Last Second Spot-Kick Salvages a Point for Milan Against Udinese

On Wednesday night, Milan hosted Udinese at the San Siro in the absence of their injured prime star Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The visitors thought that they had all three points wrapped up thanks to Rodrigo Becao’s header, but Jens Stryger Larsen gifted the hosts a last second penalty, and Franck Kessié buried the spot to tie the match at 1-1.

Whislt Ibra was entertaining at Sanremo on Tuesday, Stefano Pioli had to rely on Rafael Leao as the lone striker in his usual 4-2-3-1 lineup. The Portuguese was supported by Samu Castillejo, Brahim Diaz and Anté Rebic. Meanwhile, Captain Alessio Romagnoli made his return to the starting formation.

On the other hand, Luca Gotti maintained his usual 3-5-1-1 tactical scheme. Former Juventus man Roberto Pereyra operated as an attacking midfielder behind Ilija Nestorovski who was given a rare start after his late winner against Fiorentina. Captain Rodrigo De Paul played alongside Tolgay Arslan and Jean-Victor Makengo in midfield.

The first half was mostly a dull affair. Milan dominated 65% of possession, but Udinese were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure. Therefore, the Rossoneri only created one or two dangerous goal-scoring opportunities.

Brahim Diaz was one of the more active players on the pitch. The young Spaniard tried to threaten Juan Musso from the edge of the area, but his shot was too weak to trouble the Argentine.

The best chance in the first half came from Castillejo. The former Villarreal man dribbled his way around the Zebrette midfielders before unleashing a low shot, but Musso somehow managed to save it with his right leg.

After the break, Udinese almost shocked Milan immediately as Pereyra pounced on a poor back-pass from Theo Hernandez. Gianluigi Donnarumma left his post as he went chasing after the Argentine, but the latter managed to cross it for Nestorovski who had an open goal at his mercy. Nonetheless, his header was miraculously cleared off the line by Romagnoli.

The Diavolo replied with a chance of their own. Hernandez brought the ball forward with a run on the left flank, and Brahim fed the ball to Soualiho Meité who tried to lobby it over Musso. The shot-stopper parried it out, before denying Kessié on the following corner kick.

After another slow period, the Bianconeri shocked their hosts by taking the lead on the 68th minute. Rodrigo Becao rose higher than anyone else to head the ball from a corner kick. Nestorovski and Davide Calabria both tried to reach it and failed, but their movement was enough to distract Donnarumma, as the header went between his legs.

The Rossoneri’s reaction wasn’t particularly impressive, with arguably no real opportunities to mention, but they eventually received a gift from an unexpected source.

Rebic’ last minute cross wasn’t a particularly dangerous one, and Jens Stryger Larsen was expected to comfortably intercept it, but the substitute suffered from what could only be described as a mental lapse. The Dane shockingly waved his hand in the air and clumsily intercepted the ball. Pioli’s men could barely believe their luck as they were awarded a penalty kick.

Kessié went for the middle as Musso dived to his left, and “The President” was once again the savior for his club.

However, after their win over Roma on Sunday, the draw against Udinese could only be considered as a step-back for Milan, especially with the mediocre performance witnessed on Wednesday night.



March 3, 2021 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 25

SCORERS: 68′ Becao (U), 97′ Kessié (M, pen.)

MILAN (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma; Kalulu (63′ Calabria), Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Tonali (46′ Meité), Kessié; Castillejo (75′ Saelemaekers), Brahim Diaz (63′ Hauge), Rebic; Rafael Leao (Tatarusanu, A. Donnarumma, Diogo Dalot, Tomori, Krunic, Gabbia) Coach: Pioli
UDINESE (3-5-1-1): Musso; Becao, Bonifazi, Nuytinck; Molina, Pereyra (82′ Samir), Makengo (56′ Llorente), Arslan (71′ Walace), Zeegelaar (71′ Stryger Larsen); De Paul, Nestorovski (Gasparini, Scuffet, Ouwejan, Okaka, Braaf, Micin, De Maio) Coach: Gotti

REFEREE: Mr. Massa from Imperia
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Rebic, Hernandez, Romagnoli, Kessié (M); Zeegelaar (U); Extra Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 5′