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Milan's Serie A woes drag on with 2-2 draw at Lecce

Reuters SPORTS
Published November 11,2023

AC Milan squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Lecce in Serie A on Saturday as Stefano Pioli's side extended their winless run to four league games, with scorer Olivier Giroud adding to his side's woes by getting himself sent off in stoppage time.

Giroud and Tijjani Reijnders scored for Milan in the first half before the hosts levelled through Nicola Sansone and Lameck Banda after the break, with what appeared to be a winner for Lecce ruled out by VAR in stoppage time.

Milan, third in the standings on 23 points, are five points behind leaders Inter Milan and three adrift of second-placed Juventus, both of whom have a game in hand.

They could drop to fourth if champions Napoli, on 21 points, beat lowly Empoli at home on Sunday.

Milan, who last weekend allowed Udinese to post their first Serie A win this season at the San Siro (1-0), came from behind to beat Paris St Germain 2-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday - their only win across all competitions since early October.

Despite losing forward Rafael Leao to an injury in the 10th minute, Milan went ahead when Giroud scored just before the half-hour mark from a Theo Hernandez lofted cross, using his body to send the ball into the net.

Tijjani Reijnders nutmegged Lecce goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone to double the advantage with an individual effort in the 35th minute, scoring his first goal for Milan since joining in July from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.

The 25-year-old Netherlands midfielder also hit the post three minutes later, and the game looked set to be an easy victory for the visitors in the opening 45 minutes.

But Lecce pulled one back in the 66th minute through striker Nicola Sansone following a corner, and winger Lameck Banda levelled four minutes later with a precise strike from inside the box. Lecce had another chance six minutes from full time but Sansone hit the post with a header.

Milan were left with 10 men in stoppage time when Giroud received two yellow cards in quick succession after appearing to lash out in frustration at the referee.

Seconds later Milan had a let-off thanks to a VAR intervention when Lecce forward Roberto Piccoli thought he had scored a winner for the hosts only for his effort to be ruled out for a foul in the build-up on Malick Thiaw.

Lecce, who had picked up only two points from their previous six Serie A games and were eliminated from the Coppa Italia by second-tier Parma last week, are 14th on 14 points.