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Cesena vs. AC Milan: Score, Grades and Reaction from Serie A Game

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterSeptember 28, 2014

CESENA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 28: Cristian Zapata # 14 of AC Milan ( R ) competes the ball with Massimo Volta # 14 of AC Cesena ( L )  during the Serie A match between AC Cesena and AC Milan at Dino Manuzzi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Cesena, Italy.  (Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images)
Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

Cesena 1-1 AC Milan

Ten-man AC Milan came from behind to claim a point in their Serie A clash at Cesena on Sunday.

Filippo Inzaghi's team found themselves a goal down after just 10 minutes when Davide Succi opened the scoring for the home side.

Just nine minutes later, Adil Rami headed home an equaliser for Milan after connecting with a Keisuke Honda cross.

The San Siro team continued to press for the winning goal, but Fernando Torres was guilty of spurning a great first-half opportunity.

Marco Vasini/Associated Press

Milan held the momentum in the second period, but their hopes of claiming all three points were hurt when Cristian Zapata was shown a straight red card in the 73rd minute for a last-man foul.

But Milan and Inzaghi will be disappointed at missing out on three points, which would have boosted their hopes of a Champions League spot this season.

Inzaghi named a strong line-up with Torres starting up front and Jeremy Menez in support. Andrea Poli started in place of the injured Marco van Ginkel, while Rami returned to the defence.

Torres almost opened the scoring in the ninth minute when he connected with a Honda cross, but Cesena goalkeeper Nicola Leali saved the effort well to his left.

One minute later, the home side took the lead. Guido Marilungo broke into the area and fired straight at Christian Abbiati, but the Milan goalkeeper spilled the ball and Succi tapped home.

Janusz Michallik @JanuszMichallik

Abbiati, yes but even poorer to allow Marilungo the run. Three Milan players doing nothing.

Cesena appealed for a penalty two minutes later after Succi went to ground under a Rami challenge, but the referee ignored the claims.

And in the 19th minute, Milan were level. Honda sent over a corner, and Rami rose highest inside the area to power the ball beyond Leali.

CESENA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 28:  Adil Rami # 13 of AC Milan celebrates after scroing his team's first goal the Serie A match between AC Cesena and AC Milan at Dino Manuzzi Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Cesena, Italy.  (Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Pre
Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

A poor Cesena clearance then allowed Poli to set up Menez for a strike at goal, but the Frenchman's effort flew over the crossbar.

Menez was involved in the build-up for another opportunity when he found Giacomo Bonaventura racing into the area, but his effort also sailed over Leali's bar.

Six minutes before the interval, Torres should have given Milan the lead, but he could not fully connect with Mattia De Sciglio's cross, and the ball rolled harmlessly wide.

In the 52nd minute, De Sciglio forced Leali into a fine save with a brilliant drive from just outside the area after good work by Poli.

AC Milan @acmilan

Let's keep on fighting guys! #CesenaMilan http://t.co/SadSns2Kjj

Earlier in the second period, Manuel Coppola went just wide with an effort that had Abbiati scrambling to his left.

Nigel de Jong bared his teeth with a crunching tackle on Coppola on the hour mark, but the Netherlands international apologised to the Cesena man and the incident passed.

Cesena were soon under threat again when a Menez cross was headed back into the danger zone by Poli, but Bonaventura could not control the ball and the chance was cleared.

De Jong was then cautioned in the 69th minute for bringing down Franco Brienza after a slip by Honda.

Torres was ineffective in the second period, and Inzaghi withdrew both the Spain international and Poli in the 71st and 72nd minutes with Giampaolo Pazzini and Michael Essien coming on to replace them.

Marco Vasini/Associated Press

With 17 minutes remaining, Milan were dealt a major blow when they went down to 10 men. Zapata was the only man at the back as Cesena substitute Gregoire Defrel broke clear, but the Colombia international made little contact, and it was a harsh dismissal.

Inzaghi threw on Alex for Honda in a bid to cover the defensive hole as Cesena's confidence built on the back of their one-man advantage. But it was Milan who went closest next when Pazzini headed over from a Bonaventura cross.

Cesena did have the ball in the net in the 86th minute through Massimo Volta, but the referee disallowed the strike because of a foul on De Sciglio.

What's Ahead

Milan return to action when they play host to Chievo at the San Siro in Serie A on Saturday. Cesena are away to Udinese the following day.

Selected Player Ratings

Fernando Torres: B 

Arguably still finding his feet at Milan, his glaring first-half miss was reminiscent of his Chelsea days. The striker kept working hard to find space for himself, but he was ineffective in the second half before his 71st-minute withdrawal.

Jeremy Menez: A

Enjoying a renaissance with Milan, Menez provided a real threat to Cesena on the flank throughout the opening 45 minutes.

Christian Abbiati: C

Milan's goalkeeper was untroubled during the first period, bar managing to spill the ball in the build-up to Succi's opening goal.

Post-Match Reaction

AC Milan @acmilan

Jack Bonaventura: "It was a hard match, we gave it our all" #CesenaMilan http://t.co/s2g59qXADa

Pete Acquaviva @PDAcquaviva

Tell me more about how Bryan Cristante couldn't find space in this midfield..

Tim Fontenault @Tim_Fontenault

A 1-1 draw...against Cesena.

Sam Lewis @SamCalcio

In other news, Milan lucky not to lose for the second week in a row. Which, considering those teams have been Empoli and Cesena, is worrying

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