Milan made three changes from the squad against Torino with Çalhanoğlu, Gabbia and Conti playing from the start in Milan’s 4-4-1-1 formation.
Fiorentina lined up in 3-5-2 with Milenkovic, Pezzella and Caceres in defence. Lirola, Duncan, Castrovilli and Dalbert played off of Pulgar who sat in front of the defence. Vlahovic and Chiesa started upfront.
The game began with an excellent break by Duncan on the right hand side of the pitch as Fiorentina looked to counter Milan’s possession by unleashing direct runners - Vlahovic and Chiesa at the Milan defence. As the game settled into mould, Milan took hold of the game boxing Fiorentina and looking for breaks through the middle.
In much the same vein as last week, Castillejo tracked back beautifully and killed off attacking switches down the right. Milan generally to build through the midfield as Fiorentina offered little to nothing going forward. Milan’s first real chance came from a brilliant run by Çalhanoğlu and a well threaded aerial ball which left the La Viola base flat-footed.
Castillejo, finding joy on the right against Dalbert, created the second real chance of the game, again leaving Fiorentina’s defence for dead in a ball which Rebic failed to strike with any conviction. Fiorentina found rare form on Duncan’s speculative cross into the box which found Lirola’s head and was easily saved. Castrovilli’s solo effort was also a bright spot: all to no avail.
The main talking point of the match was Zlatan’s solo effort which was adjudged to have been a handball by referee, Calvaresi and this without even a second look. Milan dominated proceedings in the first half and came on with a much similar pattern in the second half.
Milan had several chances to take the lead but the lack of incision made it impossible to kill the game off early. On the 56th minute, Milan finally took the lead after Çalhanoğlu took hold of the ball from a defensive transition and lobbed in a speculative ball into the central area and Caceres whose lose touch was capitalised upon by Rebic who fired home gleefully.
Paradoxically, the turning point came off of a searing run by Theo who laid in an excellent pass into space and Ibrahimovic: Dalbert, sensing the danger checked the Swede from behind the play and got sent off. Beppe Iachinni’s response to the change was to bring on former Milan starlet, Cutrone and Igor: fantastic decisions in hindsight.
From the 75th minute, like in the match against Torino, Milan dropped physically and ten man Fiorentina took full advantage. They stretched the play and got behind Musacchio a number of times with runs by Vlahovic and Chiesa and the extra body of the former Milan forward. Eventually, a well threaded pass into Cutrone was called as a penalty by Referee Calvaresi even though Romagnoli made a clean challenge on the Cutrone in the sequence.
The game ended as a stalemate in a result which was undoubtedly decided by two key refereeing errors in both halves.