Before the international break a meeting with Juventus were to provide a confidence boost, even if it was unlikely a positive result were to be had. Injuries had been mounting and the team was without Musacchio, Biglia and Bonaventura. All three are to be out in times measured in months and in Bonaventura’s case, after knee surgery, the player is almost certainly out for the season. The game therefore featured a handicapped Milan and as it transpired the frustration grew within the game. First Higuain missed a VAR awarded penalty and then lost his cool and got himself sent off in what was to be a 0-2 loss. The Argentinian earned himself a two game ban for screaming at the referee, a ban not reduced on appeal. To add to the crisis level injury misery captain and defensive leader left the Azzurri camp and is set to miss a month.
The battle of 4th vs 5th is of course very important and Milan would do well to emerge from this and next weeks relatively unscathed.
All the above leave the team with only Zapata as a recognized central defender – plus Stefan Simic who is officially on the squad. The team is therefore not only short on bodies it is also in search of a formation to fit the available players. It had been suggested that Gattuso will use something resembling a 3-4-3 and make use of wing backs in search of a balance in defense and attack. As it happened Abate, Zapata and Rodriguez started with fears of a defensively porous game seemingly being realized in the first few minutes as Lazio started well.
It might have been expected that the back three will be aided by Laxalt and Calabria acting as full back and wingers in one to not only move up but also to help stop the likes of Senad Lulic and Adam Marusic. However the much maligned Borini started in place of the Uruguayan. In the middle the only players that are in some form are Bakayoko and Kessie. The likes of Montolivo and Bertolacci do not inspire any confidence at all. Up front Cutrone got the first of his two deserved starts now that Higuian is suspended. Suso and Calhanoglu were, as expected, the first options for the other spots. The game settled as Calhanoglu missed a chance and Lazio had a goal ruled offside. Borini came close in the second. Lazio made two subs as the game reached the last quarter still tied. The expensive but under performing Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was one of the players withdrawn. Donnarumma did well when tested. As the game stalled into a stalemate Suso found Calabria onside in the final third, the Italian ran and pulled back for Kessie whose shot was deflected by Wallace and in. As the game entered added time and the ref had made several perplexing decisions Correa shot through a crowd and tied it for Lazio. Simone Inzaghi still had the time to have himself sent off from the touch line before the final whistle sounded. Gattuso had not used a single sub, not even to kill time in added time. He would invite post match criticism as Milan dropped two points.
Read more about the match on the forum.