Gattuso's Milan debut ends in nightmarish fashion

AP
Ten-man Milan was protecting a lead when goalkeeper Brignoli came forward for the final play of the match and scored with a long, leaping header following a free kick.
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Reuters

AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso reacts on the sidelines during the Italian Serie A match against Benevento Calcio at Stadio Ciro Vigorito in Benevento on December 3, 2017. The match ended 2-2.

Gennaro Gattuso's debut as AC Milan coach ended in nightmarish fashion when goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli equalized in the fifth minute of stoppage time to earn Benevento Calcio its first ever point in the top division with an improbable 2-2 draw on Sunday.

Ten-man Milan was protecting a lead when Brignoli came forward for the final play of the match at Stadio Ciro Vigorito in Benevento and scored with a long, leaping header following a free kick.

"It's difficult to describe," said Brignoli, who is on loan from Juventus. "I was thinking, 'It's 2-1, the 95th minute, we have nothing to lose.' I went up there, closed my eyes and jumped."

The last goalkeeper to score in Serie A was Massimo Taibi back in 2001 with Reggina.

Benevento had lost all 14 of its matches for the worst start to a season in modern history among Europe's five major leagues. If Benevento had lost again, the southern club would have matched Brescia in 1994-95 for the longest losing streak in Italian league history.

"It would have been terrible to lose this, as we've lost so many at the last second that we really didn't deserve to," Brignoli said. "Today we got some of that (luck) back. We've shown that we can play against anyone and just need the incidents to go our way."

Gattuso, a former stalwart in midfield for Milan, was hired to replace the fired Vincenzo Montella on Monday.

"It hurts. A knife wound would have been better than this goal," Gattuso said. "We're Milan and we need to be better, because this isn't enough."

Milan opened strongly and Giacomo Bonaventura scored one goal — his first since January — and set up another for Nikola Kalinic after George Puscas' temporary equalizer for Benevento.

But Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli was sent off in the 75th after picking up his second yellow card for tripping an opponent.

Milan dropped to eighth with 21 points, after Fiorentina won 3-0 at home to Sassuolo and rose to seventh on goal difference.

Inter Milan later took the Serie A lead with a 5-0 win over Chievo Verona at the San Siro. Inter has 39 points after 15 matches, one more than Napoli and two more than Juventus.


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