Milan (AFP) – Goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli sealed the first ever Serie A point for newcomers Benevento to spoil Gennaro Gattuso’s debut as AC Milan coach in a 2-2 draw that was greeted like a victory by the hosts.
In a desperate scramble in front of goal Brignoli headed in five minutes into injury time to give the side from outside Naples their first point in 15 games.
“Someone from the bench told me to go up, there was nothing to lose, I went to jump and I closed my eyes,” said Brignoli.
“It’s a very strong, indescribable emotion,” continued the 26-year-old, who joined promoted Benevento on loan this season from champions Juventus after scoring his first ever goal.
“I dedicate the goal to all the people who are living a dream that they hoped would be better.
“We have lost so many games undeservedly at the end, even with Juventus, for once after three months of sacrifice by everyone it is nice to be able to celebrate.”
Giacomo Bonaventura had opened for Milan after 38 minutes at the Stadio Vigorito, before George Puscas pulled Benevento level five minutes after the break.
Croatian forward Nikola Kalinic got Milan back in front seven minutes later only for Alessio Romagnoli to be sent off for a second bookable offence leaving the visitors a man down for the final 15 minutes.
But in the final seconds of the game as Benevento looked set for their 15th straight defeat Brignoli jumped highest after a desperate last free kick to scenes of euphoria among the home crowd.
Former Milan midfielder Gattuso had taken over midweek after predecessor Vincenzo Montella was sacked as the former European giants sit seventh way below the Champions League ambitions of their new Chinese owners.
“We have to improve our form and mentality but I’ve nothing to hold against the players,” said Gattuso whose side can slip further depending on results later Sunday.
“They gave everything when down to ten. We conceded a goal that hurt.
“We lost the ball too many times playing out of defence. Trying to do something new is good, but we knew that despite the defeats, Benevento have been doing much better in terms of performance lately.”
Benevento had surpassed Manchester United’s 12-game losing start, a record established 87 years ago, on November 19.
Inter Milan — now the only unbeaten team in Serie A this season after leaders Napoli lost 1-0 to champions Juventus on Friday — can claim the championship lead later Sunday when they host Chievo.
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