Football: Lopez sent off and Milan finish with nine in Empoli draw

Football: Lopez sent off and Milan finish with nine in Empoli draw
AC Milan's goalkeeper from Spain Diego Lopez (L) leaves the pitch after he gets a red card during the Italian Serie A football match between AC Milan and Empoli at San Siro Stadium in Milan.

MILAN - Mattia Destro's first goal for AC Milan was not enough as they had goalkeeper Diego Lopez sent off and finished with nine men after running out of substitutions in a 1-1 draw at home to Empoli on Sunday.

Milan left the field to the familiar sound of jeers from a sparse San Siro crowd of 27,000 after being outplayed by their promoted opponents, who should have taken all three points.

They have taken only five points in seven Serie A games since the Christmas break, a run which has included home defeats by Sassuolo and Atalanta, and have been knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Lazio.

Empoli made the early running and Mario Rui nearly scored a stunning opener when he spotted Lopez off his line and just missed the target with a dipping effort from near the halfway line.

However, Milan went ahead with their first shot on target when Destro turned in Giacomo Bonaventura's low cross from close range, his first goal since his move from AS Roma.

Empoli deservedly equalised in the 69th minute when Massimo Maccarone escaped the attentions of two defenders and scored with a powerful downward header from Elseid Hysaj's cross.

Former Real Madrid keeper Lopez was dismissed with six minutes left as he handled outside the area, having got himself into the mess with a terrible clearance. Destro was substituted to make way for substitute goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.

Milan, who had already lost defender Alex to injury in the seventh minute, were in the wars again when Gabriel Paletta pulled up clutching his hamstring and went off, leaving them to finish with nine men after using their three subtitutions.

 

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