STADIO SAN SIRO (Milan) – An 89th-minute display of acrobatics from Olivier Giroud gave AC Milan three hugely-important points against Spezia, in a match wherein the hosts have themselves to blame for wasting several goal opportunities and allowing Daniel Maldini to scare his boyhood club, cancelling out Theo Hernandez’s opener.
Saturday’s late victory allowed Stefano Pioli’s side to make the most of this weekend’s Serie A Matchday 13 fixtures which see six of the top seven face off against one another.
AC Milan’s wasteful night
Rafael Leao forced a series of cut-clear chances in quick succession for the Rossoneri by getting past two defenders in his usual fashion to find Fikayo Tomori, whose attempt was saved by Bartlomiej Dragowski with his foot.
Rade Krunic had a shot denied by the crossbar shortly after, before Dragowski put his foot out again to keep out Brahim Diaz’s header. The hosts’ mounting pressure was the prelude to the goal which eventually came through Theo, who was perfectly found at the far post by Ismael Bennacer and put down the ball before clinically slotting in the opener.
Despite a promising start after the break, the Rossoneri were made to pay for their wasteful first half as Daniel Maldini punished his former side under his father’s eyes by beautifully curling in a shot to put Spezia level.
Olivier Giroud wins it for the hosts
AC Milan thought to have quickly restored their advantage minutes later when substitute Sandro Tonali hammered a shot into the top corner but the San Siro roar was followed by another controversial VAR check and the goal was ruled out due to a Tomori foul in the build-up.
In a tense end, AC Milan seemed to lack the lucidity needed to find the winner against a stubborn Spezia, until Giroud popped up at the far post to give his side all three points with a fantastic acrobatic goal, only to be sent off seconds later after taking his shirt off.
As a result, the Rossoneri leapfrogged Atalanta into second place, six points behind Serie A leaders Napoli.