AC Milan were held to a 0-0 draw by Torino in Serie A, with Gianluigi Donnarumma making a brilliant early save.
Gianluigi Donnarumma made a superb save as AC Milan had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Torino in Serie A, while Patrick Cutrone was left to rue a glorious opportunity missed late on.
Gennaro Gattuso was able to welcome back Gonzalo Higuain from suspension for Sunday’s encounter at San Siro, but it was Donnarumma who took the limelight with a magnificent stop to deny Iago Falque in the fifth minute.
VAR was used to rightly dismiss Milan penalty appeals on the stroke of half-time, with Donnarumma having earlier been on form again to deny Andrea Belotti.
Donnarumma’s efforts ultimately secured the point for Milan, although Cutrone’s miss from close-range in the closing stages cost them the maximum haul.
Donnarumma fumbled Koffi Djidji’s crisp strike early on, but Milan had their goalkeeper to thank when he reached to his left to somehow tip Falque’s close-range header over.
Belotti volleyed over as Torino continued to threaten, though the striker’s profligacy would have been punished had Salvatore Sirigu not been equal to Patrick Cutrone’s effort.
Donnarumma’s reflexes were tested again when he got down to parry Belotti’s deflected strike wide, while Milan had appeals for a penalty turned down when the referee – with the assistance of VAR – decided that Nicolas Nkoulou had not handled from Higuain’s shot.
Torino’s pressure continued after the restart – Armando Izzo heading off target before Hakan Calhanoglu struck wide at the other end.
Substitute Samu Castillejo injected some much-needed pace into Milan’s attack, and their breakthrough finally came in the 87th minute, only for Cutrone to slice wide from six yards out as Gattuso’s side had to settle for a share of the spoils.
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) December 9, 2018
It was a far from convincing display from Milan, but they are now just three points behind Inter, who lost 1-0 to Juventus on Friday, and Champions League qualification should now be the Rossoneri’s target approaching the halfway stage in the campaign.
Torino remain sixth, while their wait for a first away win over Milan since 1985 rumbles on.
Donnarumma on fine form
Given Donnarumma’s experience – he made his 120th Serie A appearance on Sunday – it is easy to forget that Milan’s goalkeeper is 19 years old. However, his wonderful early stop from Falque’s header could go down as one of the saves of the season, and the youngster pulled off another impressive save later in the first half.
Cutrone fluffs his lines
Despite Higuain coming back into the fold following his suspension, Cutrone kept his place.
The youngster was starved of service throughout but, when a chance did fall to him late on, he spurned his opportunity, firing wide with just Sirigu to beat.
Key Opta facts
– AC Milan have drawn each of their last four Serie A games against Torino.
– Torino are unbeaten in their last 10 away Serie A games (3W 7D) for the first time since 1976-77.
– This was Gianluigi Donnarumma’s 100th successive Serie A match with 90 minutes played – the keeper has played each of the last 121 AC Milan games.
– AC Milan kept only their second clean sheet of the current Serie A season.
– Gonzalo Higuain, in the 75th minute, registered the only shot on target of the second half.
A trip to Greece to face Olympiacos in the Europa League is next up for Milan, while Torino will switch focus to their derby with city rivals Juventus.