Milan slumped to a shock 2-1 defeat to Spezia as Emmanuel Gyasi scored with almost the final kick of a thriller at San Siro.
Title rivals Inter drew 0-0 with Atalanta on Sunday, but Milan could not take advantage the following day as Spezia came from behind in incredible fashion.
Rafael Leao put Milan ahead after Theo Hernandez’s penalty miss, but Kevin Agudelo levelled midway through the second half.
Milan were furious when Junior Messias’ fine late effort was struck off due to a premature whistle from the referee, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic then hitting the crossbar.
And Gyasi had the final say, slotting home in the 96th minute to sensationally earn Spezia’s first league win at San Siro.
Leao was superb throughout and it was no surprise that he was involved when Milan won a 42nd-minute spot-kick – Ivan Provedel having clattered into the Portugal forward, with referee Marco Serra overturning his decision to award Spezia a free-kick after consulting the VAR.
Spezia thought they had survived when Hernandez dragged his penalty wide, but Leao had other ideas and deservedly put Milan ahead in first-half stoppage time when he lobbed Provedel after latching onto a loose ball.
That was the only one of 25 Milan attempts to find the net, though, and Milan were made to pay for their profligacy. Having been on just six second-half minutes, Agudelo stole in to drill home from Daniele Verde’s cross.
Serra appeared to apologise to Milan’s disbelieving players after blowing up for a foul on Ante Rebic moments before Messias found the top-left corner from the loose ball.
Then, a combination of Provedel and the bar kept Ibrahimovic at bay, and there was another twist in the tail when Viktor Kovalenko squared for Gyasi to seal a famous Spezia win.
What does it mean? Rossoneri fluff their lines
After Inter drew, Stefano Pioli’s side flapped at the chance to make them pay. As it stands, they sit second on 48 points, two behind their city rivals and two ahead of Napoli, but it could – and should – have been so much more, given their dominance.
Spezia, meanwhile, are making a habit of frustrating the league’s top teams. When playing sides starting the matchday inside the top two, they have now managed three wins and a draw from six encounters.
3 – Spezia have won three of their six matches against sides in the Top-2 positions in the table at the start of a Serie A matchday (D1 L2). Fearless.#SerieA #MilanSpezia OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) January 17, 2022
Gyasi steals Leao’s thunder
This was a display worthy of winning the match from Leao, who can consider himself highly unfortunate. Two of his attempts in the first half were just inches away, and he created four chances.
However, it was Gyasi who took the headlines late on, converting his only attempt of the game. The winger had crafted a game-leading five chances, while he completed 29 of his 30 passes (96.7 per cent).
Hernandez’s penalty adventure over?
Hernandez came into the match as only the third defender in the past 15 Serie A campaigns to have been directly involved in at least nine goals (four goals, five assists) through the first 21 matchdays, after Robin Gosens (11 in 2019-20 and 10 in 2020-21) and Achraf Hakimi (10 in 2020-21).
However, he failed to make that 10 goal involvements when he dragged wide from 12 yards. The full-back netted from the spot against Venezia last time out in the league, but this time his miss was one of several to prove costly for Milan.
Key Opta Facts
– Milan’s 25 shots were their most in a Serie A defeat since December 2017 against Verona (31).
– Leao is the Serie A player to have been involved in the most goals across all competitions in 2022: five (three goals, two assists).
– Milan have failed to score eight penalties since the start of the last season in Serie A, more than any other side.
– Ibrahimovic played his 150th game for Milan in all competitions, 11 years and 128 days after his debut with the Rossoneri.
Milan take on Juventus in a huge meeting on Sunday, while Spezia host Sampdoria.
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