Milan’s Scudetto hopes hang by a thread, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic snatched the 10-man Rossoneri a last-gasp draw with Bologna.
The Rossoneri were now chasing leaders Juventus and needed to beat the often tricky Bologna, who earlier this season took points off Juve and crushed Inter 3-0 at San Siro. The injury crisis dragged on with Thiago Silva, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato, Massimo Ambrosini, Pippo Inzaghi and Flavio Roma sidelined. Mark van Bommel featured on his 35th birthday. Bologna missed Nico Pulzetti, Jose Crespo, Casarini, Rene Krhin and goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet, so Federico Agliardi got a rare start.
In the opening 54 seconds Agliardi smothered a Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike, but the Swede wasted a golden opportunity on 15 minutes when he gathered unmarked from Clarence Seedorf’s cross only to fire wide.
Alessandro Nesta needed to clear a dangerous Gaston Ramirez through ball before any of the other Bologna players could get on the end of it from close range.
It was only a warning, as Ramirez gave Bologna the lead moments later. Birthday boy Mark van Bommel lost the ball in midfield to spark an Alessandro Diamanti counter and it was rolled across for Ramirez to prod past Christian Abbiati at full stretch.
Abbiati got a Diamanti free kick under control and Milan poured forward, but nobody got on the end of a Robinho pass. Marco Di Vaio threatened a second with his header whistling wide from Gyorgy Garics.
Gaby Mudingayi showed great strength to hold off Daniele Bonera when springing the offside trap and blasted across the face of goal. The midfielder could’ve gone down as Bonera grabbed his shirt, but opted to stay on his feet.
Ibrahimovic was having an unusually poor day, making mistakes even with the simplest touches. Straight after the restart Agliardi smothered a Seedorf attempt and Robinho was well wide under pressure from Andrea Raggi.
Antonio Nocerino wasted a golden opportunity, as Robinho pulled back from the by-line for his angled drive that flew past the base of the far post.
Abbiati had to scramble on to a strange looping Diamanti cross-shot, so Antonio Cassano replaced Seedorf in a bid to fire up the timid Milan attack.
Ibrahimovic was furious on 58 minutes when he went clear on goal and his lob beat the ‘keeper to be cleared off the line – after it had crossed over – by Cherubin. However, the offside flag was incorrectly raised, as Daniele Portanova was keeping him in play. It was a splendid Cassano assist.
Cassano went close to an equaliser in his give-and-go with Ibra, but a Bologna defender made a crucial block as he pulled the trigger from nine yards. Bologna were defending deep, but dangerous on the counter when Safir Taider struck the side-netting from a tight angle and Gyorgy Garics tested Abbiati.
It got even worse for Milan, as Bonera received a second yellow card for a sliding tackle on Robert Acquafresca.
Ibrahimovic flicked up a cross for a spectacular overhead kick that only skimmed the upright.
However, in the final minute Ibrahimovic got the equaliser with a delightful cushioned finish at the back post.
Moments later the 10-man Rossoneri tried to get in front with Nocerino drilling just wide, but on the counter Taider also threatened a victory by testing Abbiati. Ibra was halted for another offside position when clear on goal, while Agliardi plucked an Ibrahimovic assist off the head of Alberto Aquilani.
Deep into stoppages, Robinho’s diving header whistled wide of the near post from eight yards from an Urby Emanuelson cross.
Sent off: Bonera 82 (M)