Mattia Destro goal not enough for AC Milan as Empoli earn draw


Mattia Destro scored his first goal for AC Milan on Sunday at home but Massimo Maccarone's second-half strike helped Empoli grab a 1-1 draw. Italian striker Destro, who joined the Rossoneri on loan from Roma last month, gave the hosts the lead late in the first half but Maccarone headed the equaliser in the 68th minute to earn Empoli a deserved point at the San Siro. Milan finished the game with 10 men after goalkeeper Diego Lopez was shown a straight red card for handling the ball outside the area six minutes from time. The home side held on for a point to climb to 10th in the Serie A standings, while Empoli are 14th and five points clear of the drop zone. Empoli, who halted a nine-game winless run in a 2-0 triumph over Cesena in their last game, enjoyed a strong start. In the sixth minute, Piotr Zielinski's bullet strike from outside the area was kept out by Lopez. Three minutes later and the visitors were unlucky not to go 1-0 up when Mario Rui unleashed a left-footed shot from 30 yards that beat Lopez but hit the bar. Empoli continued to dominate possession and in the 37th minute, Lopez dived to his right to clear Rui's curled attempt from outside the area. Milan broke the deadlock against the run of play five minutes before half-time. Giacomo Bonaventura got past his marker and crossed from the right to leave Destro with an easy tap-in. The visitors pushed forward more aggressively after the re-start and on the hour mark, Simone Verdi's left-footed attempt from 13 yards was kept out by Lopez. Empoli deservedly got back on level terms in the 68th minute. Maccarone headed Elseid Hysaj's cross towards the bottom left corner of goal and out of Lopez's reach. Milan reacted and in the 79th minute, Destro's powerful header from Bonaventura's dangerous cross went just wide. It was Destro's last attempt as the striker was soon replaced by Christian Abbiati, who had to take Lopez's place between the posts after the Spaniard was red carded. One minute later, Milan tested Luigi Sepe for only the second time in the game, with the Empoli keeper saving substitute Alessio Cerci's attempt from outside the area.