Zlatan Ibrahimović Shown Straight Red For Dissent
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AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimović was sent off for dissent as his side earned a 3-1 win at Parma in Serie A on Saturday.
Milan eased into a comfortable two-goal lead at the break thanks to goals from Ante Rebic in the eighth minute — a strike that was brilliantly set up by Ibrahimović — and a fine Franck Kessie finish on the stroke of halftime.
Milan's task became much more difficult just before the hour mark, however, as out of the blue, Ibrahimović was given a straight red card for something he said to the referee, much to the Swede's bemusement.
Zlatan Red Card vs Parma (Full Match Highlights)
Milan coach Stefano Piolo explained after the match what Ibrahimović said to the referee.
"I just talked to Zlatan, he told me that he argued with the referee and it lasted some time," Pioli told Sky Sport Italia. "He assured me that he did not disrespect him and above all he did not offend.
"What did he report to the referee? Zlatan said to me that he said 'you really don't care what I tell you.'"
Riccardo Gagliolo got Parma back into the match six minutes later, but Rafael Leao added a late third for second-placed Milan as Stefano Pioli's men closed the gap to Inter Milan to eight points, with the league leaders facing Cagliari on Sunday.
Parma remain in trouble down in 19th in the standings, four points from the safety zone.
A run of just one win in their previous five matches in all competitions was threatening to unravel Milan’s season, but the visitors raised their game early on against Parma, scoring a fine opener.
Croatian winger Rebic turned provider for Kessie as the visitors doubled their lead, with the Ivorian netting his 10th goal of the campaign to seemingly steer Milan towards a comfortable victory.
What exactly Ibrahimović said to receive his eighth dismissal in Europe's top-five leagues is unclear, as he did not even appear to be close to the referee when he brandished the red card, but it changed the complexion of the game.
Veteran striker Graziano Pelle then brilliantly set up Gagliolo to get Parma back in it, and Milan all of a sudden looked vulnerable.
But as Parma committed bodies forward for a leveller, Milan broke clear in stoppage time, with Diogo Dalot setting up Leao for the substitute's first goal since early January which sealed the visitors their 13th Serie A away win this season — a club record.
(Reporting by Peter Hall. Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)