Milan fumbled a lead for the third draw in a row, as Alessio Romagnoli’s error for a penalty and Pietro Terracciano’s incredible saves earned Empoli a precious point.
The Rossoneri needed to get back on track after recent stalemates with Cagliari and Atalanta, but missed Gonzalo Higuain due to a muscular problem. With Patrick Cutrone still not fully fit after a sprained ankle on international duty, Fabio Borini was the only real option as centre-forward, a role he was no longer accustomed to. Diego Laxalt got his first Serie A start for Milan at left-back. The hosts had Miha Zajc suspended, so Hamid Junior Traore stepped in, with Manuel Pasqual, Afriyie Acquah and Luca Antonelli injured.
Empoli had never beaten Milan at home in Serie A, losing half of their 12 meetings.
It took 10 minutes to break the deadlock, as Laxalt’s cross was only cleared to the edge of the box by Rade Krunic, where Lucas Biglia smashed a ferocious left-foot finish into the near top corner. It would’ve been the Argentina international’s second Milan goal after SPAL last season, but the Lega Serie A credited it as a Leonardo Capezzi own goal due to the deflection.
Gianluigi Donnarumma had to sprint well off his line and stuck out a foot to deny Antonino La Gumina one-on-one, having been sent clear by Krunic. Moments later as the move continued, La Gumina’s header glanced wide.
Ciccio Caputo went even closer, his left-foot volley on a cross-field Ismael Bennacer pass thumping the near post from close range.
It was end to end stuff, as Pietro Terracciano made a double save on Jack Bonaventura’s low drive, then immediately got back up to palm away the Franck Kessie follow-up. On the resulting corner, Terracciano again denied the Bonaventura header.
The Empoli goalkeeper got down quickly to palm a Suso snapshot round the post from 15 yards.
Milan continued to over-complicate their moves with too many touches, resulting in Borini’s shot charged down by Matias Silvestre, and seemed content to sit on their lead.
The Rossoneri gifted a penalty with some comical defending, as Alessio Romagnoli had been faultless until this moment of complacency. He cleared straight at Levan Mchedlidze and then Biglia barged into Caputo. It was Caputo who converted the resulting spot-kick with a powerful and central strike.
Gattuso introduced fresh legs with Patrick Cutrone and Samu Castillejo, which sparked Milan back into life. Suso’s splendid volley was again kept out by reactive Terracciano, but it was end-to-end stuff with Mchedlidze penalty appeals waved away for a tussle with Timeoue Bakayoko and immediately after Terracciano’s flying save on Suso’s trademark left-foot curler.
Suso’s cross whipped past both Mateo Musacchio and Romagnoli at the back post on a set play, but Terracciano continued his Man of the Match performance with an extraordinary fingertip save to push Suso’s low curler round the base of the far post.
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