Italian Serie A 2023-24, Matchday 12 Wrap: AC Milan Again Waste Lead; Juventus Beat Cagliari To Go Top
Source: Outlookindia

AC Milan wasted a two-goal lead for the second time in three league matches and also lost key player Rafael Leao to injury in a drama-filled 2-2 draw at Lecce in Serie A on Saturday. Milan appeared to be heading for its first league win in more than a month following goals from Olivier Giroud and Tijjani Reijnders but Lecce drew level in the second half with two goals in four minutes from Nicola Sansone and Lameck Banda. (More Football News)

Lecce had what would have been a stoppage-time winner ruled out by the video assistant referee, moments after Milan forward Giroud was sent off. Milan remained third but will be overtaken by Napoli if the defending champion beats Empoli on Sunday. Juventus moved a point clear at the top with a 2-1 win over Cagliari. Inter Milan can retake the lead when it hosts Frosinone on Sunday.

Juventus hosts Inter after the international break. Milan was hoping to get back on track in Serie A after ending a winless run with a 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday. The Rossoneri were already without a number of players, including United States standout Christian Pulisic, and its injury crisis deepened when Leao limped off in the 10th minute.

His replacement Noah Okafor had a hand in the opening goal in the 28th minute as he played a one-two with Theo Hernandez, who then cut into the box and crossed for Giroud to chest in from point-blank range, marking his 100th appearance for Milan with a goal. Milan doubled its lead seven minutes later with a superb solo goal from Reijnders, who raced downfield from near the halfway line before firing past Wladimiro Falcone for his first goal for Milan since joining from AZ Alkmaar in the offseason.

Reijnders almost did the same three minutes later but hit the right post. Milan had let a two-goal, halftime lead slip in a 2-2 draw at Napoli at the end of October and the same was to happen at Lecce. Lecce coach Roberto D'Aversa made a triple change in the 63rd minute, bringing on Alexis Blin, Sansone and Roberto Piccoli and that proved a masterstroke.

Blin nodded on a corner three minutes later for Sansone to tap in and the latter was also involved in the equalizer as he touched on Piccoli's cross for Banda to fire into the far bottom corner. Sansone almost scored the winner five minutes from time but his header came off the left post and then rolled across the face of the empty goal.

There was more drama to come as Giroud was sent off in stoppage time, receiving two yellow cards in a matter of seconds for continuous dissent. Piccoli then appeared to have scored with a stunning long-range strike to send the home fans wild and he was surrounded by celebrating teammates, but their joy turned to dismay when it was ruled out for a foul by the young forward on Milan defender Malick Thiaw.

JUVENTUS WINS============

Two dead-ball situations for Filip Kostic. Two goals for Juventus. After a drab first half, Juventus broke the deadlock against Cagliari on the hour mark when Kostic whipped in a free kick to the back post where Bremer was left unmarked to head into the far side of the net. Juventus doubled its lead 10 minutes later in unusual circumstances. Kostic's corner came off Daniel Rugani's chest and onto the crossbar but Rugani chested in the rebound.

Cagliari's goal also came from a corner and was headed in by Alberto Dossena. It was the first goal Juventus had conceded in more than 600 minutes, since a 4-2 loss at Sassuolo in September. Dossena almost snatched an equalizer late on but Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny fingertipped the header onto the post. Claudio Ranieri's Cagliari had won its last two matches for its first victories back in Serie A. Also, Monza drew 1-1 against Torino.