Milan’s crisis intensified with a shock 2-0 defeat away to Rijeka, failing to get a shot on target and ending their Europa League unbeaten run.
Gennaro Gattuso made his debut on the Rossoneri bench in Sunday’s shock 2-2 draw with bottom of the table Benevento and needed a confidence booster here, having already secured top spot in the Europa League group. Rijeka had Josip Misic suspended, but Milan were still unbeaten in Europe this season with seven wins and two draws, including the preliminary rounds.
The hosts took a surprise lead after just seven minutes, as Jakov Puljic curled a sensational free kick into the near top corner, where veteran goalkeeper Marco Storari simply could not reach.
It was mostly Rijeka in the first half, as Dario Zuparic hit a fresh-air volley from a corner, while the goalkeeper rushed off his line to smother at Niccolo Zanellato’s feet.
The Rossoneri gave the ball away cheaply and Puljic nodded wide of the back post, while Patrick Cutrone ran on to a Cristian Zapata assist and his lob landed on the roof of the net.
The second half had barely kicked off when Rijeka doubled their lead. Zoran Krvzic pulled back from the by-line and Mario Gravranovic got in front of Gabriel Paletta to scuff the finish across Storari into the far bottom corner from six yards.
Cutrone’s header was off target and Lucas Biglia free kick whistled inches past the near post, but Manuel Locatelli was booked and will be suspended for the next Europa League game.
Milan lost their unbeaten continental record for the season and failed to get a single shot on target against already-eliminated Rijeka.
Rijeka 2-0 Milan
Puljic 7 (R), Gavranovic 47 (R)
Rijeka: Sluga; Vesovic, Elez, Zuparic, Zuta; Males, Pavicic; Acosty (Puncec 76), Gavranovic (Crnic 81), Krvzic (Mavrias 86); Puljic
Milan: Storari; Zapata, Paletta, Romagnoli; Calabria, Zanellato (Abate 74), Biglia, Locatelli, Antonelli (Forte 80); Andre Silva, Cutrone
Ref: Vad (HUN)