Milan dominated in Florence, hitting the woodwork and seeing Clarence Seedorf’s goal incorrectly disallowed, but it ended 0-0 on Delio Rossi’s debut.
The new Coach made his debut on the Viola bench and the Stadio Franchi crowd was out in force celebrating Sinisa Mihajlovic’s sacking. He had to do without Stevan Jovetic, Mattia Cassani, Per Kroldrup and the suspended Cesare Natali.
Therefore Alessio Cerci and Andrea Lazzari supported lone centre-forward Alberto Gilardino, while Matija Nastasic stepped in at centre-back.
Milan were coming off five consecutive Serie A victories and had won their last four visits to Florence, but Antonio Cassano, Gennaro Gattuso, Mathieu Flamini, Marco Amelia, Philippe Mexes, Stephan El Shaarawy and the suspended Kevin-Prince Boateng were absent.
The Rossoneri had the stronger start and penalty appeals on seven minutes when Valon Behrami clumsily intercepted a cross as it was about to land on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s chest. Seedorf horribly scuffed from the edge of the box after a good team move and Ibra backheel flick.
Seedorf did get the ball in the back of the net on 18 minutes afer a splendid move and replays show the Dutchman was level when Ibrahimovic volleyed the assist through the middle, so the linesman got it wrong by disallowing the goal.
Ibra attempted a spectacular scorpion flick that sailed over the bar and Alberto Aquilani’s header skimmed the woodwork, then Nastasic got a crucial touch to stop Robinho pulling the trigger in the area as Milan continued to dominate.
Gilardino did get a chance before the break, but blasted it over the bar, then Robinho’s angled drive flashed across the face of goal and Artur Boruc blocked another Seedorf strike.
Rossi changed his tactics for the second half, introducing striker Santiago Silva for the quiet Cerci. It was still Milan, though, as a corner fell to Antonio Nocerino for a swerving effort that skimmed the base of the upright.
Behrami was booked for a horribly mistimed tackle on Abate, but Fiorentina finally came out of their shells after allowing the Rossoneri over 70 per cent possession in the first half.
Alexandre Pato made his comeback after two months out with muscular problems, but it was Manuel Pasqual whose angled drive flashed just past the far post.
Pato has previously scored in all five of his meetings with Fiorentina and nearly made it six, as he skipped between defenders and unleashed a daisy-cutter that Boruc fingertipped on to the base of the upright. The move continued and Boruc parried Urby Emanuelson’s tap-in with his legs from point-blank range.
Pato continued to be the danger man, as Nastasic needed a crucial sliding tackle to stop The Duck prodding home from seven yards. Again Ibrahimovic chipped a ball over the defence for Pato, forcing Boruc to rush out and snatch it from him. There were even penalty appeals for a Nastasic shove on Pato.