An almost perfect Spezia performance saw an almost unrecognisable AC Milan lose, deservedly so. Goals from Maggiori and Bastoni sealed the 2-0 defeat at the Stadio Picco. It really was a poor performance from start to finish; the Rossoneri suffered and were chasing the game and, in fact, didn't create any clear-cut chances. It's difficult to understand, let alone explain, a display like that from the entire team, especially given the return of key players and having had a full week to prepare. No goal and no shots on target. This is certainly an evening to forget as soon as possible. The Rossoneri will want to get back to winning ways with a bit of pride. After matchday 22 in Serie A, the Diavolo remain on 49 points, with their hold on top spot now in danger. It certainly wasn't the ideal way to approach the Derby and, before that, the return of the Europa League with the first leg of the round of 32 against Crvena Zvezda (Thursday 18 February, 18:33 CET in Belgrade). That will be a brilliant opportunity to make up for this misstep.
THE GALLERY OF SPEZIA V AC MILAN
Kjær, Bennacer and Çalhanoğlu all returned to the starting line-up, while Rebić wasn't even on the bench. Spezia set the tone right away; in the seventh minute, Gyasi's weak headed effort was gathered by Donnarumma. Agudelo then popped up in the box but Kjær defended it well (11'). In the 13th minute, Donnarumma produced a magnificent save to deny Saponara from close range. AC Milan looked off the pace but did threaten through Hernández, who fired wide in the 26th minute after a free-kick. Romagnoli also went close on the half-hour mark, heading just off target. The Aquilotti get back into the swing of things; in the 37th minute, Maggiore fired over before, one minute later, Romagnoli made a vital intervention to deny Estévez. In the 41st minute, Bennacer volleyed off target. The referee blew for half time.
The second half began and the Rossoneri were still up against it. In the 54th minute, Bastoni couldn't hit the target after the ball bounced around in the box. The almost inevitable Spezia goal came in the 56th minute; Agudelo won the ball back, Romagnoli slipped to allow Ricci in as Donnarumma came off his line and the ball dropped to Maggiore, who stroked it home. Not even a triple change could wake the Rossoneri. On the contrary, Bastoni doubled Spezia's lead in the 67th minute with a pinpoint effort from the edge of the box after a well-worked free-kick. As the game wound to a close, the Diavolo attacked but lacked any organisation going forward; the only noteworthy moment was a weak headed effort from Mandžukić. Acampora hit the crossbar on the verge of the final whistle. Full time.
SPEZIA 2-0 AC MILAN
SPEZIA (4-3-3): Provedel; Vignali, Ismajli, Erlic, Bastoni; Estévez, Ricci, Maggiore (83' Acampora); Saponara, Agudelo, Gyasi. Subs: Zoet; Capradossi, Chabot, Dell'Orco, Marchizza, Ramos; Agoumé, Pobega, Sena; Gălăbinov, Verde. Coach: Italiano.
AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma; Dalot, Kjær (64' Tomori), Romagnoli, Hernández; Kessie, Bennacer (64' Meïte); Saelemaekers (84' Castillejo), Çalhanoğlu (84' Hauge), Leão (64' Mandžukić); Ibrahimović. Subs: A. Donnarumma, Tătărușanu; Gabbia, Kalulu; Krunić, Tonali. Coach: Pioli.
Referee: Chiffi from Padova.
Goals: 56' Maggiore (S), 67' Bastoni (S).
Booked: 23' Vignali (S), 25' Bastoni (S), 58' Erlic (S), 66' Dalot (M).
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