AC Milan squandered yet another lead as their Serie A winless run stretched to three matches in a 1-1 draw at promoted Empoli on Thursday.
Alessio Romagnoli's poor error led to Francesco Caputo converting a 71st-minute penalty that denied the visitors a much-needed three points.
The Rossoneri, lacking the services of the injured Gonzalo Higuain, had already given up five points from winning positions leading into this trip, a demoralising sequence that seemed set to end when Lucas Biglia rifled in a deflected opener in the 10th minute.
But the Argentina midfielder's desperate attempt to atone for Romagnoli's shocking pass from the back forced him into a foul on Caputo, who dusted himself off to deny Gennaro Gattuso's a maiden clean sheet.
Diego Laxalt earlier marked his first league start for Milan with a key part in the opener, delivering the cross from which Biglia emphatically punished Rade Krunic's lazy clearance - albeit with the aid of a deflection off Leonardo Capezzi.
The lead would have been fleeting had Gianluigi Donnarumma not produced a fine pair of saves, denying Antonino La Gumina in a one-on-one and then helping turn Caputo's shot against the near upright.
Team-mate Franck Kessie was less decisive, the midfielder squandering two good opportunities to widen the margin before half-time.
5 - AC Milan have fired five shots on target so far against Empoli, their best tally in the first half of a single Serie A game this season. Fire. #EmpoliMilan — OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) September 27, 2018
Fewer concerns arose for Milan after half-time until Romagnoli's terrible error gifted Empoli a way back into the match.
The defender horribly scuffed a pass that ricocheted into Caputo's path and, brought down by a scrambling Biglia, the Empoli forward held his composure to blast in the subsequent spot-kick.
The impressive Pietro Terracciano later protected parity with two excellent stops from Suso that ensure Milan threw away another victory.
What it means: Higuain needs to hurry back
Sidelined by the reoccurrence of an old muscle problem, Higuain's absence was especially notable with Fabio Borini asked to perform a limp impression of a centre-forward.
Gattuso must have wished the chances that came to Kessi and Suso were instead falling to his in-form striker.
Top drawer from Terraciano
Both goalkeepers turned in commendable performances, but it was Terracciano that had the greatest say on the result.
The 28-year-old produced several sharp reflex saves in the first 45 minutes and continued that good work with a pair of crucial late interventions to prevent Suso from restoring Milan's lead.
FINISCE AL CASTELLANI - #EmpoliMilan si chiude 1-1: rossoneri avanti con Biglia nel primo tempo, nella ripresa il pareggio di Caputo su calcio di rigore pic.twitter.com/vNP3CP1VI9 — Empoli Fc Official (@EmpoliCalcio) September 27, 2018
Kessie kicking himself
While Romagnoli was perhaps most culpable for the result, his mistake would have mattered less if Kessie had made the most of two clear first-half chances.
The Ivory Coast international hit one rebound too close to Terracciano and scooped another over the bar at point-blank range, wasted chances that ultimately came back to cost his team.
Key Opta Facts
- AC Milan have conceded goal in each of their last 11 league games: it is the longest run among the 20 sides in the current Serie A.
- The Rossoneri have conceded 88 per cent of their Serie A goals in the second halves (7 out of 8).
- Gennaro Gattuso's side have lost seven points from leading situations in Serie A this season, at least three more than any other side.
- Francesco Caputo has scored three of five Empoli’s goals in Serie A this season. Caputo has found the back of the net in two Serie A matches in a row for the first time in his career.
Milan will attempt to find a first win in four league fixtures when they visit Sassuolo on Sunday, the same day as Empoli's trip to Parma.