Theo Hernandez struck twice as Milan recovered from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Parma and keep their unbeaten start to the Serie A season intact. (More Football News)
The hosts looked to be heading for a first defeat in 23 league outings - and a first in 11 games this term - after Hernani and Jasmin Kurtic had put Parma in control.
But Milan showed exactly why they are top thanks to a couple of goals from Hernandez - the equaliser in the 91st minute - as they dug deep in Sunday's clash at San Siro.
The point was the least Stefano Pioli's men deserved, having hit the frame of the goal four times - Hakan Calhanoglu responsible for three of those - and had a strike disallowed between the visitors' two goals.
Hernani side-footed away from Gianluigi Donnarumma for the opener following some good wide play from Gervinho, who got at league debutant Pierre Kalulu - an early sub for the injured Matteo Gabbia - and pulled the ball back towards the penalty spot.
Milan thought they were back on level terms 10 minutes later through Samu Castillejo's tap-in after Brahim Diaz flicked Hernandez's cross into the attacking midfielder's path, only for VAR to chalk it off for a slender offside.
Diaz then hit the crossbar, five seconds before Calhanoglu did likewise with a volley that bounced off the surface as Milan pushed hard for an equaliser before half-time.
And the home side were further frustrated when Calhanoglu clipped the outside of the post from a free-kick and then thumped a shot against the crossbar either side of the interval.
With Pioli's charges committing bodies forward, Hernani sent in a cross from the right that evaded Andreas Cornelius but was powered home by the head of an unmarked Kurtic in the centre.
Milan's response was instant, Hernandez sneaking in to meet Calhanoglu's corner as the hosts scored for a 31st league match running.
After probing away for the next half an hour, Hernandez found a way through for a second time as he reacted quickest to fire a loose ball into the bottom corner and salvage a late point.
What does it mean? Chasing pack close the gap
Inter, Napoli and Juventus all picked up victories earlier on Sunday to increase the pressure on Milan at the top of the table.
Quite how Pioli's men failed to win this game is hard to say, having had 65 per cent possession and managed 26 shots - six of those on target - but the late point could yet prove to be massive in the grand scheme of things.
They hold a three-point lead on bitter rivals and closest challengers Inter, with Napoli and reigning champions Juventus a further point behind in what is shaping up to be a thrilling Scudetto race.
Hernandez will grab the headlines thanks to his second-half double, but Hernani also deserves praise for a fine attacking display at San Siro.
His finish for the opener was impressive, leaving Donnarumma rooted to his spot, and he laid on a good assist for Kurtic's header which looked like being the winner until Hernandez popped up in the final moments.
Milan attacker Calhanoglu will be ruing his luck after his hat-trick of near misses, coming from the six shots he managed across the 90 minutes.
He is just the fourth Serie A player to hit the woodwork three times in the same game since Opta started recording such data in 2004-05, along with Ciro Immobile (vs. Bologna in 2017), Mohamed Salah (vs. Bologna in 2016) and Arturo Di Napoli (vs. Sampdoria in 2005).
Key Opta Facts:
- Milan have avoided the defeat in their first 11 seasonal Serie A games for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign.
- After Atletico Madrid's defeat on Saturday, Milan are the only side unbeaten in the top five European Leagues after the lockdown.
- No side has hit the woodwork more times than AC Milan in Serie A this season (11).
- Hernani (13th min) has scored the fastest scored for Parma against Milan in the Serie A since Antonio Cassano in March 2014 (nine mins).
- Hernandez is the first Milan defender to score a brace in the Serie A since Alessandro Nesta in October 2009 against Chievo.
Milan are back in Serie A action on Wednesday with a trip to Genoa, while Parma host Cagliari on the same day.
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