A Zlatan Ibrahimovic double was not enough for AC Milan as they succumbed to their first Serie A loss of the season with a 4-3 defeat to Fiorentina.

AC Milan were subjected to their first loss in Serie A this season as Fiorentina defeated them 4-3 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Saturday night.

The Rossoneri still hold onto the second spot in the league but could cede ground at the top should Napoli win their game against Inter Milan tonight. The defeat was Milan’s first loss in the league this season, ending their 12-match unbeaten start to the campaign.

Usually a good hunting ground for the visitors, they were in for an early shock as Alfred Duncan put La Viola ahead in the 15th minute. Riccardo Saponara extended the home side’s lead in first-half stoppage time to leave Milan shell-shocked at half-time. Matters got worse in the second half as the excellent Dusan Vlahovic put the home side 3-0 up.

The game appeared to be done and dusted but Zlatan Ibrahimovic was not ready to throw in the towel just yet. The Swedish veteran scored twice in a seven-minute spell to peg Fiorentina to within a goal. Hope was, however, short-lived as Vlahovic’s second of the night restored Fiorentina’s two-goal cushion.

A Lorenzo Venuti own-goal late into stoppage time did flatter Milan to an extent, giving off the impression that the game was closer than it seemed. La Viola were worthy winners on the night and the loss should serve as a wake-up call for Milan. Stefano Pioli’s side have received a rude shock in the Champions League this season and find themselves bottom of their group.

The league represents their best chance of silverware and it is essential that they recover from this reversal as soon as possible. The Hard Tackle now takes a look at how the Milan players fared on the night.

Ciprian Tatarusanu (4/10)

A poor night for the veteran keeper who has stepped in for the injured Mike Maignan. His error for Fiorentina’s opener put Milan on the back foot early on set the stage for the home side to seize the initiative. The Romanian has done a decent job in Maignan’s absence. However, last night proved once and for all why he is at best a backup keeper.

Theo Hernandez (5/10)

The Frenchman grabbed himself an assist on the night but his poor decision-making saw Milan surrender any chance they had of securing a point. He lost the ball at the edge of his own box in the 85th minute, leading to Vlahovic’s second of the night. The strike all but killed any Milan momentum and handed Fiorentina a two-goal advantage.

Matteo Gabbia (4/10)

The 22-year-old endured a difficult night and will need to up his game if he is to survive at this level. His poor decision making was apparent early on as he failed to clear the ball and chose to shield it in the leadup to Fiorentina’s opener. Gabbia was also easily bypassed by Vlahovic in the leadup to Fiorentina’s third.

Simon Kjaer (6/10)

The Dane was arguably one of Milan’s best players on the night. He largely dealt well with Vlahovic on the night but was let down by those around him. He made a number of promising long balls that the Milan attackers failed to capitalize on.

Pierre Kalulu (5/10)

Kalulu was decent on the right-hand side in both aspects of the game. Surprisingly taken off by Pioli in the 57th minute. Whether it was a sign of the manager throwing in the towel remains unclear.

Sandro Tonali (6/10)

The young Italian was tidy in midfield and kept the ball moving. He was ready to stride forward when possible and even tested the opposing goalkeeper on occasions. While there was some promise, it was a largely unspectacular performance from the midfielder.

Franck Kessie (6/10)

The skipper for the night, Kessie was the senior of the Milan double pivot and was largely one of the club’s best players on the night. While the performance was good, it did not meet the standards the Ivorian set last season. With his contract winding down, it remains to be seen just how he will fare for the remainder of the campaign. Whether handing him the armband was a ploy to remind him of his importance for the team remains to be seen.

Rafael Leao (6/10)

The Portuguese winger showcased his pace and dribbling ability but lacked the end product. He had several opportunities in either half and his finishing is something he needs to work on to take his game to the next level.

Brahim Diaz (5/10)

The attacking midfielder struggled on the night and barely got a sniff against the Fiorentina defence. He looked shorn of ideas and imagination and was largely a bystander going forward. He was replaced by Olivier Giroud in the second half. It was a testament to his poor showing that the veteran Frenchman could slot into his role with minimal fuss.

Alexis Saelemaekers (5/10)

The Belgian started off the season well but has now hit a poor run of form. There was little to suggest his fortunes had changed based on the night’s display. The 22-year-old made a number of crosses but his accuracy often failed him. Taken off in the second half and Milan did not miss him in the least.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (5/10)

The Swede’s double largely redeems his rating that could have been much lower otherwise. Ibrahimovic was caught out offside far too often, letting a lot of promising long balls go to waste. He also missed a golden opportunity at 1-0 that could have changed the course of the game.

Substitutes

Olivier Giroud (5/10)

The French veteran replaced the ineffective Brahim Diaz on the night. He won a number of duels but nothing much came out of them. A difficult ask of him to come on and make a difference in all fairness.

Junior Messias (4/10)

The youngster showed little of his ability going forward and was largely content making backwards passes. Whether it was a lack of initiative or ambition, he was totally ineffective off the bench.

Alessandro Florenzi (5/10)

The veteran Italian showed promise and offered stability on his flank. He did not stand out nor showcase anything out of the ordinary.

Ismael Bennacer (NA)

The midfielder is often a solid presence in midfield and came on late on as Milan searched for an equalizer. There was little time for him to make an impact.

Rade Krunic (NA)

The 28-year-old was barely on the field to warrant a rating.

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