Bologna vs Milan 2-4: Heroic Nine-Man Rossoblu Concede Late Defeat

It was showtime again in Serie A on Saturday night as Bologna and Milan staged an entertaining six-goal affair at the Renato Dall’Ara Stadium. It was the Rossoneri to come on top 4-2, but Stefano Pioli and his boys could benefit of a double man advantage as the home side had two players – Adama Soumaoro and Nicola Soriano – sent off.

Still, Milan risked a lot as they saw Bologna cancelling a two-goal deficit despite their numerical disadvantage. The Diavolo had to scrape the barrel of their forces to put two more into the Rossoblu net when Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side was understandably left with no fuel in the tank.

Stefano Pioli could thus celebrate his 100th cap as Milan coach with a win that sealed the Rossoneri‘s best start ever in the Serie A (with 25 points out of 27 available) and their temporary lead in the league table. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, on the other hand, scored his first goal as a 40-year-old, but only after slotting the ball into his own net earlier in the game. Yes, the game at the Dall’Ara was not for the faint of heart.

Bologna had the right approach to the game, pegging the Rossoneri back into their own half and pushing from the flanks with their full backs Lorenzo De Silvestri and Aaron Hickey. On 13 minutes, they had a great chance to draw first blood as Milan’s goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu failed to defuse a corner kick cross and offered Marko Arnautovic an easy conversion chance. The Austrian’s header, however, went off target. 

The Rossoblu‘s dominance didn’t last long, though. Lukasz Skorupski grabbing a round of applause with a reckless diving header out of the box to anticipate Rafael Leao was a red flag for Sinisa Mihajlovic’s band.

Soon enough, Milan broke the deadlock with Leao. Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked him with a brilliant filtering pass and the Portuguese’s shot was decisively deflected by Gary Medel into his own net.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts as center back Adama Soumaoro saw red after just 20 minutes. The Frenchman pushed back Rade Krunic to prevent him from grabbing a Simon Kjaer long range cross. He was Bologna’s last standing defender and his foul, though not being particularly hard, prevented Milan from going for a clear scoring chance.

Bologna reacted as Hickey picked Arnautovic with a perfectly-timed cutting pass but this time Tatarusanu did a much better job versus the Austrian striker.

On 35 minutes, Milan doubled their lead. Fodé Ballo-Touré crossed from the left, Skorupski punched the ball away but the Rossoneri‘s offense went on and ended with a deadly right-foot shot that gave Davide Calabria his second seasonal goal.

Before the break, Samu Castillejo raised a white flag due to a hamstring injury and made room for Alexis Saelemaekers. Sandro Tonali, who was booked in the first half, was then replaced by Tiémoué Bakayoko.

With a two-goal lead and a one-man advantage, the Rossoneri seemed ready to switch to cruise control mode. But those expecting a comfortable run for Milan in the second half were left disappointed as Bologna shockingly cancelled the deficit in the space of three minutes.

First, Ibrahimovic astonishingly headed the ball into his own net from a Musa Barrow corner kick. Two minutes later, the striker from Gambia took the matter into his own hands, receiving the ball from Roberto Soriano and slotting it home for Bologna’s second. Full credit to Arnautovic for triggering Bologna’s offense with a magic trick that helped him disposing of his marker Fikayo Tomori.

Too bad for Mihajlovic and the Rossoblu fans that Bologna decided to hurt themselves again as Soriano came up with a killer tackle that almost shattered Ballo-Touré’s ankle. The Rossoblu player earned a direct red, leaving his side in nine. Sinisa Mihajolvic thus had no option but to park the bus, sending in Jerdy Schouten, Luis Binsk, and Mitchell Dijks and lining up his remaining men in a 5-2-1 fashion.

Still, Milan didn’t seem ready to take advantage of the situation. The Rossoneri appeared nervous and confused with Ibrahimovic having a bad night and Rafael Leao progressively losing his efficiency. Their assault still produced a clinical header from Olivier Giroud on 75 minutes, but Skorupski went above and beyond and pushed the Frenchman’s challenge back.

On the other side, two minutes later, Bologna took the luxury of sending Arnautovic one-on-one with Tatarusanu, prompting a fine save from the Romanian shot-stopper. The heroic striker then abandoned the pitch, replaced by Federico Santander.

Eventually, it was Ismael Bennacer to save the day for the Milan, pouncing on a clearance from the Bologna defense to conjure a spectacular left-foot volley from outside the box that left no chance to Skorupski. The Rossoblu were exhausted and, on 90 minutes, Ibrahimovic wrapped it with a soft curl that found the bottom right corner of the net.

Milan regained the top spot of the Serie A table as they wait for Napoli to face Roma tomorrow but the night at the Dall’Ara Stadium was much more troubled than expected. Bologna earned a round of applause for their heroic resistance but, knowing coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, he will still not be happy with how the match ended.



October 23, 2021 – Serie A 2021-2022 Round 9

SCORERS: 16′ Rafael Leao (M), 35′ Calabria (M), 49′ Ibrahimovic (M, aut.), 51′ Barrow (B), 84′ Bennacer (M), 90′ Ibrahimovic (M)

BOLOGNA (3-4-2-1): Skorupski; Soumaoro, Medel (87′ Orsolini), Theate; De Silvestri, Dominguez (63′ Schouten), Svanberg, Hickey (36′ Dijks); Soriano, Barrow (63′ Binks); Arnautovic (83′ Santander) (Bardi, Molla, Mbaye, Vignato, Sansone, Skov Olsen, van Hooijdonk) Coach: Mihajlovic
MILAN (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Ballo-Touré (85′ Kalulu); Tonali (46′ Bakayoko), Bennacer; Castillejo (46′ Saelemaekers), Krunic (60′ Giroud), Rafael Leao; Ibrahimovic (Jungdal, Mirante, Conti, Gabbia, Romagnoli, Maldini) Coach: Pioli

REFEREE: Mr. Valeri from Rome
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Arnautovic (B); Tonali, Calabria, Saelemaekers (M); Red Cards: Soumaoro, Soriano (B); Added Time: 1st Half: 1′, 2nd Half: 4′