Fired up Milan earn draw against Roma

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Prior to kick-off, there was a general sense that Milan's clash with Roma at San Siro on Monday night would be an entertaining encounter. The game didn't disappoint as both sides pushed for all three points throughout, but ultimately had to settle for a draw which perhaps leaves neither satisfied.

- Report: Milan 2-2 Roma

The two clubs are at different ends of the spectrum this season: while Rudi Garcia's side are chasing an improbable Scudetto, the Rossoneri are attempting to close the gap on the top three in order to secure the return of Champions League football next season.

Nevertheless, there was little to split the pair as both created multiple opportunities and they will undoubtedly feel aggrieved over their inability to seal the win. Perhaps the most positive aspect of the performance from a Milan perspective was the intensity from the players.

Admittedly, it did risk crossing the line at various stages with Kaka and Riccardo Montolivo picking up unnecessary cautions while Massimiliano Allegri was sent off from the sidelines for his protests. However, Milan arguably play at their best when they are forced to react and overall the display deserved more than just a point.

In contrast, there were various aspects of the performance that must be improved, namely the level of concentration from start to finish as the back line was breached twice which could have been avoided with more tentative defending.

However, while it was a gripping game, the result doesn't help Milan's situation as the failure to beat a direct rival -- or perhaps now indirect given the look of the table -- for a top three finish leaves Allegri with plenty to think about in terms of the season objectives.

Earlier on Monday, Milan were paired with Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, which surprisingly led to the "it could have been worse" response.

The Spaniards will be a tough test in their own right, but it becomes a difficult task given the Rossoneri's struggles in Europe in recent years. Adriano Galliani particularly likes to discuss how the Champions League is "in the club's DNA", and that theory will be tested against a team that perhaps lacks the same experience in the competition.

Allegri insisted that the condition of the squad will improve prior to their meeting, but looking at the more immediate concern, he must face the realisation that Milan may no longer realistically aim for the top three.

Results this weekend have left the Rossoneri trailing third-placed Napoli by 16 points. Last season proved that they are capable of putting together a winning run, but realistically, are Roma or Napoli going to drop that many points provided Milan win relentlessly?

The Derby della Madonnina is up next, and while Montolivo will be missing, pride alone should ensure that Milan are fully prepared, even if the frustration of falling further behind their rivals leaves them contemplating what can be achieved this season.

While it was refreshing to see them put on a positive performance and earn a deserved draw against a top rival, there is a growing fear that time is running out, and perhaps time has already elapsed on the domestic objective.

Who was your man of the match against Roma? Do you believe there is still time for Milan to make up ground on the top three?

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

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