An advert for the East: late equaliser sees AC Milan snatch 2-2 draw at Inter Milan in new Chinese era

Cristian Zapata scores in the seventh minute of stoppage time with new president Li Yonghong from Rossoneri Sport Luxembourg in the stands

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 April, 2017, 12:19pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 April, 2017, 10:23pm

Cristian Zapata’s stoppage-time equaliser prevented the new era at AC Milan from getting off to a losing start on Saturday as the Rossoneri fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at city rival Inter Milan.

Antonio Candreva and Mauro Icardi scored in the first half, but Alessio Romagnoli reduced the deficit in the 83rd minute before Zapata’s equaliser in the seventh minute of stoppage time.

Milan remained sixth in Serie A, two points above Inter in the race for the final qualifying position for the Europa League.

This was the first match since the US$800 million takeover of Milan was completed on Thursday by Chinese-led Rossoneri Sport Luxembourg, ending Silvio Berlusconi’s 31-year reign.

Inter, which is also owned by a Chinese group, was taken over last year by Suning.

“It was an advert for the East, it was a hard-fought match, which gave the fans emotions – both positive and negative,” Milan coach Vincenzo Montella said. “I think Milan and Inter offered up a great spectacle.

Chinese-led groups now own AC Milan and Inter Milan

“This team gave the last victory to Berlusconi, against Palermo, and also the last trophy and that’s a privilege. A win would have been better today, but a draw which arrived in this way and for how the team played is a good start.”

New Milan president Li Yonghong was in the stands for the match, which kicked off at 12:30pm local time – perfect for prime time Chinese television audiences seven hours ahead.

Milan fans unveiled a banner at half-time, mocking that decision as it depicted a man eating cash with chopsticks and the words, “All you can eat ... have a nice meal Italian league.”

The Rossoneri supporters also displayed another banner at the start of the first half, with the words: “We hope to see seriousness, commitment and presence. We give our welcome to the new management.”