AC Milan got the scoreless monkey off their back and finally looked like Milan again in a 2-1 victory over SPAL, overcoming a red card for Suso and an extremely unlucky deflection off of captain Alessio Romagnoli for SPAL’s only goal. Gigio Donnarumma did well to save the match at the death with a wonderful save and Milan, finally, get a result.
Milan had appeared to take the lead eight minutes in, but replays confirmed the call on the pitch that Romagnoli was in an offside position before knocking the ball home. He celebrated, more out of what appeared to be frustration than a genuine belief that he wasn’t offside.
SPAL would take the lead on a very strange goal. Andrea Petagna got a shot off on the edge of the box, and while Romagnoli got a foot to the ball, he was only able to put spin on the ball that it flew past the outstretched hands of Gigio Donnarumma.
Samu Castillejo finally got Milan on the board in the 16th minute, as he beat a defender to a loose ball and slammed home a brilliant shot on net. Suso had been sprung free, but he will probably never beat a defender for pace, but he did well enough to force an error and then Castillejo did have enough pace to get to the ball and made no mistake, breaking the club’s goalless streak.
Milan continued to put pressure on SPAL, with Hakan Calhanoglu, in particular, coming close on a couple different occasions, as well as having a few shots blocked with last-ditch defending by SPAL players.
Halftime saw the teams go in level, with Milan looking the more likely of the teams to break through and get another goal, while SPAL would have hoped that the scoreline remained level.
After Ignazio Abate and Samu Castillejo were withdrawn for Davide Calabria and Patrick Cutrone, Calabria got a wonderful touch into the area to set Higuain free in front of goal. Pipita then got himself a good touch to get himself a yard of space and put home a goal that took a lot of pressure off of him and the club. The Argentina international’s celebration looked as if he was exercising demons and releasing the pressure of a thousand worlds that he had been carrying on his back. It had been a long time coming for Pipita, and it was good to see him get a goal.
Milan continued to get the bulk of possession and attempts on goal, along with a few mind-boggling refereeing decisions that saw Milan see yellow a few times, mostly for dissent as the players let the referee know what they thought of some of the decisions.
Fabio Borini came on for Higuain with about 10 minutes to go as Borini looked to add some pace on the wing, allowing Cutrone to go into a more central striker position.
Petagna almost had a brace with about five minutes left in the match, as another shot of his was deflected by Romagnoli, but Milan weren’t as unlucky as they were in the first half as the ball went out for a corner kick.
Suso was sent off late in the match after getting his second yellow for a high challenge on a SPAL player that the visitor absolutely made the most of, and the ref showed no hesitation in pulling out the cards. Tough break for Suso, and it felt a tad unfair, and Suso will miss the Supercoppa against Juventus.
Donnarumma had a vital, match preserving save in stoppage time to keep SPAL at one goal, as he was in full stretch to get a great save on his right to deny Mohammed Fares a goal. There was a sense of relief across the San Siro at the final whistle, and Gattuso appeared to have some words with the referee, but all’s well that ends well, as Milan stop the rot with a victory over SPAL.