SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 19 - 30 Dec 2017 (11.30 UK)
Fiorentina 1 - 1 Milan
Simeone 71 (F), Calhanoglu 74 (M)
Stadio Artemio Franchi

Hakan Calhanoglu wiped out a Giovanni Simeone header within three minutes, as Milan clung on amid controversy against Fiorentina.

The Rossoneri hoped their midweek Coppa Italia victory over Inter would represent a new dawn in this dire campaign. Gianluigi Donnarumma missed that match, but returned for his 100th appearance for the club, while Nikola Kalinic was injured against his former teammates. The Viola went out of the Coppa to Lazio on Tuesday, but had rested several players who returned to the line-up here. However, Federico Chiesa was not at 100 per cent, so benched in favour of Gil Dias.

Milan’s last win at the Stadio Franchi was 2-0 in March 2014, followed by two defeats and two draws.

Suso’s early cross whipped just over the head of Patrick Cutrone, who will turn 20 on January 3, while Jordan Veretout couldn’t keep his header down on a Vincent Laurini assist.

Leonardo Bonucci was caught in possession five minutes before half-time by Giovanni Simeone, who was then felled by Alessio Romagnoli on the edge of the box. Fiorentina demanded a red card, especially as his studs were up, but the referee opted for a yellow.

Veretout fired the free kick into the wall and moments later the offside trap failed again, Donnarumma rushing off his line to clear from Simeone.

Deep into first half stoppages, a long ball found Gil Dias for a free header into the ground at the back post, but Donnarumma showed remarkable reactions to palm it on to the crossbar from point-blank range.

Straight after the restart, Donnarumma was called into action again, at full stretch to palm a Milan Badelj curler out of the bottom corner.

Marco Sportiello was finally tested on 51 minutes, flying to fingertip a dipping Suso long-range strike out from under the crossbar.

Cyril Thereau’s free header was over from a corner, but the deadlock was finally broken when Cristiano Biraghi whipped a sensational cross in from the left and it sailed over the head of Bonucci for Simeone’s bullet header under the bar.

The Fiorentina lead barely lasted three minutes, as Sportiello parried a Suso snapshot from a tight angle and Hakan Calhanoglu fired in the rebound at the far post. This in itself was an achievement, because until now this season, Milan had always lost when falling behind.

Thereau and substitute Andre Silva saw hopeful efforts smothered, but they ultimately shared the spoils.

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Fiorentina: Sportiello; Laurini, Astori, Pezzella (Vitor Hugo 73), Biraghi; Badelj, Veretout; Gil Dias (Chiesa 54), Benassi (Eysseric 66), Thereau; Simeone
Milan: G Donnarumma; Calabria, Romagnoli, Bonucci, Rodriguez; Kessie (Locatelli 91), Montolivo, Bonaventura; Suso, Cutrone, Borini (Calhanoglu 53)
Ref: Banti