AC Milan 1-1 Salernitana: Reigning champions remain fourth in Serie A as Boulaye Dia cancels out Olivier Giroud header


AC Milan squandered a big chance to gain ground on their top-four rivals in Serie A as they threw away the lead to draw 1-1 at home to Salernitana.

Olivier Giroud headed the hosts in front in first-half stoppage time, but Boulaye Dia levelled in the second half and the champions couldn’t find a way past Guillermo Ochoa for a second time.

With Inter Milan, Lazio, Roma and Atalanta all dropping points in the last few days, Milan knew they could draw level with the Nerazzurri in second with a win.

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Instead the draw leaves them fourth, two points behind Inter and 20 adrift of runaway leaders Napoli.

It was another impressive result for Salernitana coach Paulo Sousa, who has picked up five points from four games since taking charge to lift the 16th-placed Campanian club seven points above the relegation zone.

Milan slowly cranked up the pressure in a cagey first half, as the impressive Norbert Gyomber made an excellent challenge to stop Theo Hernandez racing clean through on goal before Rafael Leao pulled a shot wide.

An acrobatic overhead kick from Giroud at a corner flew inches over the bar, while at the other end Milan were almost caught on the break but were saved by goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who rushed out of his box to perfectly time a high risk last-man challenge on Dia.

The dam eventually broke when Giroud glanced home from an Ismael Bennacer corner in first-half stoppage time to net his eighth league goal of the season, but the visitors struck back midway through the second half when Dia was left all alone from six yards to tuck home a Domagoj Bradaric cross.

Milan thought they had a golden chance to re-take the lead when the referee pointed to the spot for a foul on Bennacer, but after a review on the pitchside monitor he changed his mind, as the midfielder had thrown himself to the ground dramatically to exaggerate the contact.

It was then over to Salernitana keeper Guillermo Ochoa to keep the point safe, as the Mexico international produced a string of fantastic saves in the final 15 minutes.

He flew to his right to deny a close-range Divock Origi effort, somehow clawed an Alessandro Florenzi header off the line and got down quickly to tip away a Zlatan Ibrahimovic stinger, while at the other end Maignan had to be alert to stop Krzysztof Piatek from scoring against his former club.

Boulaye Dia of US Salernitana celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-1 during the Serie A match between AC MIlan and Salernitana at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on March 13, 2023 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Ivan Romano/Getty Images)

Image credit: Getty Images

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Napoli are walking Serie A this season on merit, but there’s no doubt they have been helped by the spectacular inconsistency of every single member of the chasing pack.

This has been a theme all season long, but this weekend was possibly the most extraordinary example yet of just how flawed the teams involved in Serie A’s knife-edge top-four race are.

Every team from second to sixth – Inter, Lazio, AC Milan, Roma and Atalanta – dropped points in the 26th round of the season, with only one of them (Napoli 2-0 Atalanta) facing a side ranked higher than ninth.


Put it this way – if it wasn’t for Ochoa, Salernitana wouldn’t have got this result. The Mexican wasn’t a major player for much of the game, but he stepped up in a big way during the final 15 minutes when Milan were piling bodies forward in search of a winner.

Ochoa displayed his catalogue of shot-stopping skills by throwing himself left and right, up and down, to deny anyone in a red and black shirt.


AC Milan: Maignan 7; Kululu 6, Thiaw 6, Tomori 6; Saelemaekers 6, Krunic 6, Bennacer 8, Hernandez 6; Diaz 6, Leao 6; Giroud 8

Subs: De Ketelaere 6, Ibrahimovic 6, Origi 6, Florenzi 6, Tonali 6

Salernitana: Ochoa 8; Daniliuc 6, Gyomber 7, Pirola 6; Mazzocchi 7, Bohinen 7, Coulibaly 6, Bradaric 7; Kastanos 6, Candreva 6; Dia 7

Subs: Piatek 6, Lovanto 6, Bonazzoli 6, Sambia 6, Crnigoj 6



Milan win a corner and it’s sent in high towards the penalty spot. Giroud, who has his back to goal, leaps into the air and attempts an acrobatic overhead kick, but it flies inches over the bar! Fantastic effort from the veteran Frenchman.


Milan so nearly caught out again! This time Thiaw is caught in possession as last man as Dia nicks the ball off him and hares off towards goal, but Maignan times a risky challenge well as he rushes out of his box to deny the striker with an excellent challenge.


Salernitana’s resistance finally breaks with the last action of the first half! Bennacer swings a corner in towards the front post and this time Giroud beats Gyomber to it, glancing a header in from six yards. 1-0.


Salernitana are level! Bradaric fires a super low cross in for Dia to finish from six yards, but the striker is completely unmarked – where did the Milan defence go?!


There is contact but Bennacer is looking for it and throws himself quite dramatically to the ground. After a look at the monitor, the referee overturns his decision. No penalty


Ochoa is the hero again for Salernitana, as he somehow keeps a Florenzi header out on the line. The ref checks his watch to make sure, but the Mexican did a fantastic job!


  • Milan did not field any Italian player in the starting line-up in a Serie A match for their first time in the three points for a win era (since 1994/95).
  • Each of Olivier Giroud’s three goals in Serie A in 2023 have been headed, the joint-most over the same period in the ‘top five’ European leagues (level with Victor Osimhen and Danilho Doekhi).

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