AC Milan – Salernitana 1:1 – 2023-03-13
AC Milan’s hopes of defending their Serie A title have long been extinguished, and now they are facing fresh concerns about securing a top-four finish after their 1-1 draw at home to Salernitana, in which Boulaye Dia’s goal cancelled out Olivier Giroud’s flicked header.
AC Milan’s swift transition from their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal win over Tottenham to a game against relegation-threatened Salernitana, while competing with four other teams for the remaining three top-four spots in Serie A, appeared to have restored confidence despite a difficult season, but they looked lacklustre and ineffective in the first half against a determined Salernitana side.
Contrary to expectations, AC Milan’s coach Stefano Pioli opted to start Olivier Giroud over talisman Zlatan Ibrahimović, and the Frenchman, who hadn’t scored in five consecutive games, rewarded his manager’s faith by scoring the opening goal with a flicked header from Ismaël Bennacer’s inswinging corner just before halftime, after having already come close with an audacious overhead kick earlier in the game.
Boulaye Dia is Salernitana’s key player, and their Serie A survival largely depends on his performances. Although he missed a golden opportunity in the first half, failing to capitalise on a mistake by Theo Hernandez, he made up for it in the second half by scoring from six yards out after receiving the ball across the box.
AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli brought on Zlatan Ibrahimović and Divock Origi to bolster his team’s attack, but despite their increased threat, Salernitana’s defence remained resolute and denied Milan the crucial three points they needed in the race for Champions League qualification.