Fernando Torres scores in his 1st AC Milan start as the Rossoneri draw 2-2 at promoted Empoli



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EMPOLI, Italy — Fernando Torres scored in his first start for AC Milan as his side came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at promoted Empoli in Serie A on Tuesday.

After early goals from Lorenzo Tonelli and Manuel Pucciarelli, Torres found the target with a header in the 43rd and Japan international Keisuke Honda equalized with a shot from the edge of the area in the 58th.

Milan had a chance to win when Torres, who joined Milan last month in a two-year loan deal from Chelsea, set up Jeremy Menez in the 62nd but the Frenchman's shot hit the crossbar.

"He's a real professional," Milan fullback Ignazio Abate said of Torres, "I'm sure he'll bring us many satisfactions."

Empoli finished with 10 men after Mirko Valdifiori picked up his second yellow card in the 86th for a foul on Nigel de Jong.

Milan moved level with Hellas Verona in third place, two points behind leaders Roma and Juventus, which both play Wednesday. Roma visits Parma and Juventus hosts Cesena.

Empoli has only two points from four matches and is back in the top division after a six-year absence, But it came out full of energy while Milan, which was coming off a draining 1-0 loss to Juventus, appeared to lack organization in defense.

In four matches this season, Milan has conceded eight goals

"We started too softly and this was a match full of dangers," Abate said. "There's a lot of room for improvement and we've got to start with what we showed in the second half tonight."

Tonelli took advantage of Milan's defensive lapses by heading in following a corner in the 13th after being left unmarked inside the box.

Empoli's second goal was a perfectly executed free kick, as Francesco Tavano's smart touch left Pucciarelli with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Simone Verdi had a chance to make it 3-0 in the 31st but his header sailed just high.

Shortly after Torres found the far corner of the net, Empoli coach Maurizio Sarri was sent off for protests.

Tavano had a chance to restore Empoli's two-goal lead in the 55th but he couldn't finish off a counterattack — shooting wide as defenders Daniele Bonera and Cristian Zapata trailed behind him.

Honda's equalizer came from a shot that went through a defender's legs.

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