AC Milan's bid to muscle into the Serie A title race hit a snag as they were held to a goalless draw at Carpi.
The Rossoneri had won four of their last six matches to climb back into contention for European football but Sunday night's stalemate at the Stadio Alberto Braglia proves they have a long way to go before restoring former glories.
Indeed promoted Carpi -- now in double figures for the season -- enjoyed the better chances of a balanced encounter, with former Milan striker Marco Borriello going closest to beating Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The 16-year-old Milan goalkeeper watched Borriello control Lorenzo Lollo's header forward before rifling the ball past a post in the 10th minute.
Carpi had the next opportunity. Lollo tried his luck from 20 metres out but Donnarumma flew across his goalmouth.
Sinisa Mihajlovic's men mounted a promising raid as half-time approached, with M'Baye Niang forcing Vid Belec to tip the ball over the crossbar for a corner.
When play resumed Borriello was soon setting up Kevin Lasagna for a one-on-one with Donnarumma that the Carpi striker wasted under little pressure.
Belec got gloves to Giacomo Bonaventura's free-kick in the 75th minute and, with five minutes remaining, the Biancorossi keeper repelled Alex's header and three separate scuffed attempts to score by Milan players.
The point earned moves Milan into a share of seventh place with Atalanta, but Europa League football is another three points away - and top spot nine points beyond their reach.