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Empoli 2 AC Milan 2: Maccarone frustrates Rossoneri

Massimo Maccarone netted a second-half equaliser to help Empoli to a 2-2 Serie A draw against AC Milan at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men were ahead twice on Saturday, but it was not enough to bag the three points as the 36-year-old frustrated the Rossoneri with his goal just past the hour mark.

Carlos Bacca had opened the scoring for Milan – just as he did in August’s reverse fixture – with a clinical finish inside the opening eight minutes, only for Piotr Zielinski to level it up before the break.

Giacomo Bonaventura handed the San Siro side the lead a second time shortly after the interval, but Maccarone’s ninth goal of the season meant it ended all square.

Milan remain sixth in the table following with 33 points from 21 games, 11 points behind leaders Napoli, while Empoli sit eighth on 32 points.

The visitors made a fine start to the game as Bacca beat the offside trap after a long ball from Luca Antonelli and took a touch before firing home from inside the area for his 10th goal in 21 league appearances this term.  

Zielinski looked dangerous for Empoli after twisting past his man just outside the box, but his shot lacked the power and accuracy to worry Gianluigi Donnarumma between the posts.  

Bonaventura tested the goalkeeper with a sublime volley from a narrow angle after a cross from the right, but goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski did well to deny the versatile midfielder.  

Maccarone had a goal disallowed for offside on the half-hour mark, but the hosts did restore parity two minutes later. Former Milan midfielder Riccardo Saponara found Zielinski with a clever ball into the area and the Poland international coolly slotted home through Donnarumma’s legs.  

Milan immediately started pushing for a second goal, but M’Baye Niang saw a powerful long-range strike saved by Skorupski, while Bonaventura wasted a good chance as he failed to get his free-kick from the edge of the box on target.

Mihajlovic’s side restored their lead three minutes into the second half in somewhat fortuitous circumstances. Lorenzo Tonelli’s attempted clearance hit Niang’s face and bounced into the path of Bonaventura, who calmly finished from close range.

Maccarone threatened for Empoli after a quick counter-attack, but the veteran striker hesitated too long and eventually failed to trouble Donnarumma.

He did find the net in the 61st minute, though. Donnarumma did well to palm away Manuel Pucciarelli’s shot, but Maccarone was first to the rebound and had no trouble tapping home from just a few yards out.

Milan even escaped conceding a third goal when Zielinski’s powerful strike went just inches wide with 15 minutes remaining.

Mihajlovic had brought on Mario Balotelli for Niang halfway through the second half as he sought to turn one point into three, but the Liverpool loanee was unable to make the difference, firing a free-kick straight at Skorupski as it remained 2-2.

Sat 23 Jan, 2016
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