Lecce vs Milan 2-2: Rossoneri Relinquish Two Goal Lead as Winless Run Continues

Milan gave up a 2-0 leave and eventually drew 2-2 at Lecce. The stalemate means the Rossoneri are now winless in their last four Serie A matches and remain five points behind Inter.

Things were going smoothly for Stefano Pioli’s side after a strong first half. Olivier Giroud and Tijjani Reijnders scored two goals in quick succession. The visitor’s lead also took the attention away from a serious Leão injury early on.

Although the Rossoneri continued to create chances, they weren’t ruthless enough and were punished. Lecce substitute Nicola Sansone played a pivotal role in both goals. He fired in Salentini’s first before setting up Lameck Banda’s late leveller. Then Lecce thought they had stunned Milan further with an injury-time winner. Roberto Piccoli slammed into the net from distance. But the goal was eventually ruled out with late tension gripping the game.

Rossoneri Lose Leão in Cagey Opening

Lecce and Milan came into the match off the back of respective winless runs and a tense opening period took hold. The hosts had the first attempt at goal as Lameck Banda got a chance to run at Milan’s defence and hit a shot straight at Mike Maignan.

Milan suffered a serious setback in the opening 10 minutes when Rafael Leão was forced off injured. The forward appeared to pull his hamstring when chasing a long ball forward. It was a big disappointment for the Portuguese, especially after he found the net during Milan’s win against PSG in midweek.

However, the injury woe did not affect the Rossoneri. Tommaso Pobega had the visitor’s first sight at the goal. His powerful strike from a tight angle was pushed to safety by Wladimiro Falcone.

Things then started to open up and Lecce also started to cause a few problems for the Rossoneri backline. Banda’s long-range shot and Gabriel Strefezza’s strike were comfortably held by Maignan.

Giroud and Reijnders Put Milan Ahead

Milan gained control of possession and some nice interplay in the final third led to the opener. Theo Hernández played a neat one-two with substitute Noah Okafor and the full-back raced into the area and fired a cross for Olivier Giroud to header into the net.

Minutes later, the visitors were on the attack again and cut through the Lecce defence with ease. Samuel Chukwueze was the provider this time with a perfectly weighted first-time pass to release Tijjani Reijnders. The midfielder proceeded to race forward, beat his marker and slammed the ball through Falcone’s legs.

Despite going two goals up, Milan rode their luck late in the half. The Rossoneri defence failed to clear a low cross from the right wing and Banda raced on to meet the loose ball. Fortunately, Maignan was on hand to produce a quick reaction save to preserve the lead for his side.

Milan Push for Decisive Third

Lecce seemed determined to get back into the game and had an early penalty appeal after half time. Patrick Dorgu took a tumble in Milan’s penalty area but referee Rosario Abisso waved away the protests.

Milan continued to look threatening in attack though and continued to get into dangerous areas. Reijnders was in another big chance when he cut back from the byline and Marin Pongračić almost turned the ball into his own net. Luckily, Falcone reacted in time to prevent the ball from going over the line. 

Rossoneri Rocked by Late Lecce Goals

With 25 minutes remaining, Lecce pulled a goal back to set up a tense finale. The goal came from a corner when Milan failed to pick up Alexis Blin, who flicked the ball onto Nicola Sansone and he tapped into the net from close range.

The Rossoneri now found themselves under pressure and facing a capitulation. Ultimately, the visitors caved and conceded another goal just five minutes later. Sansone was the assister this time around when he played in Banda and the striker composedly curled into the corner past Maignan.

Suddenly, the game had swung in Lecce’s favour and Sansone almost struck a third with a dipping free-kick that landed in the side-netting. 

Pioli’s side were unable to ride out the Lecce storm and conceded a third late on. Roberto Piccoli was Lecce’s hero and sent the Stadio Via del Mare into delirium with a thumping 25-yard strike into the bottom left corner. However, the goal was ruled out for a handball in the build-up. To add to the late drama, Giroud was sent off for dissent.