AC Milan needed a controversial penalty to earn a
disappointing 1-1 home draw against minnows Livorno at the San Siro on Wednesday
night in a game that also saw them lose Brazil striker Ronaldo.
Ronaldo was taken to hospital after suffering a leg injury just minutes after
coming on as a second-half substitute.
The European champions missed the chance to leapfrog Fiorentina into fourth
place in the league after dropping two points against their lowly opponents.
A victory would have taken Milan up into the last Champions League qualifying
place but instead they missed the likes of Kaka and Pato in an insipid display
that made them look anything but the best team in Europe.
But Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti's biggest concern was over Ronaldo, who had
managed only 45 minutes against Siena on Sunday having looked totally out of
Ancelotti defended the decision to bring him on.
"Ronaldo has gone for tests, soon we will know what happened. His previous
problems were with his other leg, if he played it's because he was able to do so,
we're not crazy."
New teenage star Alberto Paloschi started from the off but he had an ineffectual
game and was replaced soon after the restart.
Andrea Pirlo had the first chance with a shot from distance that Marco Amelia in
the Livorno goal did well to tip round the post.
Livorno's top goalscorer Francesco Tavano had the visitors' best chance of the
half but failed to hit the target while Milan's Georgia defender Kakha Kaladze
header just over the bar from a corner.
Massimo Ambrosini had the clearest sight of goal in the first half for Milan but
found Amelia in inspired form.
Five minutes after the break Livorno stunned their hosts with a goal of
Nico Pulzetti curled home an unstoppable left-foot effort from the edge of the
area that had Australian goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac flapping at thin air.
Ancelotti responded by taking off Paloschi and Alberto Gilardino and sending on
veteran pair Filippo Inzaghi and Ronaldo in attack.
The lead did not last long as Milan hit back 11 minutes later in controversial
Jose Vidigal was penalised, presumably for handball in the area, but he was
under pressure from Ronaldo at the time, who fell awkwardly and had to be
stretchered from the field.
"I heard a horrible sound, like a bang, it was a strange sound," said Amelia
after the game.
Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said later he thought the problem was
"Ronnie has a problem with the tendon in his left knee, it's not the one he has
already had operated on but it's a serious problem."
Pirlo sent Amelia the wrong way from the spot but it seemed a soft penalty at
best and Vidigal was also harshly booked.
But Ronaldo's injury, his fourth this season, deprived Milan of an important
attacking threat and they replaced him with his compatriot wing-back Serginho,
leaving Inzaghi on his own up front.
With 14 minutes to play Inzaghi had a great chance to win the game but he headed
French midfielder Yoann Gourcuff's right-wing cross too close to Amelia, who
parried the ball to safety.
Pulzetti should have won the game a minute from time as he arrived unmarked onto
a cross from the left from Fausto Rossini but he failed to make proper contact
from eight yards out and the chance went begging.