December 22, 2018 / 4:09 PM / 5 months ago

Chiesa's rocket adds to Milan's troubles

MILAN (Reuters) - A magnificent strike by Federico Chiesa gave Fiorentina a 1-0 win at AC Milan in Serie A on Saturday on another unhappy afternoon for Gennaro Gattuso’s injury-ravaged side. Milan, who completed three Serie A games without scoring, gave a disjointed performance but still created enough chances against a Fiorentina side who were largely toothless until Chiesa’s inspired effort in the 73rd minute. The 21-year-old collected the ball in midfield, cut inside his marker and unleashed a vicious, dipping drive which flew past Gianluigi Donnarumma and bounced into the net. He was booked for pulling off his shirt and throwing it on to the pitch as he celebrated.

In contrast to Chiesa’s joy, it was another hugely frustrating match for Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain who has not scored for nearly two months.

The Argentine, who has struggled since his move on loan from Juventus and is deprived of the service he enjoyed with the Turin side, was a lonely figure in attack, often dropping back well inside his own half to look for the ball.

“It’s a complicated moment,” said Milan coach Gattuso. “We cannot blame the team, we were in an emergency situation and today a bit of bad luck was decisive. There’s no point in looking for someone to blame.

“Everyone who played did well and Fiorentina did not have a shot on target before they scored,” he added. “Higuain is not having a brilliant spell but he is still an important player. A forward is never happy when he doesn’t score.”

Milan, with 27 points from 17 games, dropped to fifth, outside the Champions League spots, while Fiorentina moved up to seventh with 25.

Ricardo Rodriguez nearly gave Milan a first-half lead with a powerful drive which Alban Lafont saved at the foot of his post, and Hakan Calhanoglu had a shot cleared off the line by Nikola Malinkovic. Higuain was also foiled by Lafont as his header was turned away in the 58th minute. After Chiesa’s strike, Lafont frustrated Milan again with a fingertip saved from a Rodriguez header.

“We need to stay lucid so we get out of this situation,” said Gattuso.

Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond and Clare Fallon

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