It was an incident-packed game with a saved penalty and VAR decisions, but ultimately decided by a Jack Bonaventura strike as Milan beat Sampdoria to go joint sixth.
This was a head-to-head for European places. Nikola Kalinic and Andrea Conti were injured with Riccardo Montolivo stepping in for suspended Franck Kessie. The hosts were unbeaten in nine competitive games and only won 3-0 away to Ludogorets in the Europa League on Thursday. Samp hadn’t lost in five rounds and missed Dennis Praet.
The Blucerchiati have won their last two Serie A meetings with Milan. There were 46,000 at San Siro, including Interim Italy Coach Gigi Di Biagio.
Milan had a huge chance to take the lead within eight minutes, as Nicola Murru moved his arm outwards to charge down a Davide Calabria cross in the box. Ricardo Rodriguez’s penalty was very precise and low, but also too slow, allowing Emiliano Viviano to get across and fingertip it round the post. It was Viviano’s third consecutive spot-kick save.
However, the Rossoneri did take the lead through a very similar incident. This time Calabria’s cross down the right got through for a Jack Bonaventura inside of the right foot volley from 12 yards.
Sampdoria had their own penalty appeals for handball, as it glanced Calabria’s fist when he tried to head a long pass away from Duvan Zapata, but the VAR officials in the booth considered it millimetres outside the area.
Leonardo Bonucci thought he had made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time after a well-worked set-play routine, but VAR confirmed it was clearly offside.
The second half kicked off after a slight delay as the linesman – with help from Gattuso – sellotaped the flag back together.
Hakan Calhanoglu’s scorcher from distance smacked against the crossbar on 52 minutes, while Cutrone attempted an overhead kick.
Andre Silva came off the bench and managed to complete a give-and-go with Calhanoglu despite falling over, as he simply headed the ball from the ground.
The Portuguese forward then helped the very impressive Calabria go on the counter, his angled drive beaten away one-handed by Viviano.
Moments later, Samp wasted the chance to equalise, as Fabio Quagliarella’s cross found Gianluca Caprari only to turn wide at the back post.
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Saved pen: Ricardo Rodriguez 8 (M)