Udinese 3-1 AC Milan: Rossoneri suffer Champions League blow after latest Serie A defeat

Udinese crushed AC Milan’s Champions League hopes with a 3-1 win in Serie A on Saturday night at the Dacia Arena.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic started for the away side for the first time in over a year and was the focus of controversy in the first half.

Roberto Pereyra opened the scoring early after a weak Milan defense but minutes before the end of the half Jaka Bijol was severely penalized for a handball to concede a penalty.

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Ibrahimovic initially missed but a replay was ordered, resulting in Udinese manager Andrea Sottil being sent off over his protests before the experienced Swede equalized with his second try.

It looked like the sides would be even at the break, only for Beto to go home to restore Udinese’s lead.

Milan are two points behind second-placed Inter Milan and one point behind third-placed Lazio Roma ahead of the game.

A win for mid-table Udinese could have taken them up to seventh if they’d won by a wide margin, but instead they settled for eighth.

In the second half, Milan began to press the tired Udinese but Kingsley Ehizibue saved a low cross to take a two-goal lead.

Talking point – The time has come for Zlatan

After a year without a starting XI, it was heartening to see the 41-year-old ready to kick off. Given all that he has accomplished over the past three decades, it is fitting that he should decide when to leave the sport.

But that time could be soon. He still has a couple of months into the season to regain his match sharpness and has previously bounced back from a serious injury, but the Swede has never been the fastest and his explosiveness has waned significantly.

Milan have built a young and promising squad, now may be the time for Ibrahimovic to retire from top-flight football.

Player of the Match – Kingsley Ehizibue (Udinese)

The right winger was dangerous and piercing in attack, but aggressive and diligent in defense. Without him, the first half would have been less dangerous for Milan and the second tougher.

Player Ratings

Udinese: Silvestri 7, Becao 6, Bijol 6, Perez 6, Ehizibue 7, Pereyra 7, Walace 6, Samardzic 6, Udogie 7, Success 6, Beto 6. Substitutes: Lovric 6, Thauvin 6, Arslan, Ebosele 6, Zeegelaar 6.

AC Milan: Maignan 6, Kalulu 5, Thiaw 5, Tomori 5, Saelemaekers 5, Bennacer 5, Tonali 5, Ballo-Toure 5, Diaz 5, Leao 6, Ibrahimovic 5. Substitutes: Krunic 6, Rebic 6, De Ketelaere 6, Origi 6, Calabria 6th

key events

9′ – GOAL! UDINESE 1-0 MILAN – PEREYRA SCORES – Tomori fails to get a crossfield pass, it’s intercepted by Samardzic. He attacks on the inside right, rolling easily into the box and Pereyra pivots to fire a low shot past Maignan.

45′ – Penalty! Bijol is penalized for having the ball bounce off his thigh and into his arm.

45+2′ – SOTTIL SENT OFF! He yells at the referee as the penalty was re-awarded for assault.

45+3′ – GOAL! UDINESE 1-1 MILAN – IBRAHIMOVIC RESULTS – He blasts it in the middle and gets bullied by his teammates.

45+5′ – GOAL! UDINESE 2-1 MILAN – BETO RESULTS – The Brazilian lunges at the near post to hide a low cross after a scuffle in the box.

70′ – GOAL! UDINESE 3-1 MILAN – EHIZIBUE SCORES – Success takes the ball down the left, slices it back and it’s turned to the back post to Ehuizbue.

key stat

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