STADIO SAN SIRO (Milan) – Stefano Pioli was not granted the sweet farewell he was hoping for as he watched his AC Milan held to a 3-3 draw in his final game in charge at home to bottom-placed and long-ago-relegated Salernitana. The draw saw the curtain fall on a season that saw the Rossoneri finish second in Serie A.

Olivier Giroud, another 2022 title-winning hero who will leave Milan this summer, put his name on the scoresheet shortly after Rafael Leao‘s opener on a night that seemed plain sailing for the hosts after the opening 45 minutes.

And yet the plot took an unexpected turn after the break as substitute Nwanwkwo Simy first pulled one back and, after Davide Calabria restored the hosts’ two-goal lead, the former Crotone forward scored his second before Junior Sambia netted in the closing minutes to seal a comeback that ensured Milan‘s season ended in appropriately frustrating fashion, given how it had gone.

Rafael Leao and Stefano Pioli embrace. (Photo: AC Milan)

Leao and Giroud leave their mark in one-sided first half

AC Milan were eager to start on the front foot, forcing Salernitana goalkeeper Vincenzo Fiorillo to make his first two saves of the night two minutes into the game to deny Giroud and Leao.

The Portuguese continued to prove a handful for the visitors down the left flank in the opening minutes as they struggled to track his repeated runs, as much as his initiatives bore little fruit for the Rossoneri.

But the hosts didn’t need to do too much to get ahead. Fiorillo gifted Leao with the easiest of chances by failing to catch Tijjani Reijnders‘ long ball over the backline and allowed the striker to pick up the loose ball to tap it into an empty net after 22 minutes.

Their advantage was doubled before the half-hour mark, as Giroud once again provided proof of his acrobatic skills admired throughout his stint at the San Siro by volleying home Alessandro Florenzi‘s corner in his typical fashion after shaking off his marker.

Such a spectacular finish sparked the first chants of the night from a Curva Sud that remained silent for the whole opening half and deprived of all flags and banners, except one reading: “There’s no positive season without trophies”.

Fiorillo‘s saves on Theo Hernandez and Matteo Gabbia prevented the Rossoneri from going at the break with an even larger advantage, with the Frenchman also having a goal ruled out due to a Leao offside in the build-up.

Davide Calabria celebrates. (Photo: AC Milan)

Simy and Sambia spoil AC Milan’s farewells

The San Siro’s atmosphere was back to its best at the beginning of the second half as the Curva Sud ended their strike and put up an impressive display of flags and flares accompanied by loud chants urging their players to end the season on the best note possible.

In a spell defined by disjointed play, Salernitana substitute Simy seized the chance to pull one back for the visitors by catching Antonio Mirante off guard to head home a corner at the near post. Simy almost found the equaliser in moments later through another header that came off the post after Mirante‘s initial save, before the danger got cleared.

Giroud missed a big chance for his second as he fired straight into the goalkeeper’s arms after Theo Hernandez had slalomed his way through the opponents’ half. Still, Milan got their third shortly after when Calabria pounced with perfect timing on a cross from Christian Pulisic to head the ball past Fiorillo.

Moments after Giroud‘s exit, which the whole stadium loudly applauded, Simy found a second goal with a precise left-footed effort from long range.

Late on, Junior Sambia found himself free to poke home the rebound from point-blank range after substitute Lapo Nava‘s save on Loum Tchaouna, seeing Giroud, Stefano Pioli and Simon Kjaer end their time with Milan end on a sour note.