AC Milan held on to fourth place with a 1-1 draw away to Roma thanks to Krzysztof Piatek’s first Serie A goal for his new club and an inspired performance from goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The Pole, who joined from Genoa last month to replace Chelsea-bound Gonzalo Higuain, scored twice against Napoli in the Coppa Italia in midweek and was on target again, before Nicolo Zaniolo equalised for Roma early in the second half.
It was Piatek’s third goal in three visits to Rome this season with Genoa and Milan, while Zaniolo became the youngest player to reach three Serie A goals for the Giallorossi since Francesco Totti in 1995.
Milan opened the scoring after 26 minutes as their two January signings combined, Lucas Paqueta pinching the ball off a hesitant Lorenzo Pellegrini before teeing up Piatek to tap in.
The hosts were applying most of the pressure but couldn’t find a way past Donnarumma, who stopped dangerous shots from Edin Dzeko and Zaniolo before performing a superb double-save late in the first half as he dived to parry a Patrik Schick header before springing to his feet and charging down Dzeko’s follow-up.
Roma eventually broke through within a minute of the second half kicking off, when Donnarumma saved Mateo Musacchio’s blushes by pushing away what would’ve been an own goal, only for Zaniolo to smash in the loose ball from close range.
The Italy goalkeeper saved his side again with 20 minutes remaining, blocking Dzeko’s header, before Pellegrini saw a header of his own come back off the post as Roma tried without success to find the winner.
Roma’s nightmare week is over
Roma’s Curva Sud demanded their players show “respect” on the pitch tonight, booing and whistling everyone but Daniele De Rossi and Nicolo Zaniolo before the game and then leaving the Curva half-empty once it had kicked off.
The protests, not the first to take place this season, came on the back of Roma throwing away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Atalanta last weekend and, of course, their humiliating 7-1 collapse to Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia.
Their performance was undoubtedly improved against Milan, with Roma creating the better chances but finding it hard to get past an inspired Donnarumma. Nobody is likely to be calling it a turning point, but the display can at least give Eusebio Di Francesco something to build on after seeing his side concede 11 goals in seven days.
Milan’s PP Gun
Few things will have delighted fans more on Sunday than the sight of their two high-profile January signings teaming up for the opening goal.
If his early appearances are anything to go by, Piatek will be a major upgrade on Gonzalo Higuain for the Rossoneri. He struck again at the Stadio Olimpico, his third goal in three trips to the stadium this season, to open his Serie A account for his new team and make it three goals in three appearances in total.
But Lucas Paqueta made the goal, pressuring Lorenzo Pellegrini into a mistake before robbing him of the ball and showing the composure to pick out the Pole. It promises to be a dangerous combination, with the balance of Paqueta’s craft and Piatek’s deadly finishing showing promising early signs.