A draw is a fair result, given that AC Milan were the better team in the first half but Empoli came back strongly in the second half. Our Primavera side recorded their second consecutive 1-1 away draw after that against Sassuolo, a point that still moves them up the standings although not a big leap forward. There will be regret and relief for the team: regret for the chances not taken in an excellent first half in which we took the advantage thanks to the eighth goal of the season by captain Olzer; relief for the dull second half in which Belardinelli scored an equaliser – helped along by Jungdal’s uncertainty - and a few too many goal chances conceded.
The Rossoneri, who were missing some important players, nevertheless put in a positive performance at the home of a fit opponent, extending their unbeaten run and shortening the distance to Sassuolo (-2), who currently occupy the last playoff position. On matchday 22, Saturday 8 May at 11.00 CEST, the Diavolo will host Lazio at Vismara.
Filì and Robotti were both handed their first league starts of the season as Capone returned to the team. AC Milan were ready to go, producing repeated offensive actions: Robotti fired over a few steps from goal, Hvalic deflected Kerkez's attempt from distance and Capone was stopped in the box, all in less than a quarter of an hour. In the 15th minute, Olzer opened the scoring: great play by Roback ended with his shot being parried by the goalkeeper and Jack was on hand slot into the net. The match was quick, the Rossoneri dominated and were ever dangerous: Roback shot inaccurately in the 20th and 29th minutes, choking at the point of conclusion. Robotti let loose a right-footed shot from the edge of the box on 31 minutes, Olzer with a left-footed free-kick in the 38th minute and Filì with a header from a corner on 41 minutes that warmed the hands of Hvalic. Close to half-time Empoli started to build momentum, with Jungdal coming to the rescue (the crossbar also lent a hand), producing a miraculous save on Belardinelli, and then was attentive to deny Baldanzi.
The match script did not seem to change at the start of the second half, but suddenly in the 52nd minute the Azzurri found an equaliser: from a corner, Jungdal came out badly and got caught in no-mans-land, and for Belardinelli it was easy to put the ball in an open goal. Now the momentum favoured the hosts, who came close to taking the lead several times: Belardinelli’s header in the 66th minute was too weak, and a few moments later he was denied by Jungdal from an excellent position. 71 minutes in, Asllani suddenly became very dangerous, Andreas again proving decisive. The Diavolo shed their skin, making five changes, but it did not drive on the team. Even though the last chance fell for N'Gbesso in the 84th minute, the opposing goalkeeper said no to his effort. The full-time whistle was blown after four minutes of injury time.
EMPOLI 1-1 AC MILAN
EMPOLI (4-3-1-2): Hvalic; Donati, Siniega, Pezzola, Rizza; Degli Innocenti (46' Fazzini), Asllani, Belardinelli; Baldanzi (93' Lombardi); Lipari (56' Bozhanaj), Klimavičius (58' Ekong). Subs.: Biagini; Fradella, Martini, Morelli, Riccioni; Sidibe, Simic; Manfredi. Coach: Buscè.
AC MILAN (4-3-2-1): Jungdal; Coubis, Filì (71' Cretti), Obaretin, Kerkez (75' Oddi); Di Gesù, Frigerio, Robotti (60' Bright); Capone (60' N'Gbesso), Olzer (75' Saco); Roback. Subs.: Moleri, Pseftis; Tolomello; Rossi. Coach: Giunti.
Referee: Cavaliere di Paola.
Goalscorers: 15' Olzer (M), 52' Belardinelli (E).
Bookings: 33' Di Gesù (M).
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