AC Milan threw away another victory after gifting Empoli a point at Stadio Carlo Castellani on Thursday night.
The game's first real chance ended in its first goal. A terrible hashed clearance by Rade Krunic landed at the feet of Lucas Biglia, and Milan's central midfielder thundered the ball past a despairing Pietro Terracciano. While it did take a deflection, the Argentine's second ever goal for I Rossoneri was, much like his boots, a peach.
Empoli weren't without their chances however, as Antonino La Gumina saw a golden opportunity saved by the leg of Gianluigi Donnarumma. Francesco Caputo then managed to make space before thumping his attempt off the post with the Milan goalkeeper beaten all ends up.
Minutes later, the match switched tides again, as Giancomo Bonvanetura found a way through and drilled his shot back across Terracciano. The goalkeeper palmed out into Franck Kessie's path for what looked like a certain goal, but got up wonderfully to tip over the bar.
Milan will bottle this, and Gattuso will unfortunately be sacked.— Turkish Prince (@KofnakGH) September 27, 2018
It's all down to the players..
Little happened in the second half until a shocking mistake from Alessio Romagnoli. The captain fluffed his pass after kicking the ground and substitute Levan Mchedildze stole a march. At panic stations, the defender threw out a lazy leg and gave away a penalty.
After a long VAR discussion, referee Michael Fabbri awarded the spot kick. Empoli's star player in Caputo stayed calm, smashing the ball straight down the middle. With individual errors costing Milan all year, blunders like these will drive Rossoneri fans up the wall.
Key Talking Point
Empoli's missed chances.
With avoiding relegation the ambition for Serie A's yo-yo club, all opportunities need to be taken. Gennaro Gattuso is hellbent on his players sticking to his philosophy, but passing out from the back has cost them time and time again. If the home side were a little sharper, they could've won this game.
Empoli's big chances came midway through the opening half. The first saw Krunic's pass shred AC's high line. Bearing down one-on-one with Donnarumma, La Gumina's shot was well saved by the Italian international.
Still looking for his first goal since joining from Palermo this summer, the youngster won't be handed many better chances.
Empoli growing in confidence here. Milan need to finish off this result otherwise they will be in trouble like they did the last time these two sides met as Empoli won 2-1 at San Siro.— Rossé Marrai-Ricco (@RossellaMarrai) September 27, 2018
Ismael Bennacer then fired a pinpoint ball right over Rossoneri's back line, which was majestically taken down by forward Caputo. Scoring 26 times last season, Empoli's goal machine shifted to his left foot only to see his shot cannon off the right post.
Starting XI (4-3-1-2): Terracciano (9*); Di Lorenzo (8), Silvestre (7), Maietta (6), Veseli (7); Capezzi (5), Bennacer (6), Krunic (6); Traore (6); La Gumina (5), Caputo (8).
Substitutes: Mchedlidze (7), Rasmussen (6), Brighi (N/A).
STAR MAN - Pietro Terracciano
Saves a plenty, Terracciano was terrific all night. Keeping his side in the game with some phenomenal stops in the first half, Empoli have their goalkeeper to thank for this point.
Unable to do anything about Biglia's opener, the shot stopper didn't let an early goal effect his confidence. Staying alert as the game dwindled, top class saves from Suso and Tiemoue Bakayoko in the final minutes were crucial.
Worst Player - Leonardo Capezzi
Not horrible, it was just that the midfielder could've been heading for an early bath if not for Fabbri's leniency.
Subbed late on by coach Aurelio Andreazzoli, the 23-year-old will need to show a bit more maturity as Empoli are to likely finds themselves in a relegation scrap later on in this campaign.
Starting XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma (7); Calabria (6), Musacchio (6), Romagnoli (5), Laxalt (6); Kessie (5), Biglia (7), Bonaventura (7); Suso (7*), Borini (3), Calhanoglu (5).
Substitutes: Cutrone (4), Castillejo (5), Bakayoko (4).
STAR MAN - Suso
Nobody in AC Milan colours was particularly impressive, but Suso was at the centre of all threat. Shots, passes and dribbles, the winger was unfortunate not to have his name of the score sheet.
Up against a goalkeeper in incredible form, the Spaniard saw every attempt stopped by a near impenetrable wall. Likely frustrated with the result, he can hold his head up high due to the fact that he continually looked to create.
Worst Player - Fabio Borini
After Gonzalo Higuain was ruled out with pain in the flexor of his leg, Gattuso chose to start Borini over Patrick Cutrone. It's fair to say that Milan fans weren't amused by their manager's decision, and the former Sunderland man did little to change their minds.
Borini is worst Milan player so far. He's running all over the place like a headless chicken. Waiting for him to be subbed with Cutrone soon.— Dr. Rossoneri (@DrRossoneri) September 27, 2018
Every time the Italian received possession he was cumbersome and lethargic. Whether he was struggling with a problem himself or just uninterested, his removal in the second half was deserved.
Empoli will be stoked with their ability to hold on late in this game, and may carry a slight disappointment about earlier missed chances. Hoping to cement their place in Serie A for another season, outings like these should bring confidence.
On the other hand, Milan are to be bitterly annoyed with the way they let this game slide. Having an opportunity to be out of sight by half time, Gattuso's men have nobody to blame but themselves. They travel to Sassuolo this Sund, while Empoli visit Parma.