Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Qasa Alom On January - 17 - 2011

Match Report: Lecce 1-1 Milan

AC Milan failed to extend their lead at the top of the table to 6 points as a spirited Lecce pegged them back to a 1-1 draw. Qasa Alom reports.

Before the game Max Allegri said that his team were coming into a key 6 match period and that could’nt have gotten off to a worse star! The most worrying aspect of the result tonight though, for the former Cagliari manager, will be his teams performance. Mathieu Flamini and Massimo Ambrosini were reinstated to the midfield to recreate the powerful and hardworking platform that was so successful in the early part of the season, however this worked against the rossoneri and Milan failed to take the initiative against a Lecce side that was set up to play on the counter as well.

Lecce did well to stifle Milan by tucking their left back in and having the two attacking midfielders, Jeda and Grossmuller press on Ambrosini and Gattuso – neither of whom possess the vision and craft necessary to create opportunities. This forced both Zlatan and Pato to drop deep in search of the ball, and also drift into the wide positions in search of space.

This could have proved to be a dangerous tactic for the minnows, as it left the ever improving Ignazio Abate in acres of room, however Milan opted to concentrate most of their attacks down the left and failed to capitalize on the space. On the odd occasion that Abate was given the opportunity to stretch his legs, his crosses were snuffed out with ease.

The first real chance of the game came from when Ibrahimovic did drop deep and played Gattuso through, however the veteran midfielders daisy cutter was just dragged wide of the post. For the rest of the half Lecce comfortable kept Milan at an arms length and even tiptoed forward themselves on the rare occasion such as when Alessandro Nesta was uncharacteristically caught out of position. The former Lazio captain had Abate to thank though for an excellent recovery tackle on Davide Di Michele before the striker had a chance to fire on goal.

The final real chance of the half fell to Ibrahimovic, who in typical fashion bobbed and weaved his gangly legs through a mass of flustered Lecce defenders; his shot though was just deflected from going in and Lecce defender Mesbah cleared. At half time Lecce seemed buoyed and set to build on their impressive 2-1 shock victory away to Lazio last week, whereas the frustration was evident in the Milan camp, particularly between a bickering Pato and Gattuso.

Evidently some words were spoken in the locker room though as Milan came out firing with more intensity about their play and Ibrahimovic chased down a long ball from the back, outmuscled two defenders and fired a left footed blockbuster over Rosati’s head from way outside the box to stun the crowd.

[jwplayer mediaid="5581"]

Lecce threw on Giacomazzi and Corvina in search of an equaliser and resorted to a more direct 442 formation that opened up the play.  This almost paid off instantly as Giacomazzi fired an acrobatic volley from in-between four defenders to force a brilliant point-blank save by the former Lecce keeper Amelia. It was fast becoming end to end with plenty of space for both teams to create chances as Ibrahimovic looked to add to his tally and drilled a free kick from over 35 yards straight at the keeper after bending it around the wall!

The ineffective Alexandre Pato who scored a brace in the reverse fixture back in matchday 1 was replaced by Antonio Cassano to a cacophony of boos due to his previous allegiances with Lecce’s bitter rivals Bari. Instantly the enigmatic forward showcased his talents by dribbling three players and almost flicking Ibrahimovic through to double the score.

Worryingly for Allegri, Lecce were by then growing as an attacking threat and Milans inability to retain possession to see the game out was fast becoming apparent. First of all Giacomazzi  displayed his dribbling abilities and got behind Bonera at left back before his cross was put out of play for a corner. Then Seedorf’s poor clearance allowed Di Michele to shoot, however a deflection steered the ball onto the post and wide. Finally though Lecce made the pressure count as former Juventus player Olivera finished with conviction from a low corner past Amelia. It was no more than the home side had deserved.

Milan almost re-took the lead straight away though as Abate’s incisive run and cut back from the byline was met by Seedorf, however the dutchman’s shot was cleared on the line for a corner! Then on the break Lecce cut Milan open – much like Cesena did earlier in the season from the wide positions and Udinese last week – however Bonera just about did enough to clear any danger.

Milan were looking desperate and throwing everything forward, with Zlatan forcing Rosati into a smart save with his legs. Then Cassano came agonisingly close to another assist as his low cross at the edge of the 6 yard box was volleyed instantly by Zlatan forcing Rosati to make a brilliant save with his legs.

In the last minute of added time, Abate’s surging run from deep led to a dangerous tackle and one last chance…Mathieu Flamini came off for Mario Yepes as they looked for a headed victory, however Zlatan’s header from Cassano’s cross went looping safely over and the game finished 1-1.

This means that Milan have failed to win at the Stadio via del Mare since 2002 and more worryingly, look naïve and unable to kill games off. With Inter starting to hit form the Serie A is certainly not over and Max Allegri will surely be counting down the days until he has the calm and assured Andrea Pirlo back in his midfield to control the tempo.

As for Lecce, with 4 points from tough games against Lazio and Milan the minnows have given themselves a fighting chance for survival, however they’ll need to take the momentum from these games into the up-coming matches against direct rivals Cesena and Parma.

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)

More Posts - Twitter

Comments are closed.

Featured Skills Video

    Write for Serie A Weekly!

    contribute Send us a timely, compelling post and we'll consider it for publishing on the site with mention of your name and social-media link.

    Click here to contact us.


Serie A Weekly recognises all copyrights contained. Where possible we acknowledge the copyright holder. If you own copyright to an image and object to its presence, contact the blog immediately using the "contact us" link at the top of this page. This blog is not responsible for the content of third party sites.