Torino won the crunch match with Milan – their first Serie A victory against them since 2001 – to leapfrog the Rossoneri and push them down to sixth.
This was a surprising showdown for Champions League football, as Toro were only three points behind and a win would give them a superior head-to-head record. A victory was also essential for the Rossoneri, as Roma had already beaten Cagliari and are now in fourth place.
Simone Zaza and Daniele Baselli were suspended, with Iago Falque and Koffi Djidji not fully fit, so Alex Berenguer supported Andrea Belotti. Davide Calabria and Jack Bonaventura were out for the season, but Lucas Paqueta returned after several weeks out. Gennaro Gattuso dropped Krzysztof Piatek for the first time since his debut, instead letting Patrick Cutrone lead the trident attack.
Milan were unbeaten in Serie A against Torino since November 2001, followed by 11 wins and as many draws, home and away.
Toro were very aggressive from the get-go with their pressing game and Milan seemed to mistake kicking for grit, earning three yellow cards in the opening 15 minutes for Andrea Conti – whose studs grazed Cristian Ansaldi’s chest after a ridiculously high tackle – Suso and Lucas Paqueta, the Brazilian wiping out Tomas Rincon after pouncing on a poor Gianluigi Donnarumma pass.
Ansaldi drilled wide on a free kick routine, but at the other end Paqueta sparked a promising move that concluded with Suso stinging Salvatore Sirigu’s gloves at the near post.
Lorenzo De Silvestri came sliding in at the far stick and couldn’t quite get on the end of the Alex Berenguer long ball in a Napoli-esque move. Belotti attempted an audacious overhead kick, charged down by Alessio Romagnoli’s face, but Milan grew into the game towards half-time.
Cutrone threaded through for Hakan Calhanoglu and Sirigu had to come rushing out to parry at this feet.
Belotti had penalty appeals waved away after the restart with Mateo Musacchio’s embrace on a corner not considered enough to penalise.
Toro were furious with the referee when Suso wasted a promising move by running into Armando Izzo, then clearly hauling him back to stop a counter. Walter Mazzarri wanted a second yellow for the Spaniard and was sent off from the touchline.
The pressure eventually paid off, as Kessie was penalised for a soft but fairly visible push on Izzo. Belotti hit his penalty straight down the middle with power, counting on Donnarumma picking a side, and it worked to give Torino the lead.
Gennaro Gattuso made a double change, introducing Piatek and Fabio Borini for Suso and Paqueta. It almost worked, as Tiemoue Bakayoko’s header from a Calhanoglu free kick bounced off the crossbar with Sirigu beaten and Izzo was decisive to block the rebound.
However, Torino doubled their lead moments later. Musacchio only cleared Ansaldi’s cross to the edge of the box, where Alex Berenguer took a touch and smacked the right-foot volley into the far top corner, bending back Donnarumma’s fingertips.
Sirigu was again decisive on another Bakayoko header from 12 yards, this one palmed off the line from a Samu Castillejo cross.
The tension got to Romagnoli, who has received multiple bookings over his Milan career for dissent. He was carded for arguing with the referee, continued to protest every decision and was shown a straight red for sarcastically applauding the official.
This result means that in one weekend, Milan dropped from fourth place to sixth and could well be seventh if Atalanta get a result against Udinese on Monday.
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Sent off: Romagnoli 81 (M)