AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso walks on the pitch prior the start of the Italian Serie A soccer match between Benevento and AC Milan in Benevento, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. ANSA via AP Mario Taddeo
AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso walks on the pitch prior the start of the Italian Serie A soccer match between Benevento and AC Milan in Benevento, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. ANSA via AP Mario Taddeo

Sports

Gattuso's Milan debut ends badly as Benevento 'keeper scores

By ANDREW DAMPF AP Sports Writer

December 03, 2017 04:05 PM

UPDATED December 03, 2017 04:06 PM

ROME

Gennaro Gattuso's debut as AC Milan coach ended in nightmarish fashion when goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli equalized in the fifth minute of stoppage time to earn Benevento its first-ever point in the top division with an improbable 2-2 draw Sunday.

In an up-and-down day for the Milan clubs, Ivan Perisic scored a hat trick as Inter took the Serie A lead with a convincing 5-0 rout of Chievo Verona at the San Siro.

Earlier, 10-man Milan was protecting a lead when Brignoli came forward for the final play of the match and scored with a long, leaping header following a free kick.

"It's difficult to describe," said Brignoli, who is on loan from Juventus. "I was thinking, 'It's 2-1, the 95th minute, we have nothing to lose.' I went up there, closed my eyes and jumped."

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The last goalkeeper to score in Serie A was Massimo Taibi back in 2001 with Reggina.

Benevento had lost all 14 of its matches for the worst start to a season in modern history among Europe's five major leagues. If Benevento had lost again, the southern club would have matched Brescia in 1994-95 for the longest losing streak in Italian league history.

"It would have been terrible to lose this, as we've lost so many at the last second that we really didn't deserve to," Brignoli said. "Today we got some of that (luck) back. We've shown that we can play against anyone and just need the incidents to go our way."

Gattuso, a former stalwart in midfield for Milan, was hired to replace the fired Vincenzo Montella on Monday.

"It hurts. A knife wound would have been better than this goal," Gattuso said. "We're Milan and we need to be better, because this isn't enough."

Milan opened strongly and Giacomo Bonaventura scored one goal — his first since January — and set up another for Nikola Kalinic after George Puscas' temporary equalizer for Benevento.

But Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli was sent off in the 75th after picking up his second yellow card for tripping an opponent.

Milan dropped to eighth place.

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UNDEFEATED INTER

Inter extended its unbeaten record to 12 wins and three draws and moved one point ahead of Napoli, which lost to Juventus on Friday.

Six-time defending champion Juventus is third, two points behind Inter.

In addition to Perisic's goals, Icardi scored his league-best 16th in 15 matches and Milan Skriniar also found the target.

After struggling through four managerial changes last season and finishing seventh to miss out on European competition, Inter has improved vastly under former Roma coach Luciano Spalletti. However, the Nerazzurri should be tested next weekend when they visit Juventus.

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OTHER MATCHES

Fifth-place Lazio came from a goal down to beat sixth-place Sampdoria 2-1 with goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Felipe Caicedo after Duvan Zapata's opener.

Fiorentina moved ahead of Milan into seventh with a 3-0 win over visiting Sassuolo. Giovanni Simeone, Jordan Veretout and Federico Chiesa scored for the Viola.

Also, Mattia Destro scored a late equalizer for Bologna to cancel out Joao Pedro's opener in a 1-1 draw with Cagliari.

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More AP Serie A coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/SerieA