The Rossoneri went into the half time break fully in control at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium; 1-0 up thanks to Rafael Leao, having 61% possession and 12 shots to Spezia’s two. Theo Hernandez may have missed a penalty, but it didn’t seem likely that it would be too costly. So how did everything turn upside down for Stefano Pioli’s side?
Milan kept up the pressure in the second half, having 60% possession and taking 13 shots to the Ligurian side’s eight, but they failed to break down the Rossoblu, coming up blank in the final third.
Only four of their shots were on target, one less than Spezia, and Pioli failed to adapt to the match, allowing their opponents to push their way back into the game, as seen with the 64th minute equaliser.
It’s incredibly easy to blame the referee for Milan’s defeat, pointing to his inconsistent decision making, missed calls and inability to control the match. He also blew the whistle too early in the dying minutes of the match, denying the Milanese club a late winner as he called the play back to a free kick.
Of course, he didn’t know that the wasted free kick would end in a Spezia counter attack and last second winner. The referee also didn’t intentionally scupper Junior Messias’ goal, although he was a little hasty with his whistle, and other teams have also fallen victim to this exact problem this season, such as Roma back in their 1-0 loss to Juventus back in October.
Milan need to take responsibility for the defeat and work on their issues in the final third, as they rely too much on Leao and his creative play. Inter didn’t play particularly well in their 0-0 draw with Atalanta on Sunday, but they still picked up a crucial point and are continuing to fly at the top of the table. The Rossoneri, on the other hand, need to take a long hard look in the mirror before they let the Scudetto get away from them.