Milan 1-1 Hellas Verona: Rossoneri fail to make most of numerical advantage as winning run ends

By Sports Desk February 02, 2020

Milan failed to extend their recent resurgence with a fourth successive Serie A win as they slumped to a 1-1 draw at home against 10-man Hellas Verona.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic missing due to illness and Krzysztof Piatek sold to Hertha Berlin, Milan were short of options in attack and that was telling on Sunday, as they created significantly fewer clear-cut opportunities than Verona with Ante Rebic and Rafael Leao the pair leading the line.

Perhaps suffering from a hint of over-confidence after their recent form, Milan lacked lustre early on and fell behind to Marco Davide Faraoni's neat finish, though the Rossoneri did manage to recover to equalise through Hakan Calhanoglu's fortuitous free-kick.

Milan were second best for much of the second half and only remained on level terms due to the frame of the goal sparing Milan twice, and they were then unable to make the most of Sofyan Amrabat's dismissal, passing up the chance to go sixth.

Milan's desperation led to a first-team debut for Paolo Maldini's 18-year-old son Daniel, but the visitors dug deep and just about did enough to earn a draw, despite Samu Castillejo hitting the post in stoppage time.

Verona were rewarded for a purposeful start as they opened the scoring in the 13th minute – Faraoni turning in Mattia Zaccagni's teasing left-wing delivery after proving more alert than the Milan defence.

But they could only keep Milan at bay for another 16 minutes, as Calhanoglu's free-kick took a significant deflection off Valerio Verre and beat Marco Silvestri.

Milan should have got a second soon after, Rebic ultimately trying too much after a devastating counter-attack left the hosts with a one-man advantage on the edge of Verona's box.

Fortune smiled on Milan at the back just after the break, though, as Darko Lazovic floated an inviting cross in from the left and Matteo Pessina's glancing header struck the right-hand post.

The opposing upright came to Milan's rescue just past the hour – Zaccagni the one denied this time after goalmouth scramble.

Verona's chances took a massive hit 22 minutes from time as key midfielder Amrabat was shown a straight red card after a VAR review for a high challenge on Castillejo.

 

What does it mean? Milan short in attack

It is fair to say that Milan's January transfer dealings have raised a few eyebrows. The departure of Piatek leaves them with a single natural striker in Ibrahimovic – who is 38 years old – and they were hardly blessed with creative options on the bench after seeing Suso leave as well.

They were lucky to come out of this with a point in the end, with Rebic and Leao often struggling to impose themselves in central positions.

Castillejo continues to improve

In recent weeks, the former Villarreal winger has showed glimpses of the form that had him so highly rated in LaLiga. On Sunday he was a creative force, laying on a match-high five key passes. They may have failed to get the three points, but he cannot be accused of not trying to inspire Milan.

Amrabat almost costs Verona

If there was one player Verona would have wanted on the pitch for the entire game, it would have been Amrabat. Until his sending-off, the Fiorentina-bound midfielder was everywhere, but a moment of recklessness left the visitors hanging on towards the end.

What's next?

There is the small matter of the Derby della Madonnina in a week's time for Milan, as they face bitter rivals Inter. Verona go to high-flying Lazio on Wednesday, with Simone Inzaghi's men aiming to go second.

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