STADIO SAN SIRO (Milan) – Bologna reaffirmed themselves as one of the toughest opponents to face in Serie A this season as they held AC Milan to a 2-2 draw on an action-packed night in Milan.
The Rossoblu took the lead in the first half before a Ruben Loftus-Cheek-inspired Rossoneri turned the game on its head double despite missing two penalties. In stoppage time, though, Riccardo Orsolini restored parity from the penalty spot.
Joshua Zirkzee once again proved that he is a player worth keeping a very close eye on with another excellent showing on the big stage. The Bologna forward opened the scoring after 30 minutes, but the Rossoneri’s reaction led to Loftus-Cheek‘s equaliser before the end of the first half, after Olivier Giroud had missed the first of three penalties awarded on the night.
The second half was marked by Theo Hernandez‘s mistake from the spot and Loftus-Cheek‘s second goal, the importance of which was however canceled out by Orsolini‘s late goal, being the only of three players to convert from the penalty spot by squeezing his effort beneath Mike Maignan.
Stefano Pioli‘s Milan missed a huge chance to move four points behind current Serie A leaders Juventus after their draw at home to Empoli earlier in the day, while Bologna took a deserved point to temporarily go level with Lazio in sixth.
Bologna pegged back by Loftus-Cheek after Zirkzee’s opener
The Rossoblu enjoyed a better start and took the initiative. Milan looked to be playing a patient game, but Bologna gave them next to no space to exploit. As a result, AC Milan tried to sting the visitors with swift counterattacks and it was on one such occasion that the Rossoneri found their first shot on target after 19 minutes, but Rafael Leao‘s left-footed effort was turned away by Lukasz Skorupski.
With things looking tight and somewhat tense, Zirkzee took centre stage before the 30th minute.
Zirkzee started a move by sprinting down the right flank and setting up Fabbian, whose attempt was initially cleared twice. The ball reached Kacper Urbanski on the opposite side, but his cutback went unmet by two teammates and ended up back at Zirkzee‘s feet, allowing the striker to beat Maignan from a tight angle.
The game immediately took a turn, with yellow cards coming in succession and a controversial penalty that had Lewis Ferguson punished for unintentionally seeming to kick Simon Kjaer‘s head as the Milan defender ducked down to head a very low ball in the box.
The incident sparked heavy protests from Thiago Motta who was sent off by Davide Massa seconds before Olivier Giroud saw a poor spot kick stopped by Skorupski.
Rather than being discouraged, Milan pushed more and eventually found the equaliser in the 45th minute, with Loftus-Cheek making a perfectly timed run to meet a low Davide Calabria cross to finish.
Milan’s hopes killed by Orsolini’s late penalty
The second half started with a massive scare for the home side as Zirkzee perfectly took down a cross from the right and, after brilliantly eluding a tackle with a faked effort, he somehow blazed over the bar from close range.
There seemed to be a constant sense of anxiety inside Milan‘s penalty box every time the ball reached one of Bologna‘s forwards, with Zirkzee repeatedly finding space but remaining unable to find a second goal.
Luka Jovic replaced Giroud on the 60th-minute mark but it was Tijjani Reijnders who almost made Bologna regret not capitalising on their overall supremacy. He took aim from the edge of the penalty box and curled a spectacular shot that came off the crossbar.
Leao came close to scoring before the Portuguese himself was fouled by Sam Beukema for the second penalty of the night.
Skorupski guessed right once again but he didn’t even need to touch the ball as Theo Hernandez‘s shot came off the post. The ball fell straight to his feet again and he tapped in, only to be then left confused as his goal was rightly ruled out as no other player had touched the ball between his initial shot and it coming back to him off the post.
Like in the first half, though, Loftus-Cheek bailed out a teammate after missing a penalty as he headed in Milan‘s second and looked to have sealed a win.
But while the whole San Siro roared in jubilation there was still room for yet another plot twist – Filippo Terracciano‘s foul on Victor Kristiansen under the crossbar forced another VAR intervention and the third penalty of the game, this time to Bologna.
But unlike Giroud and Theo Hernandez, Orsolini made no mistake and brought things level in injury time.
That was where the scoring and drama would stop, allowing Bologna to return to Emilia-Romagna with a deserved point, while AC Milan will be left regretting their failures in front of goal and, in particular, from the penalty spot.