The most dramatic match of the round was quite decisively Milan-Udinese, which was back and forth throughout the ninety minutes and was decided in the final moments.
The Rossoneri came into the game looking to build onto a convincing win over Cagliari last week and to get closer to the top six, while the Zebrette had won three in a row, putting the relegation zone in the rear-view mirror.
Stefano Pioli confirmed his recently hatched 4-4-2 spearheaded by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael Leao, with Giacomo Bonaventura filling in for Hakan Calhanoglu on the left flank and Samu Castillejo again selected over Suso on the opposite one. Luca Gotti stuck to his guns, preferred Rodrigo Becao to Sebastien De Maio in the back and paired Stefano Okaka with Kevin Lasagna.
The Friulani got the lead after five minutes, as Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was game-time call due to a contracture, came out unnecessarily and too aggressively on a long ball down the left flank, did not manage to get to it first and collided with Lasagna, allowing Jens Stryger Larsen to knock it on the empty net, which he did with a little chip.
The guests were the aggressors in the first half and ten minutes later Lasagna fired it over the bar from excellent position after a Ken Sema’s scamper-and-assist down the left wing. The Devil began to rev up near the end of the first half and, in the final ten minutes, Castillejo produced a tame shot, while a defender intercepted a juicy low cross by Theo Hernandez before it could reach a striker.
Pioli subbed in Ante Rebic for the invisible Bonaventura at half time and it took him three minutes to score: Leao freed up Andrea Conti down the flank with a timely pass and the right back’s square pass was met by the trailing Rebic, who easily punched it home.
The Bianconeri could have responded ten minutes later as Rodrigo De Paul set up Rolando Mandragora in front of the goalie near the six-yard box, but Donnarumma rejected the imperfect effort. The young prodigy atoned for the early gaffe by batting away a superb volley by Okaka. Simon Kjaer instead cleared the ball inches away from the goal-line on a scrum following a corner kick.
On the other end, Leao literally hit Juan Musso in the chest at the end of a counter, while a Zlatan header was too weak. Milan broke through again at the 71st minute, as Hernandez rifled a volley in the bottom left corner from outside the box. The ex-Galaxy man could have put it away minutes later but he skied a clear-cut attempt.
The guests were kept alive and equalized with Lasagna, who directed an acrobatic header on a Larsen cross just out of the reach of the out-stretchered arm of Donnarumma. They had their chance to go on top but Ilija Nestorovski muffed it unguarded from eight meters out.
Milan still had some fight left and managed to came away with the full spoils as, in the final minute, Rebic got the ball on the edge of the box, hesitated a couple of times to open some daylight through a slew of defenders and beat the goalie with a wicked cross-shot, making San Siro roar.
Cagliari drew in Brescia in this round, while Parma lost, so Milan are now tied in seventh position with the Ducali, two points behind the Europa League zone. Udinese are pretty serene in their 14th place. In the fantasy game, Rebic picked up eight points, Larsen and Lasagna four, Hernandez three because he was also booked.
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