The first Josip Ilicic penalty miss of his Serie A career proved decisive, as Milan held out for a 0-0 draw away to Fiorentina and had last-gasp penalty appeals.
The Rossoneri were seeking a third consecutive victory, though they’d lost the last two trips to the Stadio Franchi. Cristian Zapata, Andrea Bertolacci and ex-Viola man Mati Fernandez were injured, with Luca Antonelli still not 100 per cent fit, so Davide Calabria retained his place at right-back. The hosts lost Davide Astori and gave Mexico international Carlos Salcedo his Serie A debut, having played in a Europa League draw at PAOK.
Federico Bernardeschi curled over from the edge of the box within 120 seconds and Josip Ilicic curled just wide, but Gonzalo Rodriguez was also booked after two minutes for hacking down Carlos Bacca.
Nikola Kalinic protested during a penalty area tussle with Gabriel Paletta, while Milan Badelj and M’Baye Niang blasted over from a promising position.
At the end of a chaotic move with several errors, above all from Mattia De Sciglio, Calabria held Borja Valero and the referee opted for a penalty. Ilicic stepped up, but fired the spot-kick on to the inside of the upright and it ricocheted back out. It was the Slovenian’s first Serie A penalty error at the ninth attempt and Gianluigi Donnarumma perhaps would’ve got his fingertips to the ball if it had been on target.
Bacca attempted an audacious back-heel flick at the near post, but it didn’t quite come off after good work from Suso and Calabria down the right.
Juraj Kucka got back for a decisive block after Borja Valero combined with Carlos Sanchez, then Ilicic curled wide as the move continued.
Bernardeschi’s curling cross flashed just past both the far post and Kalinic, who came sliding in unable to make contact from six yards.
On the stroke of half-time, De Sciglio did just enough to stop Bernardeschi nodding in a Milic cross at the back stick.
Fiorentina came out strong in the second half and dominated possession, but were almost caught out on a counter, as Niang, Jack Bonaventura and Bacca all had efforts charged down from six yards.
It became end to end stuff with midfields cut out completely, as this time Kalinic stung Donnarumma’s gloves from an Ilicic counter and Carlos Salcedo cleverly blocking Bacca’s finish after a Riccardo Montolivo through ball.
De Sciglio’s scorcher almost squirmed away from Ciprian Tatarusanu, Donnarumma got his fingertips to a Nenad Tomovic cross and Bonaventura set up Suso for a curler that was crucially prevented from flying into the far bottom corner by Badelj.
Donnarumma flew for a fantastic fingertip save on Borja Valero’s precise finish from just inside the box.
Fiorentina surprisingly moved Carlos Sanchez to centre-back, maintaining three at the back. He was not entirely accustomed to the role, as the Colombian completely missed a cross, allowing Bacca to hook and spin inches wide of the post.
Milan were furious in the final seconds of stoppages when Luiz Adriano sprung the offside trap in the centre-circle, ran towards the box and fell under a Tomovic tackle, but the referee waved play on. The protests were understandable, because Tomovic did not get the ball, though contact might've been just outside the area.
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Missed penalty: Ilicic 23 (F)