AC Milan vs. Frosinone: Winners and Losers from Serie A
AC Milan fought back to a disappointing 3-3 draw with relegation-threatened Frosinone at the San Siro on Sunday afternoon.
The Rossoneri spent much of the match behind, going 2-0 and 3-1 down before pulling back late in the second half. The result was nonetheless a letdown, especially as it saw them fall behind Sassuolo in the race for a top-six finish.
Frosinone went ahead on virtually their first attack of the game, with Luca Paganini firing in from just outside the penalty box. And while Milan fought back and created several good chances, Roberto Stellone’s side doubled their lead before half-time with a stunning Oliver Kragl free-kick.
Early in the second half, the hosts were awarded a penalty and a chance to pull one goal back. However, Mario Balotelli fluffed his lines, and Francesco Bardi stopped the striker’s spot kick.
Within minutes, the goalkeeper nullified his good work to deny Balotelli, letting a cross squirm underneath his body and presenting Carlos Bacca with a tap-in, which the Colombian took full advantage of.
Milan’s resurgence was delayed, as a miskick from Alex played in Federico Dionisi, who finished with aplomb, finding the bottom right corner beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma to restore Frosinone’s two-goal lead. But they wouldn’t hold on to the advantage.
Cristian Brocchi threw on Luca Antonelli and Jeremy Menez, and both played crucial roles in rescuing a point for the Rossoneri. The former scored a wonderfully acrobatic effort from a corner, while the latter did what Balotelli couldn’t, finishing from the spot in injury time.
Milan were given a second penalty on 91 minutes after Vasyl Pryima handled in the box, and the Frenchman found the net to secure a point for his team.
Read on for Bleacher Report’s winners and losers from the eventful match.
Winner: Francesco Bardi (Frosinone)
Frosinone goalkeeper Francesco Bardi was in inspired form on Sunday afternoon, making several important stops to ensure his side earned an impressive point.
In his first appearance for the club, the 24-year-old showed excellent reflexes and decision-making skills, even saving a Mario Balotelli penalty to earn WhoScored.com’s man of the match award.
He is on loan from Inter Milan, and one mistake for AC Milan’s second goal aside, he showed enough to warrant a recall to his parent club at the end of this season.
Loser: Alex (Milan)
According to Opta Paolo, “This is the first time Frosinone (have scored) three goals in an away match in the Serie A.” Given the AC Milan’s poor defending, this statistic is not quite as surprising as it perhaps should be.
Milan were far too open at the back, with Brazilian centre-back Alex particularly culpable. The 33-year-old, who looked slow and cumbersome, completely missed an attempted clearance, allowing Dionisi in for the Canarini’s third goal.
Winner: Luca Paganini (Frosinone)
With a second-minute goal, Frosinone could not have begun this match in better shape. And the man behind their opener, Luca Paganini, proved influential throughout. The 22-year-old impressed not only with his attacking output—he produced three dribbles, per WhoScored.com—but also with his defensive work in tracking back and maintaining his position.
Loser: Riccardo Montolivo (Milan)
Riccardo Montolivo provoked jeers from Milan fans on Sunday afternoon, as he put in another average display punctuated by misplaced passes.
The club captain attempted far more passes than anyone else in the team, per WhoScored.com, but at 81.9 per cent, he also had one of the worst pass success rate.
At a time when Milan were in need of inspiration from their more experienced players, Montolivo failed to provide it.
Winner: Roberto Stellone (Frosinone)
Frosinone’s inability to hold on to their lead meant they fell five points behind Palermo in 18th, making relegation to Serie B almost inevitable. However, in spite of this bad news, head coach Roberto Stellone can be proud of his team’s performance on Sunday.
Afterward he told Mediaset Premium (h/t Football Italia), “Aside from everything, I am proud of my lads, as they put in a wonderful performance in a great stadium. I also thank the fans who followed us here, even if we have one foot in Serie B.”
Stellone may not keep Frosinone up, but he has impressed with his commitment to an attacking style of play. Furthermore, at 38 years of age, he is still young and can learn from the experience of his debut coaching campaign in Serie A.