Sulley Muntari climbed off the bench to help AC Milan secure a 1-0 win over Bologna in the Serie A on Friday night but Michael Essien was an unused substitute.
Muntari replaced Nigel de Jong on 63 minutes as the Rossoneri struggled to scrap that important win to send them to tenth on the table.
Essien, who made his full debut in last week’s defeat at Napoli, was not considered by head coach Clarence Seedorf.
It was a difficult game for Milan who needed a late Mario Balotelli strike to pick the spoils of the match.
Four minutes from time, Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo spotted Balotelli in space and the striker had time to look up and see Gianluca Curci off his line before hitting a rocket that the ‘keeper scrambled in vain to keep out the net.
Italian television pictures claimed Balotelli hit the angled strike from 39 metres and the striker said: “I looked up and saw the ‘keeper off his line, so thought I’d have a go. Thankfully, it went in.”