Jeremy Menez's controversial penalty salvages point for AC Milan

15

Jeremy Menez's controversial penalty rescued a 2-2 draw for 10-man AC Milan at Sampdoria in a hard-fought contest at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. The hosts looked to be in the ascendancy when goals from Stefano Okaka and Eder cancelled out former Genoa forward Stephan El Shaarawy's opener. But Samp full-back Djamel Mesbah was harshly adjudged to have deliberately handled the ball, despite doing so while slipping to the floor in an attempt to make a clearance, and Menez coolly slotted home to earn Milan, who had Daniele Bonera sent off late on, a point. The Rossoneri have now not won in four matches but under-fire coach Filippo Inzaghi will be glad to collect a point following a shock home defeat to Palermo last week. After a cagey opening few minutes from both teams, El Shaarawy gave the visiting fans something to cheer about when he opened the scoring. The 22-year-old cut inside onto his favoured right foot and into the area before unleashing a sumptuous curling effort across the helpless Sergio Romero in the 10th minute. Milan continued to dominate proceedings, with Michael Essien and Nigel de Jong winning the battle in midfield but Samp recovered from the early shock to gain a foothold in proceedings as the half wore on. Eder collected the ball from a knock on and his flashing shot across goal was tipped away by Diego Lopez. However, the Milan goalkeeper was then bailed out by his defence as he was beaten to a through ball by Manolo Gabbiadini, whose off-balance strike was intercepted by Adil Rami. The visitors then immediately burst upfield and Samp's weakness on their right hand side was exposed again as Giacomo Bonaventura was allowed to cut in from the left but his low strike was saved at his near post by Romero. But Samp were pushing hard for an equaliser and it duly arrived on the stroke of half-time when Okaka was able to get ahead of Bonera and poke home on the volley from Gabbiadini's cross. The home side then came firing out of the traps on the resumption and took a 51st-minute lead thanks to a poacher's finish from Eder. The Brazilian was left to tap into empty net after Pedro Obiang's towering header from a corner came back off the post. It seemed to rattle Milan, who seemed to be bereft of ideas going forward until they were gifted a route back into the match when Mesbah was harshly penalised after falling over and handling while attempting to cut out Menez's cross. Referee Daniele Orsato ruled the full-back had deliberately handled and Menez made no mistake with his 65th-minute spot-kick, sending Romero the wrong way. Milan looked for the winner, with Bonaventura going close with a fizzing strike that went just wide, but their hopes took a blow when Bonera was sent off five minutes from time for picking up a second booking following a cynical challenge on Okaka. It proved of little consequence, though, as neither side could fashion a clear cut chance in the closing stages and the spoils were shared.