After battling for a 1-1 draw at home at Red Star Belgrade on Thursday, AC Milan advanced to the last 16 of the Europa League on away goals, with the visitors playing the final 20 minutes with 10 men as the tie ended 3-3 on aggregate.
In the ninth minute from the penalty spot, Milan took the lead in the San Siro, with Franck Kessie scoring after Mark Gobeljic had treated in the penalty area.
But Red Star leveled the aggregate scoreline for the third time in the tie as El Fardou Ben Nabouhane equalized in the 24th minute, with the visitors more than matching their illustrious opponents for the remainder of the first half.
Even with the Red Star going down to 10 players, as they did in the first leg, they kept creating better chances after Gobeljic was sent off to pick up his second yellow card.
Milan was forced to endure late pressure, but in the next round they held on to book a spot. However, their unconvincing form continues, as Stefano Pioli’s side remained without a win in all competitions in their last four games.
“The most important thing is to move by and this should give us confidence, but it was a bit of a disappointment tonight,” Milan midfielder Rade Krunic told Sky Sport Italia.
“We’re not pleased with the results.”
In all competitions, Red Star came into the contest undefeated since the end of October, but they seemed to be up against it after the referee awarded the early penalty after a VAR check.
Nabouhane figured he had equalized only to see his back-post finish ruled out not long after Kessie had slotted home. Soon after, however, he did make one count, firing a perfect left-footed finish past Gianluigi Donnarumma.
At half-time, Zlatan Ibrahimovic came on, but a determined Red Star, roared on by coach and former Inter Milan player Dejan Stankovic, wouldn’t lie down, continuing to go toe-to-toe with the seven-time winners of the European Cup.