Defensive failings undermine Milan in draw with Empoli

Published 01/24/2016, 3:00 AM EST


MILAN (Reuters) – AC Milan twice squandered the lead as they were held 2-2 at Empoli on Saturday in another disjointed Serie A showing from Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side.

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Inconsistent Milan have shown signs of progress in recentweeks and while they extended their unbeaten run to four games in all competitions, it was a result unlikely to ease the pressure on the coach.

Familiar defensive failings again undermined them as goals from Carlos Bacca and Giacomo Bonaventura were cancelled out by Empoli pair Piotr Zielinski and Massimo Maccarone.

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The hosts could have overtaken sixth-placed Milan with a win but fell behind in the eighth minute when a long pass found Bacca who slammed the ball past Lukasz Skorupski.

Zielinski equalised in the 32nd minute after meeting an excellent threaded ball from Riccardo Saponara.

Milan then went back in front in bizarre fashion in the 48th minute when an Empoli clearance smashed M’Baye Niang in the face and the ball deflected into the path of Bonaventura who finished with aplomb.

Empoli were level again 13 minutes later as the agelessMaccarone finished from close range after Gianluigi Donnarumma parried a Manuel Pucciarelli effort into his path.

“We came here to win and it’s disappointing we didn’t because when you take the lead twice then you need to bring home the result,” Mihajlovic told Italian television.

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Milan now have 33 points from 21 games, two behind AS Roma, while Empoli stay eighth on 32.

“Empoli played well but we should’ve done more,” said Bonaventura. “We needed to defend better.”

In Saturday’s early kickoff, struggling Frosinone missed anopportunity to end their seven-game run without a victory when they drew 0-0 at home against Atalanta who have not won in six. The draw left Frosinone second from bottom, five points fromsafety. Atalanta are 12th on 26 points.

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There are eight matches on Sunday with second-placed Juventus hosting Roma, leaders Napoli visiting Sampdoria and Inter Milan, who are third, entertaining Carpi.

(Writing by Ed Dove; Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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