AC Milan’s 2019/20 frustrations continued in Ferrara on Wednesday evening as they fell two goals behind against SPAL in Ferrara but were able to fight back against ten men to leave with a point.
A 2-0 defeat of Roma over the weekend had given Stefano Pioli’s side some hope and with Milan never having lost a Serie A game at the Stadio Paolo Mazza, they would have been expecting to build some momentum with another three points.
But a disastrous start in Emilia-Romagna saw them trailing 2-0 to the side who had come into the round as Serie A’s bottom side.
Chaos in the Milan box gave SPAL a surprise lead inside a quarter of an hour. A corner onto the head of Andrea Petagna was flicked on easily by the forward, who had been left completely unmarked, and Alessio Romagnoli made a mess of his attempted clearances before the ball fell to Mattia Valoti.
Turning in the box, the defender scuffed his close-range effort into Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal.
Milan dominated the shot count, but weren’t really making Karlo Letica work between the SPAL posts before the hosts took a two-goal lead.
Sergio Floccari was sure to make his first goal of the Serie A season a special one. As the ball fell to the 38-year-old about 30 yards from goal, he caught it on the bounce and his volley looped up over Donnarumma’s head and dipped into the net.
Milan thought they had pulled one back through Hakan Calhanoglu before VAR intervened to show that Ante Rebic had been offside in the buildup.
Moments before half time the Rossoneri were thanking VAR’s use as Marco D’Alessandro saw red for a high challenge on Theo Hernandez.
Both of SPAL’s scorers were withdrawn at the break as their intentions of hanging on for dear life were made clear by Luigi Di Biagio, and they started the second half attempting to soak up the pressure being mounted by their visitors.
Milan were forced into shots from range early on, which mostly resulted in corners, as Stefano Pioli’s side were lacking in any guile to break through.
Thea first clear opener landed on Alexis Saelemaekers’ head. His effort had beaten Letica but Francesco Vicari was on hand to turn the ball away from goal.
Shots from ranged continued to be Milan’s attempted route to goal and a deflected Calhanoglu shot almost found the net as Letica had set off the other way, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival then saw them turn to pumping crosses towards the Swede.
Milan got their goal through Rafael Leao and, as it seemed it would, it needed a SPAL mistake to gift them the chance. Diego Laxalt delivered a low cross that Nenad Tomovic made a mess of clearing. The ball fell to Leao who passed it into Letica’s bottom corner.
Ibrahimovic, Romagnoli and Giacomo Bonaventura had efforts late on before Vicari turned an innocuous cross into his own goal.