Fiorentina came from behind to pile the misery on Filippo Inzaghi and his AC Milan team with a 2-1 win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Ater leading for 80 minutes through a Mattia Destro goal, AC Milan absolutely collapsed in the last ten. Gonzalo Rodriguez and Joaquin were the culprits this time who scored two late goals to seal the game in dramatic fashion. This adds to the disappointment that followed from the last match where Hellas Verona managed to equalize in the dying minutes. The latest disappointment leaves the Rossoneri facing the growing threat of being left stranded in mid-table mediocrity as questions will undoubtedly be asked about the future of Filippo Inzaghi yet again.
The Viola needed a boost after a 4-0 defeat to Lazio and midweek 1-1 Europa League draw with Roma, while the Rossoneri were downbeat following a 2-2 stalemate with Verona. Nenad Tomovic and Andrea Poli were suspended, while both sides had lengthy injury lists including David Pizarro, Riccardo Montolivo, Stefan Savic, Nigel de Jong, Mario Gomez, Stephan El Shaarawy, Ciprian Tatarusanu and Adil Rami. Alberto Gilardino got his first start since arriving from Guangzhou Evergrande in January. Milan were unbeaten at the Stadio Franchi since November 2005, picking up five wins and three draws. In driving rain, Josip Ilicic curled just wide of the far top corner, while Keisuke Honda fired straight at Norberto Netoa s chest at the near post from a smart Marco van Ginkel assist. Moments later Mattia Destro scuffed his finish in a great position and Jeremy Menez saw his counter-attack deflected for a corner off Aleandro Rosi. Fiorentina were under pressure early on, but emerged over time and almost scored on the half-hour mark. A free kick found Jose Maria Basanta, whose header cannoned off the crossbar. Then just before the break Borja Valero tested Diego Lopez in the Milan goal, but the Spaniard was equal to his countrymana s strike.
Fiorentina stepped up the pressure in the second half with Diego Lopez fingertipping a Milan Badelj effort and blocking Joaquin on the resulting corner. However, against the run of play, it was Milan who took the lead. Giacomo Bonaventura unleashed a wayward shot from just outside the box and Destro smartly redirected it from 12 yards to surprise Neto. The hosts continued to dominate possession, but without breaking down the resilient Rossoneri, as Philippe Mexes prevented Gilardino nodding in from six yards. With eight minutes left, Fiorentina did get their equaliser, as Joaquin whipped in a cross from the right for the head of Gonzalo Rodriguez. Referee Carmine Russo had to be replaced by Paolo Valeri at the 86th minute and as soon as play resumed, Milan were caught napping and Fiorentina turned the game around completely. Manuel Pasqual crossed for Joaquin, who got in front of Menez for a free header from six yards. Six extra minutes were added on, much to the home fans’ disappointment, but Milan – who now had Giampaolo Pazzini on as a further forward – could not find the leveller, leaving more difficult questions for Inzaghi to answer. Milan coach Inzaghi, whose future is the subject of speculation after almost every draw or defeat, left the pitch looking thoroughly soaked and miserable.The seven-time European champions have won two out of 11 league games since the winter break.
In Inzaghia s defence, there was an improvement in the general performance from the players in Florence, and Mattia Destro’s opener suggested that they were capable of pulling off a shock. He was forced into making several changes to his starting lineup again. Having highlighted this as a key issue throughout the season the lack of stability continues to hinder him in his attempt at being successful. However, the same mistakes continue to haunt Milan with the hosts scoring two headers, and it was a similar story in that Milan threw away another winning position to fall to a disappointing defeat. Their vulnerability in defence coupled with their inability to deal with crosses — from set-pieces or not — continues to be their Achilles’ heel and they are being consistently punished for it. Milan have now thrown away a staggering 21 points from leading situations in Serie A this season, which is more than any other side in the league, and quite frankly it isn’t good enough. For a side that once mastered the art of seeing games out and holding onto leads, their current struggles are becoming embarrassing as the nature in which they concede is nothing new. It is difficult to determine whether the coaching staff or the players are to blame for these continued mistakes, but the lapses in concentration are unacceptable and it seems as though whatever attitude Inzaghi adopts in the closing stages doesn’t work. It also has an effect on the mentality of the players moving forward and builds bad habits within the squad. Given the frequency with which Milan are giving up winning positions, it will start to play on the minds of the players and in turn create nervousness and uncertainty late in games. In truth that can already be seen in the current group. Milan have continued to stick by Inzaghi through all of his troubles so far this season, and it is widely acknowledged that it is CEO Adriano Galliani who is fighting in his corner in particular. Galliani didn’t look impressed at the full time whistle and there will certainly be more difficult questions to answer this week as to whether or not Inzaghi is safe. With every disappointing defeat it becomes more and more difficult for all concerned to back the beleaguered coach as ultimately he will be the one who faces the blame despite the problems being rooted deeper within the club.
This victory means Vincenzo Montella’s men now trail fourth-placed Napoli by just one point with Lazio in third just four ahead. Milan, meanwhile, remain in 10th place, 10 points behind the Viola with 11 games left to salvage their season.