Milan hold by Lecee 1-1

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Ronaldinho's late strike was not enough to keep Milan's Serie A leadership, as Lecce equalised deep into stoppages!

Confidence was high in the camp of the new Serie A leaders, who had not topped the table since 2004 and celebrated a last-gasp UEFA Cup win over Sporting Braga on Thursday. The Rossoneri had won four domestic games on the bounce and were eager to keep the momentum going against a Lecce side that had won one, drawn five and lost two in the last eight rounds.

Massimo Ambrosini, Philippe Senderos, Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini and Andrea Pirlo were injured for the visitors, who hadn't conceded a goal on their Serie A travels since September 24. Milan's last win at the Via del Mare was seven years ago.

Daniele Cacia and Marco Borriello had audacious efforts in the opening minutes. Milan went very close when Kaka's low shot squirmed through and Benussi flicked it off the line with his foot, but Borriello could only hit the side-netting with the rebound.

Benussi intercepted Gianluca Zambrotta's chipped pass for Clarence Seedorf, while at the other end Cacia drilled inches wide of the near post. Moments later Cacia sprung the offside trap on a flicked on free kick, but his first touch let him down and Christian Abbiati pounced.

Cacia again went clear from Guillermo Giacomazzi's pass, but smacked an audacious effort across the face of goal rather than roll across to Simone Tiribocchi.

Daniele Bonera was booked for bringing down Tiribocchi as he ran towards goal, while Benussi got down to smother a deflected Ronaldinho snapshot from 20 metres.

Borriello thought he had given Milan the lead by getting the lob out when the goalkeeper had already rushed out, but Suleymane Diamoutene performed a goalline clearance. From the resulting corner Ronaldinho crossed to the back post where Borriello incredibly ballooned over the bar from a couple of yards!

Diamoutene did well to clear a cross off Borriello's foot with a diving header, but on the counter as part of the same move Marek Jankulovski's sliding tackle was decisive to stop Cacia going clear.

Benussi punched a Kaka cross off Borriello's head, taking some of the striker's jaw with him. Borriello ran on to a loose ball and sprinted into the box, but his touch let him down and Benussi was able to fling himself at the ball.

Mathieu Flamini's first touch was also poor as he ws unmarked at the back post for a Kaka cross flicked on by Borriello.

After the restart Guglielmo Stendardo's brave and precise sliding tackle cut off Borriello in the box. However, Lecce had a fantastic opportunity when Seedorf got his head to a corner kick, leaving Abbiati stranded, but Giacomazzi incredibly turned on to the side-netting when totally unmarked!

It was a game where both teams seemed determined to miss the easiest chances. Borriello knocked on a goal kick for Kaka to burst into the box, but as Benussi rushed out and committed himself, the Brazilian stroked wide of an empty net!

Jankulovski volleyed a Kaka cross wide, while Ronaldinho was brought down outside the area and flashed his free kick across the face of goal. Milan were dominating possession, but could not find a way through a Lecce defence that had conceded just four goals in five home games.

Borriello just failed to get the tap-in on a taut Ronaldinho cross from the right, as Stendardo did just enough to put him off.

On 74 minutes the Lecce goal was under siege, as Benussi flew to palm away a Jankulovski angled drive, then managed to flap out the cross for Borriello's head and Gennaro Gattuso's cross was charged down for a corner.

The Rossoneri were furious when they wanted a penalty for a supposed Stendardo push on Daniele Bonera, but as the ball fell Borriello again ballooned over the bar from a promising position.

Polenghi was stretchered off after an accidental collision with Gattuso, making way for Esposito, while Pippo Inzaghi and Alexandre Pato replaced Mathieu Flamini and the wasteful Borriello.

It was certainly an inspired substitution! Pato's first touch of the ball was a run down the right channel to cut back for Ronaldinho's sliding finish into the net. Curiously, it was his first goal for Milan scored outside San Siro.

Moments later Pato got down the left and drilled wide from distance, but Abbiati gathered a Ronaldinho backpass just inside his box to give away an indirect free kick. The Rossoneri argued it was not an intentional backpass, as he was in midfield at the time. It did not matter, as Gattuso charged down the free kick.

Pato held off a defender to spin and set up Inzaghi, who fired off target from the D. Tiribocchi snatched at his volley in stoppages, but Cacia earned a late free kick that was floated to the edge of the six-yard box for Esposito's header! Lecce equalised in the final moments of five minutes of injury time.
Lecce: Benussi; Polenghi (Esposito 78), Stendardo, Diamoutene, Antunes; Munari (Ardito 58), Giacomazzi (Caserta 65), Zanchetta, Ariatti; Cacia, Tiribocchi

Milan: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Bonera, Favalli, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Seedorf, Flamini (Pato 78); Ronaldinho (Emerson 84), Kaka; Borriello (Inzaghi 78)

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