Fode Ballo-Toure scored deep into stoppage time to give AC Milan a 3-1 win over Empoli at the Stadio Carlo Castellani in Serie A on Saturday evening, just moments after the hosts had equalised.
Striker Ante Rebic looked to have settled a tight contest when he tapped in from a Rafael Leao cutback, only for Nedim Bajrani to curl in a magnificent freekick with 91 minutes played.
With the hosts looking to have secured a point, defender Ballo-Toure found himself free in the box to snatch a dramatic winner, and with Empoli driving forward, Leao raced clear to chip in a third.
Wasteful Milan give Empoli hope
Milan squandered some fine opportunities in the first half, with Leao firing straight at Guglielmo Vicario from close range and Alexis Saelemaekers dragging an effort wide with the goal at his mercy.
The opening half was interrupted by several injuries, with Milan‘s Saelemaekers and Davide Calabria forced off, as well as Empoli‘s Alberto Grassi, and it led to a disjointed Rossoneri performance.
Empoli began the second period brightly and Peter Stojanovic came close, whilst at the other end Olivier Giroud‘s curling freekick looked destined for the top corner, only to clip the crossbar.
Meanwhile, Sandro Tonali forced a magnificent Vicario save from a deflected freekick, with the goalkeeper changing direction to scramble down low and push the ball behind.
Nedim Bajrami ought to have punished Milan when he pounced on a loose ball to break clear, but the Albanian could only fire at Ciprian Tatarasanu.
It would prove costly as with only 10 minutes remaining, Leao broke through and cut back for substitute Rebic to slot home with ease.
Stoppage time drama
With the game heading for full-time, Empoli stunned the league champions through a pinpoint Bajrami set-piece, but the drama was far from done. Indeed, almost immediately from kick-off Milan sent the ball forward and Ballo-Toure met a flick-on to bury in the winner.
A shellshocked Empoli were unable to fight back a second time and their efforts to push forward allowed Leao to carry the ball from the halfway line and coolly lob Vicario to add gloss to the scoreline.
Injury concerns for Milan
With a Champions League double-header against Chelsea either side of a Serie A clash against Juventus up next, Milan could not afford to see their injury list grow any longer.
Yet, with Saelemaekers, Calabria, and Simon Kjaer forced off in Tuscany, coach Stefano Pioli is set to take an increasingly depleted squad to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The trio join Mike Maignan, Theo Hernandez, and Divock Origi in the treatment room, in addition to long-term absentees Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alessandro Florenzi.