Milan’s Champions League ambitions are under threat after a disappointing 1-1 draw away to Parma, as the Bruno Alves free kick wiped out a Samu Castillejo header.
The Rossoneri consolidated fourth place last week, but remained only one point clear of Roma, with Atalanta and Lazio also within reach. Gianluigi Donnarumma and Andrea Conti returned to the starting XI after injury problems, though Lucas Paqueta was still struggling. Parma had Gervinho and Bruno Alves back, although Roberto Inglese, Jonathan Biabiany, Francisco Sierralta and Alberto Grassi remained on the treatment table.
Donnarumma immediately had work to do, rushing off his line to push Gervinho’s through ball off the feet of Fabio Ceravolo, as the referee and VAR booth waved away Parma penalty appeals.
Juraj Kucka almost scored a stunner soon after, as his spectacular overhead kick from Marcello Gazzola’s cross skimmed the crossbar with Donnarumma beaten.
Milan dominated possession with nothing to show for it other than hopeful long-range shots and over-hit crosses, whereas Parma were more effective.
After three consecutive corners, the Ducali caused a huge scare with Donnarumma flapping at a Ceravolo flick-on and Gervinho failing to keep his shot down on the rebound at the back post.
Donnarumma spilled a Marcello Gazzola cross and just about got it under control before Ceravolo could pounce.
When Hakan Calhanoglu did get a shot on target after the restart, it was straight at Luigi Sepe and easy to gather, while Krzysztof Piatek did well to turn only to then fire wide.
Gennaro Gattuso had to do something and introduced Patrick Cutrone for Tiemoue Bakayoko, then Samu Castillejo for Andrea Conti.
It paid off, because within minutes of stepping on to the field, Castillejo had redirected a Suso cross from the right into the near top corner to break the deadlock.
Moments later, Cutrone had the ball in the back of the net with an easy tap-in, but only after Piatek had been caught offside on the assist.
Parma had a huge chance to equalise, as Donnarumma completely mistimed the run off his line and was caught in no man’s land as Luca Siligardi’s finish from a tight angle was deflected on to the base of the near post.
Kucka also threatened, his half-volley dipping viciously just over the bar, and Parma did get a deserved equaliser three minutes from time. Bruno Alves marked his return after three games out injured by curling a magnificent free kick into the near top corner, leaving Donnarumma rooted to the spot.
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