A late Nikola Kalinic goal saved AC Milan from defeat as they could only manage a 1-1 draw with lowly Sassuolo at the Stadio San Siro on Sunday night.
The Rossoneri had all the possession, but ultimately a lack of creative nous in the final third, coupled with an inspired Andrea Consigli led to a frustrating evening for Gennaro Gattuso.
With Roma and Inter both losing earlier in the weekend, Milan missed a chance to close the gap by three points, and thus remain sixth in the Serie A table, eight points off fourth spot and Champions League football.
As expected it was Milan who were on top for the opening stages and Sassuolo had Andrea Consigli to thank for keeping them in the game early on as the goalkeeper made a miraculous save on the goalline as Franck Kessie looked to have bundled the ball home.
Spurred on from that early chance, Milan went close again and after some pinball in the Sassuolo penalty area, Lucas Biglia had a shot charged down by the defence.
Again Consigli was called into action, this time tipping a Hakan Calhanoglu effort over the crossbar, then moments later the Sassuolo glovesman beat out a freekick from the Turk.
Next up was Suso to try his luck against Consigli, and once more the Sassuolo man was equal to the effort, punching away the Spaniard’s curling strike.
Just after the half hour, Kessie managed to weave his way to the goalline, before a one-two with Federico Peluso allowed him to get a strike in on goal, but it was that man Consigli again there to make the save.
A mere spectator for the majority of the first half, Gianluigi Donnarumma spilled a Matteo Politano long range effort almost into the path of Domenico Berardi, but at the second attempt got the ball out of danger.
After the break, Milan started as the same way they did the first half, and this time it was Leonardo Bonucci who headed over the crossbar from close range.
Milan were having plenty of the ball, and Gattuso brought on Andre Silva for Ignazio Abate as the Rossoneri went looking for that elusive goal, but a lack of movement among the front players and poor, slow passing was making life difficult.
A goal did come, completely against the run of play Sassuolo had the ball in the back of the net. Politano managed to keep himself onside and latched onto a ball over the top before finishing into the bottom left corner from the edge of the area.
— Alessia N??velli (@Alessia_Nov) April 8, 2018
The pattern of the game never changed as Milan continued to pin Sassuolo into their penalty area, but a lack of imagination, as well as an willingness to shoot saw the Rossoneri fans growing increasingly frustrated.
Out of nowhere, Milan got the equaliser as Kalinic got on the end of a Giacomo Bonaventura flick on, and smashed in off the crossbar, after Mateo Musacchio had launched the ball into he box.
— Milan Talk (@MilanTalk1) April 8, 2018
That goal gave the San Siro a lift and Milan went searching for the winner, and a late Bonaventura strike was brilliantly saved by Consigli.