of the far post.
Floccari also nodded over the bar as 10-man Bologna started to push, but Philippe Mexes hit a left-foot volley that Da Costa did well to pluck out of the air and Luiz Adriano drilled wide.
Keisuke Honda flashed a great ball across the face of goal that Luiz Adriano was unable to meet from four yards, then the Brazilian’s effort from a Mattia De Sciglio assist landed on the roof of the net.
Another impressive Mexes volley stung Da Costa’s gloves from the tightest of angles.
At the 89th minute Bologna thought they had equalised when a corner was knocked on for Adam Masina’s tap-in, but the offside flag was raised. It proved to be the correct call, albeit a tight one in dramatic circumstances.
Sent off: Diawara 12 (B)