Milik sees red as Serie A leader Juventus draws with lowly Empoli
MILAN (AP) — Arkadiusz Milik could have cost Juventus dearly.
Juventus was held by relegation-threatened Empoli to 1-1 on Saturday after Milik was sent off in the 18th minute. Massimiliano Allegri’s team could lose the Serie A lead.
The Bianconeri inched two points clear of second-placed Inter Milan but the Nerrazzurri have played two matches fewer — because of their Italian Super Cup triumph — and visit Fiorentina on Sunday.
Milik will also be suspended when Juventus goes to Inter next weekend.
Dušan Vlahović gave 10-man Juventus the lead early in the second half with his sixth goal in four league matches but substitute Tommaso Baldanzi levelled to help Empoli inch to within a point of safety.
It was another impressive result for Empoli following last week’s 3-0 win over Monza in new coach David Nicola’s debut.
Juventus was looking for an eighth straight win to move four points clear of Inter, albeit having played two matches more than the Nerazzurri.
Milik was somewhat of a surprise starter, having started just four previous league matches this season and it was perhaps a desire to prove what he could do that contributed to a moment of madness early on.
Trying to atone for a poor first touch that had seen him lose the ball, Milik went sliding in on Alberto Cerri, catching the Empoli forward on his ankle.
It was dangerous and, even more, needless as it was in midfield, with no goalscoring threat.
Milik was initially shown a yellow card but the referee was told to look at it again by the video assistant referee and, after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor, he changed the card to red.
It was 10-man Juventus which took the lead five minutes after the break when a corner was flicked down by Federico Gatti, ricocheted off Empoli defender Ardian Ismajli and came to Vlahović to net his 12th goal of the season.
However, Empoli levelled when Sebastiano Luperto rolled the ball across just outside the area and Baldanzi drilled it into the bottom right corner.
AC Milan missed two penalties and Bologna converted one to snatch a 2-2 draw at San Siro in a match that was briefly halted for an anti-racism message.
The match was stopped for a few seconds in the 16th minute in support of goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who was the victim of racist abuse in last weekend’s victory at Udinese. Maignan wears the No. 16 jersey.
Supporters at San Siro were instructed to “transform the stadium into a sea of light with the torches on their smartphone” and it appeared as if all the 71,000 fans did so, while a quote from civil rights icon Martin Luther King was broadcast on the big screens. It read: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”
Joshua Zirkzee gave Bologna the lead in the 29th minute, starting and finishing the move after Milan players blocked a number of shots.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek equalized on the stroke of halftime and Milan should have taken the lead in the 73rd when it was awarded another penalty for a foul on Rafael Leão.
Théo Hernandez stepped up. His penalty came off the post but he tucked home the rebound and celebrated. However, regulations stipulate the kicker cannot touch the ball again before another player has done so and so the goal was ruled out.
Loftus-Cheek thought he had headed home the winner seven minutes from time but Bologna rescued a point when Riccardo Orsolini converted a penalty in stoppage time.
FIGHT FOR FOURTH
Atalanta kept up its push for a spot in next season’s Champions League with a comfortable 2-0 win over lowly Udinese.
Charles De Ketelaere set up both first-half goals as Atalanta cruised to a fifth straight home win.
Atalanta moved into fourth place, two points above Fiorentina and three ahead of Lazio. Udinese remained a point above the drop zone.
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