STADIO SAN SIRO (Milan) – Not even Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return to AC Milan could prevent them from dropping points against Sampdoria on Monday afternoon, with the pair playing out a scoreless draw.
They hadn’t shared the points in Serie A since April 2015 but for all the possession they enjoyed they couldn’t find their way to goal.
Milan have now failed to score in each of their last three games and have just two points from those, having drawn with Sassuolo and been humiliated at Atalanta.
— ForzaItalianFootball (@SerieAFFC) January 6, 2020
There was more of a buzz than usual around the San Siro ahead of kick off, which was made clear by the 58,572 in attendance roaring Ibrahimovic’s name and the rest during the pre-match reading of teams.
That enthusiasm appeared to carry onto the pitch too and Milan were lively to start. Samp were camped in their own half for ten or so minutes, but the hosts couldn’t carve out anything clear.
Even in Milan’s dominance there was a lingering sense of danger though. The first time the Blucerchiati ventured forward it almost ended in calamity as Gianluigi Donnarumma and his defence lacked communication, only to be saved by Davide Massa’s whistle.
But that energy didn’t last for much more than ten minutes, if that, and the Rossoneri soon became ponderous in possession again.
Theo Hernandez glanced a header across Emil Audero’s goal midway through the half and Suso forced him into a save, but there wasn’t much else in terms of chances at either end.
Hakan Calhanoglu got the first shot of the second half out of the way early on but, as is often the case with the Rossoneri, it was from outside the area and Audero got down to deny him.
Milan’s defence remained unsettled though. Three men got drawn into a ball in midfield that presented space for Manolo Gabbiadini to attack through the middle. Donnarumma blocked the shot and as it looped towards the line Theo Hernandez got back to clear at the last second.
The level of quality was low and although Ibrahimovic’s arrival injected some life into things again, there wasn’t much happening on the pitch to warrant the noise.
He had a chance almost immediately but laid off for fellow substitute Rafael Leao and the opportunity passed.
Gabbiadini got through on goal after a loose Davide Calabria backpass but, even after rounding Donnarumma he blazed wide.
Ibrahimovic then has his chance. A header at the back post was on its way in until Omar Colley got back to clear it off the line. Another header came and went, Audero saving his second from close range.
Misplaced crosses and passes were all that followed. Suso was particularly guilty and he felt the full wrath of the Curva Sud and surrounding stands on more than one occasion before the final whistle sounded.