Substitute Ante Rebic completed a match-turning second-half double in the 93rd minute to earn Milan a rollercoaster 3-2 victory over Udinese in Serie A on Sunday.
The Croatian winger struck moments after his half-time introduction to cancel out Jens Stryger Larsen's early opener before Theo Hernandez volleyed in a brilliant second, only for Kevin Lasagna to head the visitors level in the 85th minute.
However, the Rossoneri were not to be denied a thrilling come-from-behind win and they had Rebic to thank for a second successive league victory, the 26-year-old keeping his cool to convert in a crowded box deep into added time.
The result at least momentarily lifts Milan up to eighth and gives Stefano Pioli increased hope of leading the team to Europa League qualification.
Pioli's men appeared likely to endure another frustrating home outing after falling behind in the sixth-minute, wing-back Larsen gifted the goal from an acute angle after Gianluigi Donnarumma raced outside his area and collided with Lasagna.
Donnarumma started to redeem himself with a sharp save from Udinese skipper Lasagna less than a minute after the restart.
The stop proved important as Milan quickly equalised, Rebic converting Andrea Conti's low cross in the 48th minute to justify Pioli's half-time withdrawal of Giacomo Bonaventura.
An offside Lasagna drew another excellent save from Donnarumma, who topped that effort by denying Rolando Mandragora at point-blank range.
Juan Musso blocked Rafael Leao's effort at the other end but was left clutching at thin air 19 minutes from full-time as Hernandez connected sweetly with a half-cleared corner.
Udinese had 19 minutes left to claw back a point and looked to have gained it through Lasagna, the attacker atoning for several missed opportunities by nodding in Larsen's cross.
Yet that only set the stage for Rebic to steal back the headlines as he weaved past multiple desperate challenges and finished coolly with his left foot to bring San Siro back to life at the end of a breathless affair.
What does it mean? Milan more than Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's return has revitalised the Rossoneri but it is perhaps to their benefit that the 38-year-old was not a central figure in this fightback.
Match-winner Rebic and the creative Samu Castillejo stepped out of the striker's shadow to show that investment is not the only way forward for Milan.
Rebic drives Rossoneri to valuable victory
Goalless for Milan before Sunday's match, close-season signing Rebic changed that within three minutes of stepping on the pitch and, after making it a double, he has laid the foundation for a positive second half to the campaign.
Lasagna left to rue missed opportunities
Udinese's captain got on the scoresheet at San Siro but will be left feeling as though he should have made a greater impact, having passed up chances earlier in the match to put Udinese in control.
Key Opta Facts
- Milan have come from behind to win a Serie A home game for the first time since Decmber 2018, a 2-1 win against SPAL.
- Hernandez is the first Milan defender to have scored five or more goals in a single Serie A season since Christian Panucci in the 1995-96 campaign.
- Rebic is the first Milan player to have scored a Serie A brace as a substitute since Giampaolo Pazzini against Catania in April 2014.
- Lasagna has now scored three Serie A goals against Milan, all at San Siro – against no other side has he scored more in the competition.
Milan head to Mario Balotelli's Brescia for a winnable Serie A fixture on Friday, while Udinese are in action at Parma two days later.