Krzysztof Piatek’s opener was cancelled out by a classic Kevin Lasagna counter-attack, as injury-hit Milan were held by Udinese at San Siro.
The Rossoneri changed system after two consecutive defeats to Inter and Sampdoria, which put their Champions League participation in peril. Suso was dropped with Diego Laxalt and Ignazio Abate coming in, but above all Lucas Paqueta was turned into a trequartista behind Krzysztof Piatek and Patrick Cutrone in a 4-3-1-2. Udinese were revitalised by new Coach Igor Tudor, who beat Genoa 2-0 on his debut at the weekend, but Sandro and Jens Stryger-Larsen were suspended with Bram Nuytinck, Marco D’Alessandro and Antonin Barak injured.
There was a big chance within a couple of minutes, as Piatek burst to the byline and pulled back for Cutrone’s fresh-air shot from six yards.
Gianluigi Donnarumma wandered outside the area and was almost caught out by Kevin Lasagna, but in prodding the loose ball out for a corner, he seemed to tweak a muscle and had to make way for Pepe Reina.
Cutrone again couldn’t quite reach a Piatek assist, then Paqueta’s ferocious strike from distance flashed just wide of the near top corner.
The Brazilian floated a ball over the top for Cutrone, whose chest and volley on the turn was beaten away by Juan Musso.
Paqueta was the only one creating chances in that new trequartista role, but the Brazilian was forced off before half-time by an ankle injury following Valon Behrami’s challenge, so made way for Samu Castillejo.
There was at least some good news for the Rossoneri, as Cutrone controlled a long ball, turned and floated in the cross for Piatek. The Pole’s volley was parried from point-blank range, but he nodded in the rebound.
Udinese were more proactive after the break, as Rodrigo De Paul’s cross skimmed the head of Ignacio Pussetto at the back post.
Milan came close from a corner with a goalmouth scramble, but Udinese immediately went on the counter and equalised, as Seko Fofana rolled across for Kevin Lasagna, who had time to control and blast into the roof of the net from 10 yards.
The visitors nearly turned it around completely, as Sebastien De Maio turned a free header wide from a De Paul free kick, then Lasagna fired off target from a Stefano Okaka through ball.
Behrami was stretchered off after a strange injury, as he accidentally got a teammate’s clearance right in the face from point-blank range.
Castillejo’s control and volley was straight at Musso from 12 yards, while Reina had to palm away a dangerous Fofana cross. It remained end-to-end and in the final minute of stoppages Hakan Calhanoglu needed a last-ditch tackle to stop De Paul going clear on goal.
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