Milan held Roma despite having 10 men for half the game, as Sulley Muntari saw red for wrestling the referee and Francesco Totti was also sent off.
The Rossoneri needed a win to secure a Champions League spot, while the Giallorossi were pushing for the Europa League and required a boost after Tuesday’s surprise home defeat to Chievo. A point each leaves everything in the balance for Europe until the final round.
Daniele De Rossi, Federico Balzaretti and Maarten Stekelenburg didn’t make the trip, while Miralem Pjanic was not 100 per cent fit. Max Allegri was without Riccardo Montolivo, Daniele Bonera, Luca Antonini, Bojan Krkic and Nigel De Jong.
The Rossoneri were wearing their new gold strip, which will be for the 2013-14 campaign. Christian Abbiati flew to palm away a fierce Marquinho snapshot that was heading into the near top corner.
Marquinho threatened again when skipping past Kevin Constant for Abbiati to smother low, while Francesco Totti fired over after a Constant howler.
Stephan El Shaarawy set up Mario Balotelli on the edge of the box, who managed to find space among four Roma players, but Simone Perrotta dived in with a crucial block on the edge of the box.
Marquinho again found space down the right, but Abbiati parried from close range and Philippe Mexes sold a dummy to waltz it out of his own box. At the other end, Sulley Muntari’s screamer flashed just over the bar.
Mattia De Sciglio burst down the right and his ball across found Kevin-Prince Boateng, but the finish was straight at Bogdan Lobont from point-blank range. Less than a minute later Totti tested Abbiati from distance with a powerful rising drive, as this game was end-to-end.
Balotelli’s free kick dipped over the wall and Lobont punched away at the base of the near post.
Milan went down to 10 men after a foolish moment from Muntari, who tried to physically restrain the referee from taking out the card from his pocket. It was not clear what had sparked the incident, but Muntari attempted to stop the official booking Balotelli and instead got himself sent off for manhandling the referee.
El Shaarawy’s diving header was deflected out for a corner before the break. Play was halted just three minutes into the restart and a message read out over the tannoy system urging Roma fans to stop making racist chants. The procedure in Italy is for this step to be taken and, if it continues, the referee can call off the game.
Pablo Daniel Osvaldo drilled just wide of the near stick and Lobont needed two touches to get a Balotelli free kick under control.
Marquinho chipped Abbiati from a tight angle and some desperate Mexes defending cleared before anyone could take advantage.
Mathieu Flamini tested Lobont at the near post, as the Romanian goalkeeper scrambled it under control at the second attempt. Miralem Pjanic blasted over from distance, but despite being down to 10 men, Milan introduced Giampaolo Pazzini for Flamini and went for broke.
Abbiati smothered a Pjanic daisy-cutter, but it was difficult to tell the Rossoneri were a man down. There was controversy on 87 minutes when Constant gave the ball away and appeared to trip Erik Lamela in the area, but timid penalty appeals were waved away.
Dodo stung Abbiati’s palms at the near post with a powerful effort and Lobont punched a corner off Balotelli’s head.
Roma also went down to 10 men in stoppages, as Totti saw Mexes coming up behind him and lashed out an elbow, earning a straight red card.
Burdisso’s header was off target after anticipating De Sciglio, then Mexes ran into Lobont after the whistle had been blown, prompting a scuffle.
With the last kick of the game, Lamela’s long-range attempt was caught by Abbiati.
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Sent off: Muntari 41 (M), Totti 91 (R)