SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 15 - 3 Dec 2017 (11.30 UK)
Benevento 2 - 2 Milan
Bonaventura 38 (M), Puscas 50 (B), Kalinic 57 (M), Brignoli 95 (B)
Stadio Ciro Vigorito

Benevento made history with their first ever Serie A point, earned by a last-gasp header from goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli on Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan debut.

The Rossoneri made their bow under Gattuso, having sacked Vincenzo Montella on Monday, and he moved to a 3-4-3 formation with Lucas Biglia dropped for poor form and Andrea Conti injured, but Fabio Borini returned from an ankle problem. Benevento were shattering records, failing to pick up a single point in the opening 14 games. Amato Ciciretti, Pietro Iemmello and Achraf Lazaar missed out with Fabio Lucioni suspended, so ex-Inter youth team striker George Puscas was picked.

This was a reunion for the tacticians, as Gattuso’s Pisa beat Roberto De Zerbi’s Foggia in the 2016 Lega Pro Play-Off Final, which ended in a touchline row and pitch invasion.

Ricardo Rodriguez’s early cross flashes across the face of goal, but on 12 minutes Milan wasted a gift from Gaetano Letizia. Nikola Kalinic pounced, but his weak effort was palmed away by Alberto Brignoli and Franck Kessie turned the rebound straight at the goalkeeper too.

Benevento had long periods of pressure and Ledian Memushaj should’ve done better with his angled drive off target, while Alessio Romagnoli was booked – and will be suspended against Bologna – for charging down a Puscas strike with his arm.

Danilo Cataldi and Suso wasted promising free kicks, but Benevento missed a sitter when Marco D’Alessandro’s cross found Vittorio Parigini for a free header wide from seven yards. It was an extraordinary miss and should’ve put the hosts in front on 33 minutes.

The deadlock was eventually broken in chaotic fashion, as Kessie showed great strength to cross from the by-line for Bonaventura’s header, which was cleared off the line by Letizia, but Jack turned in the rebound from point-blank range.

Benevento fought back, but Cataldi and Memushaj efforts were charged down in the box.

Le Streghe came out fighting for the second half and grabbed a deserved equaliser. Gianluigi Donnarumma flew to parry a ferocious Letizia volley from the edge of the box on a corner, but could do nothing on the Puscas follow-up. It was the Inter-owned striker’s debut Serie A goal and only the fourth Benevento scored at the Stadio Vigorito.

It didn’t last long, because another corner saw Milan restore their advantage, Bonaventura chipped up the cross from the by-line and Kalinic was allowed a completely free header from four yards. However, replays showed the last ricochet was off Borini, so it should’ve been a Benevento goal kick.

The hosts poured forward, Donnarumma smothering a D’Alessandro low drive, and Romagnoli received a very harsh second yellow card for a sliding tackle on Letizia. The former Sampdoria defender seemed to pull out before making full contact, but the referee declined to view the VAR footage.

Massimo Coda blasted over the bar and the Rossoneri were pinned back by a desperate late push, but Bright Gyamfi’s header was weak.

Milan were holding out under siege until deep into stoppages when a Cataldi free kick was whipped in and goalkeeper Brignoli came up from the back to join the fray. It incredibly worked, as the shot-stopper turned goal-scorer with a precise diving header into the far bottom corner to give Benevento their first ever Serie A point in extraordinary circumstances.


Benevento: Brignoli; Letizia, Djimsiti, Costa, Di Chiara (Gyamfi 79); Memushaj (Coda 79), Chibsah, Cataldi; D’Alessandro, Puscas, Parigini (Brignola 67)
Milan: G Donnarumma; Musacchio, Bonucci, Romagnoli; Borini (Abate 60), Montolivo (Biglia 73), Kessie, Rodriguez; Suso (Zapata 86), Kalinic, Bonaventura
Ref: Mariani

Sent off: Romagnoli 75 (M)