Ten-man Milan held by Bari
AC Milan had Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off as they were held to a shock draw at home to basement boys Bari at the San Siro today. Gergely Rudolf put the visitors in front against the run of play in the 39th minute and they spent the rest of the game defending their lead.
Milan were struggling to find a way through, despite dominating possession and twice having goals ruled out, and Ibrahimovic let the frustration get the better of him as he was red carded in the 73rd minute. But Antonio Cassano saved Milan's blushes with an equaliser in the 82nd minute to take Milan five points clear of second-placed Inter at the top of Serie A.
Milan now face the prospect of losing Ibrahimovic for the top of the table derby with Inter in three weeks, depending on the length of his ban. "Unfortunately he had this half-foul reaction," said his coach Massimiliano Allegri, who suggested it may be Ibrahimovic's recent dry spell in front of goal that got to him. "He has to stay calm, these periods can happen, he shouldn't get annoyed because he hasn't scored for a month, he's giving a lot."
It was a second disappointment in a week for Milan after crashed out of the UEFA Champions League with a 0-0 draw at Tottenham. "We knew this game wasn't won before kick-off but we made things difficult by going behind in a terrible first half," added Allegri. "We're disappointed and bitter, this week we've twice played well but not got what we deserved."
Milan were looking to take advantage of city rivals Inter's 1-1 draw against Brescia on Friday night and they looked up for the fight as they forced Bari to camp inside their own half for the first half an hour.
Nevertheless, they only once threatened Jean-Francois Gillet's goal in the 27th minute with Ibrahimovic's free-kick pushed away by the Bari goalkeeper. Bari played a patient game and struck on the break to take a shock lead. Sergio Almiron played a neat free-kick into the path of Rudolf, who turned and pulled his shot into the opposite corner of the goal.
Milan continued to press and thought they had found an equaliser immediately after the restart when Robinho drilled in Ibrahimovic's header on, but he was adjudged to have been in an offside position.Milan had another goal disallowed on the hour mark when Ibrahimovic controlled the ball with his arm before volleying past Gillet. Ibrahimovic was shown a yellow card and was clearly frustrated with the decision.
He took out this frustration on Marco Rossi in the 73rd minute, earning a straight red card for taking a swipe at the Bari defender after another chance went begging.
Bari almost doubled their lead as Milan committed men forward in search of an equaliser, but Almiron pulled his shot wide at the end of a three-on-two situation in the 77th minute. And Milan finally found the goal they were looking for with only eight minutes left.
Luca Antonini's cross was converted coolly by Cassano from eight yards, but the Milan striker did not celebrate scoring against his home-town club which launched his career.