Udine, November 5: Alessio Romagnoli scored a last-gasp winner for the second match in succession as AC Milan snatched a dramatic late 1-0 victory at 10-man Udinese on Sunday (November 4).
The captain incredibly rifled home in the seventh minute of added time to repeat his heroics of Wednesday's 2-1 defeat of Genoa and give the Rossoneri a third straight Serie A triumph.
Gennaro Gattuso's men had seemed certain to settle for a disappointing scoreless draw against the out-of-form hosts, but Bram Nuytinck's 95th-minute dismissal for a cynical foul on Samu Castillejo lit the spark for a frantic finale.
Romagnoli's composed finish ensured Milan will take momentum into next Sunday's date with leaders Juventus, though Gonzalo Higuain is a doubt after sustaining a back problem in the first half.
Suso almost struck an early opener for the second game running when he bent a fine attempt around the far post in the 14th minute.
Kevin Lasagna half-volleyed marginally wide at the other end and then created a good chance that Hidde ter Avest screwed across the face of goal.
Granted a reprieve by that miss, Milan's luck turned as an earlier collision with Rolando Mandragora forced Higuain to the bench before Juan Musso acrobatically denied Patrick Cutrone.
Castillejo, on as Higuain's replacement, looked lively after the interval and should have had an assist to his credit on the hour, but an unmarked Suso ballooned a gilt-edged opportunity over.
Nuytinck was shown a straight red for raking Castillejo's calf in a bid to halt a Milan counter-attack and Gattuso's men took advantage.
Romagnoli won possession off Nicholas Opoku in midfield and fired home at the end of what appeared an overworked attack, though celebrations were temporarily halted for a VAR check on an offside flag that proved incorrect.
What does it mean? Match-winner Romagnoli is no way forward
The early loss of Higuain laid bare Milan's issues in attack as Cutrone operated largely on the fringes, and relying on a defender to produce stoppage-time goals will not sustain them against Juve, let alone in the longer term.
De Paul impresses despite Udinese's late disappointment
Rodrigo De Paul can hold his head up high after a performance that saw him at the heart of every good Udinese move, the forward demonstrating just why he has recently broken into the Argentina set-up. His partnership with Lasagna should give Udinese a ray of hope amid what is now a six-game winless streak.
Nuytinck the catalyst for late collapse
Nuytinck, who only came off the bench in the 84th minute, will argue his sending off for the foul on Castillejo warranted only a yellow, but the Dutch defender's decision not to allow a manageable situation unfold ultimately exposed Udinese, who were left scrambling in the dying moments as they tried to stop Romagnoli from getting the decisive shot away.
Key Opta Facts
- Milan ended a run of 16 Serie A games without keeping a clean sheet.
- The Rossoneri failed to score in the first half of a league match for only the third time this season.
- Milan have won three Serie A matches in a row since March 2018.
Milan's huge home test against Juve does not come before Thursday's trip to Real Betis in the Europa League, while Udinese head to lowly Empoli on Sunday (November 11).