More late Milan heroics salvage draw

Posted by Sumeet Paul

On the brink of a second disappointing defeat within a matter of days, Milan somehow found a way to secure a 3-3 draw at Bologna on Wednesday night. Late goals again ensured the Rossoneri avoided another early-season loss, but there are differing arguments as to whether or not this is really enough.

Perhaps one of the more consistent positives of the campaign thus far is Andrea Poli, who scored his second goal of the season to give the visitors the lead at the Dall'Ara. The 23-year-old brings a different quality to the midfield, and there is no doubt he will continue to prove to be a wise acquisition.

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In contrast, Alessandro Matri would have done little to ease the criticism that he has received since his arrival, as he was ultimately guilty of several missed chances which would have clinched all three points and relieved coach Massimiliano Allegri of further pressure.

Instead, the Milan boss faces further disapproval despite missing several key players through injury and suspension, and having to place his faith in a defence that continues to be the Achilles' heel of this squad.

In addition, wastefulness in front of goal undoubtedly made Wednesday’s assignment tougher than it should have been, but little of that will matter to those who still believe he should be replaced.

The mistakes of the summer have been on display so far this season, regardless of how injuries have affected Milan’s start. All three Bologna goals were arguably avoidable, with the defensive line again failing to provide a solid base.

Allegri noted ahead of the game Milan must improve defensively, as they can’t afford to be left so exposed and rely on goals scored to always outweigh those conceded throughout the season.

However, his warning was clearly not heeded by his players, with Cristian Zapata and Ignazio Abate perhaps capable of doing better for the opening two goals, while Philippe Mexes joined the party of mediocrity for the third.

Allegri later admitted that Milan are indeed conceding too many goals in his post-game interview, but appeared to suggest that it was more down to concentration levels as opposed to ability. Is that really the case? Arguably not, as it appears to be a consistent problem.

While both the team’s attitude and mentality when falling behind should be lauded, this early-season slump could prove to be costly as objectives begin to be adjusted.

From starting the season with ambitions of competing for the Scudetto, it is becoming apparent that a third-place finish is perhaps a more realistic objective as the Rossoneri will require another inspired run of results to close the gap with their rivals.

There is positive news ahead, with the likes of Riccardo Montolivo and Stephan El Shaarawy expected to return for the weekend clash with Sampdoria. But more is expected, and possibly should be demanded of the players against supposedly inferior opposition.

The holes in the defensive line need to be plugged, and the profligacy in front of goal must end. While it sounds simple on paper, it may be more difficult in reality.

Are you pleased with Milan’s fighting spirit, or does the frustration over the lack of quality override it? Should the Mexes-Zapata partnership continue?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty


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