Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Udinese 1 AC Milan 1: Donnarumma OG denies 10-man Rossoneri

SoccerNews in Serie A 4 Feb 2018

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Suso’s spectacular early strike was cancelled out by a Gianluigi Donnarumma own goal as Udinese came from behind to deny 10-man AC Milan in a 1-1 draw at Stadio Friuli.

The Serie A match on Sunday was a showdown between two teams coached by 2006 World Cup winners and former Milan team-mates in Gennaro Gattuso and his Zebrette counterpart Massimo Oddo.

Both men have exerted a positive impact after being appointed by their respective clubs in November, but the Rossoneri, who had Davide Calabria sent off in the 68th minute, were forced to settle for a share of spoils after the hosts battled back to earn a deserved point in front of a noisy home crowd. 

Kevin Lasagna had come closest to scoring for Udinese and the striker was heavily involved when Milan’s backline was finally breached, his chipped cutback hitting both Leonardo Bonucci and then goalkeeper Donnarumma before finding the back of the net. 

The result saw Gattuso’s eighth-placed team remain unbeaten from their last seven matches in all competitions, but stunts their progress in mounting a late charge for the Europa League qualification places, while Udinese are just two points behind them in ninth spot.

Next up for Milan is a winnable fixture away to struggling SPAL on Saturday, while Udinese are also on the road at Torino a day later.

The match exploded into life in the ninth minute, when Suso took possession about 30 yards out, held off the challenge of two opponents and unleashed a spectacular left-footed shot that beat goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri and struck the frame of the goal before nestling over the line.

The opening goal triggered a high tempo to the contest that persisted, but clear chances proved hard to come by.

Lasagna sent a shot wide from just outside the area and then headed over the crossbar after climbing above Alessio Romagnoli at the back post, as Udinese searched for an equaliser. Andre Silva narrowly failed to nod Milan into a 2-0 lead after a deflected free-kick wrong-footed Udinese’s defence and left Bizzarri unprotected.

Two more presentable opportunities came and went for Lasagna late in the half, the striker drawing a smart save from Donnarumma at the near post after doing well to control a long ball forward, flicking it into his path and racing clear of the defence before getting a shot away from a narrowing angle.

And he stooped to meet a Rodrigo de Paul cross with his head in the 43rd minute, flashing the attempt narrowly wide to permit Milan to reach the half-time break with their lead intact.

After struggling to find a way through the Milan defence in the second half, Udinese were offered hope when Calabria was sent off for a second bookable offence, the full-back having flicked out a leg at Jakub Jankto after losing possession.

Moments later, Donnarumma did well to save Jankto’s effort and Antonin Barak was narrowly unable to connect with the loose ball at the back post.

The long-awaited equaliser finally arrived for Udinese with 14 minutes to go, Lasagna’s persistence finally paying off when Bonucci and Donnarumma inadvertently combined to undo their dogged defending by diverting a chipped cross into their own net.

Nikola Kalinic went close to snatching back all three points for Milan in injury time, but the substitute’s header from Franck Kessie’s cross went over, much to Udinese’s relief.

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