Milan plunged into full-blown crisis mode after a humiliating 3-1 home defeat to Fiorentina, which saw Mateo Musacchio sent off and Gianluigi Donnarumma save a penalty.
For the first time this season, Marco Giampaolo picked the same XI twice, making no changes from the side that played well for an hour against Torino on Thursday only to lose 2-1. The pressure was building after three defeats in the opening five rounds, especially against . The Viola also made no adjustments after finally ending their 18-round winless streak by beating Sampdoria 2-1 midweek.
German Pezzella made a decisive interception to stop Franck Kessie going clear on a through ball, but Federico Chiesa ran on to Franck Ribery’s pass and his shot almost squirmed away from Gianluigi Donnarumma, as he punched it on to his own head and wide.
Hakan Calhanoglu gave the ball away cheaply in midfield, allowing Ribery to sprint forward, dribble between two defenders, force a Donnarumma save and then Theo Hernandez tripped Chiesa on the rebound for a penalty. Erick Pulgar converted by sending Donnarumma the wrong way to put Fiorentina in front.
After a long period of Milan possession, Suso’s curler was slapped out from under the bar by Bartlomiej Dragowski, but Gaetano Castrovilli had the ball in the net on 28 minutes, only after Chiesa had wandered offside.
Rafael Leao saw his attempt accidentally charged down by teammate Krzysztof Piatek, then pulled back from the by-line with nobody there to meet it. The Rossoneri were jeered off the pitch by their own fans at half-time.
Rade Krunic was introduced in place of Kessie for the second half, making his debut in the Milan jersey. They were more aggressive, but a little too much, because Mateo Musacchio was frustrated at losing the ball and went into a studs-up challenge on Ribery’s shin. At first, the yellow card was awarded, but after viewing it again on VAR, the referee changed it to a red.
After another Davide Calabria ball flashed across the face of goal with nobody making the run, Leo Duarte also made his debut, replacing the utterly anonymous Piatek.
Pulgar stung Donnarumma’s gloves from distance, but the night went from bad to worse for Calhanoglu, who was caught in possession again. Donnarumma only got a hand to Chiesa’s low cross and Castrovilli was quickest to react on the rebound for his debut Serie A goal.
Bennacer gave away another penalty by tripping Castrovilli moments later and Chiesa decided he wanted to take the spot-kick, but it was central and well saved by Donnarumma to keep the scoreline down.
The ultras started to protest against the club and directors as well as Coach and players, a new development in the Elliott Management era.
Ribery added the third goal, as Chiesa laid it off for the 36-year-old, who cut back in one movement to commit two defenders and drilled into the near bottom corner from 12 yards.
Moments later, Rafael Leao left Milan with at least some hope for the future with his debut Serie A goal. The young Portuguese talent twisted and turned between four defenders to place the angled drive across Dragowski into the far bottom corner.
There was still time for Kevin-Prince Boateng to be given a warm welcome by his former fans and Ribery a standing ovation.
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Sent off: Musacchio 54 (M)
Saved penalty: Chiesa 70 (F)