Paletta's birthday celebrations started with Manuel Pucciarelli speeding past him and hitting the side-netting within the first five minutes. He then lost former Milan youth player Massimo Maccarone as the Empoli forward got behind him for a headed goal to equalize proceedings. It wasn't over as the defender was also booked, which suspends him for next week and to top it all off, he also pulled up with a hamstring injury that reduced Milan to nine men.
Besides for Paletta's nightmare, Milan were out-played by Empoli in the first half. The goal from Destro came against the run of play from a counter attack --Jeremy Menez playing the ball out to Giacomo Bonaventura who then rolled the ball accurately for Mattia Destro to tap in for his first goal. Empoli had their chances though; Mario Rui launched a half-line prayer after spotting Diego Lopez off his line, a shot that clipped the woodwork.
Rui then forced Diego Lopez into a good save a few minutes later. Simone Verdi mis-hit volley came straight at Lopez and Rui's free-kick only threatened the fans in the stands rather than the keeper.
Notable is that Alex suffered a broken nose a few minutes into the game and was replaced by Salvatore Bocchetti. Diego Lopez was shown a red card for handling the ball outside the box after hitting an unconvincing clearance.
This leaves Milan with 29 points in 22 games, right below Inter and a far way removed from the European spots. The team didn't seem to heed much from Pippo Inzaghi's conference yesterday where he believed that Milan could win the remaining matches.
Milan: Diego Lopez; Rami, Alex (Bocchetti 7), Paletta, Antonelli; Honda (Cerci 79), Poli, De Jong, Bonaventura; Menez, Destro (Abbiati 85)
Sent off: Diego Lopez 84 (M)