Milan fall to surprise 1-1 draw against Salernitana

Milan players react after a 1-1 draw against Salernitana in Serie A.
Milan players react after a 1-1 draw against Salernitana in Serie A.
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A second-half goal by Salernitana forward Boulaye Dia cancelled out Olivier Giroud's opening header as champions AC Milan were held to a 1-1 home draw in Serie A on Monday, making it their third winless outing in a row in all competitions.

Milan, who on Wednesday reached their first Champions League quarterfinals in 11 years after knocking out Tottenham Hotspur, are fourth in the standings on 48 points.

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They are one point behind third-placed Lazio and two adrift of Internazionale in second, as well as 20 points behind runaway title contenders Napoli.

Milan could have opened the scoring in the 23rd minute but forward Rafael Leao sent the ball low and wide of the far post, while Brahim Diaz narrowly missed the chance to change its path and slide it home from close range.

Six minutes later Giroud came close to scoring with an overhead kick following a corner, which went inches over the bar instead.

However, the France striker gave Milan a 1-0 lead just before the interval when he nodded in from a corner by midfielder Ismael Bennacer, leaving Salernitana keeper Guillermo Ochoa unmoved.

Leao could have doubled the hosts' lead in the 52nd minute when a goal attempt by Bennacer hit the Portuguese on the edge of the six-yard box and went wide.

The Portugal forward, who scored in the reverse fixture on Jan. 4, has not found the net in his last seven league games for the first time since the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

Salernitana levelled in the 61st minute through unmarked Dia, who was set up inside the box by defender Domagoj Bradaric and made it 1-1 with a first-touch finish.

Milan were desperate to regain the lead but despite their advantage in possession, and late chances by defender Alessandro Florenzi and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they were unable to change the scoreline.

Stefano Pioli's side, who did not field any Italian player in the starting lineup in a Serie A match for the first time in the three-points for a win era (1994-95), had an overall 24 attempts on goal compared to six shots by the visitors.

"There was no mental or physical decline, we simply had to do more," Pioli told Sky Sport. "We conceded an avoidable goal from a throw-in. Then the game became edgy and we weren't able to pull ahead. A missed opportunity."

Salernitana, who sealed their first-ever league point at the San Siro, are 16th on 26 as they added a precious point to further extend their lead over the relegation zone to seven.

They next host ninth-placed Bologna on Saturday while Milan travel to Udinese, in 10th, later that day.