Thursday , October 31 2019

AC Milan 2-2 Lecce: Stefano Pioli denied win in first game in charge of Serie A giants

AC Milan 2-2 Lecce: Stefano Pioli denied win in first game in charge of Serie A giants after visitors net last-gasp equaliser at the San Siro

  • AC Milan were forced to settle for a point at the San Siro against minnows Lecce
  • The visitors equalised in second-half stoppage time through Marco Calderoni
  • It appeared boss Pioli’s reign would get off to the perfect start in his first game
  • Goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Krzystof Piatek had fired Milan in front twice 

New AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli was dramatically denied the perfect birthday present as his side were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Lecce.

Pioli, who celebrated his 54th birthday on Sunday, succeeded Marco Giampaolo at the San Siro earlier this month and has been charged with the task of improving the fortunes of a club which had lost four of their opening seven Serie A games.

It looked as though Pioli’s reign would get off to the perfect start thanks to goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Krzysztof Piatek either side of Khouma Babacar’s leveller, only for Marco Calderoni to produce a stunning equaliser in the 92nd minute.

Lecce netted a stoppage time equaliser to deny Stefano Pioli his first win as AC Milan boss

Milan made a bright start as Rafael Leao forced a save from Lecce goalkeeper Gabriel in the first minute after being set up by the influential Calhanoglu, who then drilled a left-footed shot from the edge of the area just over the crossbar.

It was no surprise when the home side took the lead in the 20th minute as Calhanoglu took down a long pass from Lucas Biglia on the right-hand side of the area and lashed a fierce volley into the far corner.

Suso’s shot from a similar position was then tipped around the post by Gabriel as Milan pushed for a second goal, but Lecce were gifted an equaliser shortly after the hour mark.

Pioli's side had been pegged back through a last-gasp wonder strike from Marco Calderoni

Pioli’s side had been pegged back through a last-gasp wonder strike from Marco Calderoni

Krzysztof Piatek latched on to Hakan Calhanoglu to restore the hosts' lead at the San Siro

Krzysztof Piatek latched on to Hakan Calhanoglu to restore the hosts’ lead at the San Siro

The Polish striker was introduced as a substitute and made the desired impact in the stalemate

The Polish striker was introduced as a substitute and made the desired impact in the stalemate

With the aid of VAR, Andrea Conti was adjudged to have handled the ball as he failed to make a clearing header and although Babacar’s weak penalty was easily saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, the Senegal striker was able to poke home the loose ball from close range.

Milan responded well and Calhanoglu’s volley flew agonisingly wide of the post before the same player surged into the area and pulled the ball back perfectly for Piatek to slot home in the 82nd minute.

That looked to have settled the game in Milan’s favour but six minutes of stoppage time gave Lecce renewed hope and they stunned the San Siro with an superb equaliser.

Calderoni had been a peripheral figure throughout the contest but took aim from 25 yards and rifled a left-footed shot into the far corner beyond Donnarumma’s despairing dive.

But there would be late drama when Calderoni dispatched beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma

But there would be late drama when Calderoni dispatched beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma

The visitors, who are in 15th spot, celebrated at full-time after shocking the struggling hosts

The visitors, who are in 15th spot, celebrated at full-time after shocking the struggling hosts