Pepe Reina was hero, villain and hero again for Milan in a 2-1 win away to Genoa, making up for his howler with a stoppage-time penalty save with both teams down to 10 men.
This was the Last Chance Saloon for both Aurelio Andreazzoli and Marco Giampaolo after disastrous results left Genoa with five points and Milan six going into the game. Marko Pajac stepped in for injured Antonio Barreca, but the Rossoneri revamped their side with Leo Duarte in for suspended Mateo Musacchio, Lucas Biglia and even Jack Bonaventura starting, the Italian’s first full game since October 25, 2018.
Another change was foisted upon them in the warm-up, as Gianluigi Donnarumma pulled out with a stomach bug.
Reina immediately had to make a tough save on Lukas Lerager, with a little help from Theo Hernandez pressing, but Genoa were forced into an early substitution too. Domenico Criscito was stretchered off with a suspected hamstring strain, making way for Davide Biraschi.
Ionut Radu beat away a Suso free kick, while the Spaniard aimed another long-range effort straight at him. Reina’s saves were a little tougher, his gloves stung by Paolo Ghiglione and Pajac, who skipped past Davide Calabria.
However, it was Reina who gifted Genoa the opening goal. Lasse Schone hit a free kick from over 30 metres out and Reina completely misjudged it, as it seemed to barely skim his arm as it flew into the net.
The hosts pinned Milan back approaching half-time, Cristian Romero nodding over from a corner. The tension got to Riccardo Saponara, who was sent off from the Genoa bench for dissent.
Giampaolo transformed his side at half-time, dropping Krzysztof Piatek and Hakan Calhanoglu for Rafael Leao and Lucas Paqueta.
Radu smothered a low Giampaolo cross at the feet of Leao, then Theo Hernandez got Milan back on level terms. A free kick was taken quickly, the left-back got to the by-line and somehow squeezed his finish between Radu and the near post from the tightest of angles.
Paqueta combined with Leao to force a save. However, in the build-up Leao had flicked the ball on to the hand of Biraschi from close range. The referee opted for both a penalty and a very harsh straight red after viewing it on VAR, so Franck Kessie converted the spot-kick to give Milan the lead against 10 men.
Radu had to rush off his line to clear after Leao combined to Kessie to then dribble past two players in the penalty area.
Genoa were still in it and Kouame was inches away from getting his head to an Andrea Favilli cross as he flew in from six yards.
They were given even more hope when Davide Calabria received his second yellow card for a blatant shirt-tug on Kouame, so both teams finished with 10 men. It was his second dismissal of the season.
Genoa kept pushing and in stoppages Kouame went over very easily as he ran on to a Goran Pandev through ball, as Reina seemed to pull out of the tackle. The referee awarded a penalty, confirmed by the VAR booth, but Reina made up for his earlier howler by saving Schone’s penalty at the 93rd minute.
There was still time for Samu Castillejo to be sent off from the Milan bench for dissent in a truly dramatic match.
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Sent off: Biraschi 56 (G), Calabria 79 (M)
Saved penalty: Schone 93 (G)
Sent off from the bench: Biraschi 45 (G), Castillejo 94 (M)