AC Milan dropped more points in their quest for a first Scudetto since 2011 as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Udinese at San Siro.
After drawing with basement club Salernitana 2-2 last week, Stefano Pioli’s side were hoping to get back on track with a win that would have opened up a five-point advantage over Inter Milan.
Rafael Leao continued his rich vein of form to give Milan a first-half lead, scoring his third goal in four games after holding off Rodrigo Becao to control Sandro Tonali’s cross and finishing with aplomb.
Apart from picking the ball out of his net, however, Udinese goalkeeper Marco Silvestri had not had much to do as Milan toiled without troubling the visiting defence.
Indeed, Udinese looked the more likely to score and their persistence paid off when substitute Destiny Udogie restored parity in the 66th minute, bundling over the line after a scramble inside the box.
It could have got even better for the visitors as Gerard Deulofeu went close against his old club in stoppage-time but his shot was repelled by goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
The result means Milan squander the chance to open up a significant gap on their rivals Inter, who are in action at Genoa later on Friday and can move level on points with the Rossoneri with a win. The draw sees Udinese jump two places into 14th.
TALKING POINT – MILAN CONTINUE TO THROW AWAY POINTS
For the second consecutive weekend, Milan are left frustrated by a side struggling at the wrong end of the table. It was results around this time last year that ultimately cost the Rossoneri the title in 2021 and history could be about to repeat itself judging by recent results and performances.
If Milan are to finally land the Scudetto for the first time in 11 years, they will have to raise their game significantly. Pioli’s side will be hoping to bounce back when they host Inter in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia on Tuesday, but their priority will be next Sunday when they travel to title rivals Napoli. Every league game now feels like must-win, but at the moment Milan are throwing away too many points.
MAN OF THE MATCH – SANDRO TONALI (AC MILAN)
Claimed a fabulous assist in an all-action midfield display, covering a lot of ground, making tackles and playing dangerous passes. Deserved to be on the winning side but was let down by his team-mates.
AC Milan: Maignan 6, Calabria 5, Tomori 7, Romagnoli 6, Theo Hernandez 6, Tonali 8*, Kessie 6, Messias 6, Brahim Diaz 6, Leao 7, Giroud 5.. subs: Saelemaekers 5, Rebic 5, Maldini N/A
Udinese: Silvestri 7, Becao 5, Pablo Mari 7, Perez 7, Molina 7, Walace 7, Makengo 6, Arslan 7, Zeegelaar 6, Deulofeu 6, Beto 6.. subs: Udogie 7, Pereyra 6, Success 5, Jajalo N/A.
29′ – GOAL! AC MILAN 1-0 UDINESE (RAFAEL LEAO): The in-form Leao breaks the deadlock for his eighth goal of the season! Tonali appears to be fouled but play continues and he stands up a cross to the back post. Leao holds off Becao, takes a lovely touch and finishes with aplomb.
66′ – GOAL! AC MILAN 1-1 UDINESE (DESTINY UDOGIE): The substitute restores parity – and this has been coming! There’s a scramble inside the Milan box, the hosts fail to clear. Pereyra hooks it right into the six-yard box and Udogie bundles it over the line!
90’+3 – ALMOST AN UDINESE WINNER! Deulofeu has so much space and time to pick his spot and Maignan has to be at full stretch to make the save!