AC Milan snatched an equaliser at the death to secure a 1-1 draw against AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico and keep the Rossoneri in the top four of Serie A, just minutes after Tammy Abraham appeared to have given the hosts victory.
Going into the match level with Roma but sitting above them in fourth place thanks to a superior goals scored record, Milan rescued the match through a late Alexis Saelemaekers goal after Abraham had rifled the Giallorossi into the lead with only minutes remaining.
Just as a tense match appeared to be heading for a goalless stalemate, it burst into life in injury time and Saelemaekers‘ late impact sees Milan hold the upper hand in the race for Champions League qualification with just six matches remaining of the season.
Champions League battle heats up
The two rivals are level on points in their fight to secure Champions League football next season, with the temporary suspension of Juventus‘ 15-point penalty adding pressure in the race for fourth place.
Meanwhile, both teams have the opportunity to secure a place in the Champions League through their endeavours on the continent, as Milan prepare for a Derby della Madonnina clash against Inter in the competition, whilst Roma take on Bayer Leverkusen for a place in the Europa League final.
With so much at stake, Roma and Milan played out a nervy encounter in the capital with neither side ready to fully commit players forward. Indeed, the Rossoneri’s best chances came from set-pieces, whilst Roma found the most joy on the flanks and the marauding Leonardo Spinazzola.
It promises to be an equally tight run-in for a top four finish, with Roma set to welcome Inter following a midweek trip to Monza, whilst’s Milan‘s match against Cremonese is followed by the visit of second-placed Lazio.
For Roma, that pressure appeared to tell as they found opportunities difficult to come by until a fine Mehmet Zeki Celik pass was met by Abraham with just minutes remaining and the Englishman made no mistake with his finish.
The dangerous Rafael Leao struggled to get into the match for Milan meanwhile, but showed his brilliance with a wonderful cross for Saelemaekers to rescue the Rossoneri at the death.
Roma’s injury problems mount
With an already stretched squad, Roma coach Jose Mourinho’s options for the final run in are reduced further after centre-back Marash Kumbulla was forced off with injury early in the first half.
The Giallorossi are struggling for numbers at centre-back, with Chris Smalling and Diego Llorente injured, forcing midfielder Bryan Cristante to drop back into the heart of defence, and Roma are low on defensive options ahead of a crunch match against Inter next weekend.
With a visit to Monza in midweek, Roma will also be without the suspended Nemanja Matic after his booking against Milan, whilst Edoardo Bove and striker Andrea Belotti also sustained knocks against the Rossoneri.