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Qasa Alom On September - 25 - 2010

Match Report: Milan 1 - 0 Genoa

This fixture last year was perhaps coach Leonardo’s finest moment for Milan with a confident 5-2 victory. Today Allegri hoped for something similar to get Milan on the right path. Genoa spent big in the summer on the likes of Miguel Veloso and Luca Toni.

Both teams starting with 4-3-3, Robinho making his first start with Boateng returning to the midfield alongside the old guard of Gattuso and Pirlo. Genoa hoped that palacios would be able to get behind Antonini and cross the ball in for Luca Toni.

After criticism in the media about Milan being “old”and “slow” the rossoneri were full of running with even Robinho tracking back and helping out to make a good impression. Yet the problems from the last few games remained.

On one side Genoa attacked and the defense cut the ball out. Yet no Milan midfielders were on the scene to pick up the loose ball as Veloso shot over wastefully. Then at the other end of the pitch, Ibrahimovic and Ronaldinho were often losing the ball trying to be too clever after getting into promising positions, and then not tracking back.

Gattuso, full of shouting and running released Ronaldinho on the counter with a ferocious tackle. The Brazilian playmaker then released Robinho down the right hand channel, but with three defenders pushing him out wide the angle was always against the former Man City player and Eduardo gathered it up easily.

Chances were rare for both sides in the first half, with the unlikeliest of all players Gattuso coming the closest. Bursting into the box to run onto Ronaldinho’s casual ball, his shot at the near post was just beaten away by Eduardo.

Naturally as the away side Genoa started cautiously, but as the half wore on and they’d weathered the Milanese “storm” they grew in confidence and even ended the first half with more possession of the ball and were unlucky to go into the break on level terms.

Veloso took on and beat Antonini on the right and chipped the ball into the danger zone from the by-line, which almost went in itself after Abbiati flapped it onto the far post!

Milan were playing on the counter attack now and Boateng followed up a move started by Robinho all way into the box and fired his shot straight at the keeper.

Then just on the stroke of half time, Toni shrugged of Pirlo in the box and his cross was met at the back post by Mesto  powerfully certain to ripple the net before Abbiati pushed it out for a corner.

As the second half started it was looking like more of the same from this disappointing Milan side, no Identity, no threat and most importantly no goals. However finally a long ball over the top from Pirlo dropped perfectly between Eduardo and his two defenders. In that coridoor of uncertainty Ibrahimovic managed to stick out one of his much maligned big feet (to Sacchi’s displeasure I assume) and lift the ball over the onrushing keeper and into the back of the net.

Cheers and smiles returned to the rossoneri’s faces. All of a sudden everybody wanted a touch of the ball and even Ignazio Abate was getting forward. His pull back from the right surprised Robinho though and the brazilian couldn’t get enough power on his shot to double the lead.

The game was starting to open up as Genoa turned to Sculli from the bench to score the equaliser. Toni’s flashed a header over after a cross from the right.

After his lovely assist, Pirlo woke from his slumber and started to dictating the play. He switched the play out to right for Robinho, who put it into the box. Genoa couldn’t clear and eventually after getting in each others way Ibrahimov fed Ronaldinho for his shot to flash just over.

Milan were completely in the ascendancy now, without really creating anything worthy of note. Allegri decided to change things up, bringing on Mathieu ulamini and Seedorf for Ronaldinho and Gattuso as Milan reverted to a 4312 formation with Seedorf in the hole.

They casually knocked the ball about with  real purpose, evidently happy to have done the bare minimum and clearly had one eye on their Champions League tie against Ajax midweek. Genoa finally came live in the last 15 minutes though, attacking mainly down right hand side. However Milan were always in control, particularly with Flamini and Boateng protecting the back four.

With 10 minutes to go Seedorf and Robinho combined brilliantly down the left and almost made the points safe. The Dutchman had a fierce drive parried by Eduardo after being set free by the brazilian, who had his rebound cleared off the line!

It was then Flamini’s turn to be wasteful as he found himself with plenty of room running at the last man, but with Robinho over on his left, opted to shoot selfishly.

Then the Frenchman blasted over in the dying minutes after good build up from Ibrahimovic and Robinho released him on the left handside. As the full time whistles blew though, none of it mattered as Milan got their first win since Matchday 1 kept a clean sheet.

Qasa Alom

Broadcast Journalist. Writer for Serieaweekly, subtitled online or anyone else daft enough to want me. These are my thoughts (even the clever ones)

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