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

Ebrahim Sadien On March - 18 - 2013

Super Mario Makes Magic As AC Milan Steamroll Palermo

A brace from Mario Balotelli propelled Milan back to winning ways after the disappointing midweek Champions League elimination.

A first half penalty and a tap-in during the second period by Balotelli saw off a dogged Palermo outfit. It allowed the Rosseneri to continue their unbeaten run in Serie A to eleven games. For Palermo on the other hand, the prospect of relegation is becoming more and more of a reality. Their defeat to Milan was the fourteenth loss of the season and they remain joint last with Pescara.

The Rossoneri entered the tie looking to bounce back from the 4-0 defeat by Barcelona in the Champions League. Milan welcomed back Balotelli and also included Mat De Scgilio and Daniele Bonera from the side that lost midweek. Palermo’s build-up to the match was also not ideal. Guiseppe Sannino, who was fired in week three, was welcomed back to the coaching hot seat after Gian Piero Gasperini and Alberto Malesani were also let go. Balotelli enabled Milan to get off to the perfect start after calmly converting a penalty after only eight minutes. Salvatore Aronica had tugged Balotelli to the floor at a corner kick and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.

Milan played the rest of the half in second gear and while dictating possession never really provided a penetrating edge to add to their lead. A blocked Stephan El Shaarawy shot from inside the box in the 23rd minute was the only other real clear cut opportunity of the first half. Palermo did not possess the quality to threaten Milan but were unlucky on the half hour mark. A deliberate hand ball by Christian Zapata prevented Josip Ilicic from breaking through on goal and was only met with a yellow card from the referee.

The Rosaneri entered the second half an improved side and handed the Milan defence a few worrying moments. However, against the run of play, Massimiliano Allegri’s men doubled the lead in the 66th minute. M’Baye Niang, who was a second half substitute, crossed from the left and after a fumble by Stefano Sorrentino, Balotelli was left with an easy tap in.

From then on the Rossoneri were able to coast home and never looked like conceding. They played within themselves but were still able to walk away with a comfortable 2-0 victory. The young De Scgilio once again played with maturity and energy up and down the left touchline. This only spelled further questions as to why he was left out midweek against Barcelona.

Allegri will no doubt be happy at the outcome after failing to win after elimination from the Champions League in both of the previous two seasons. Heading into the international break the Rossoneri remain in third place in Serie A after Napoli’s victory over Atlanta. The three points do however keep pressure on Napoli as Milan chase 2nd and the automatic Champions League qualification spot. Balotelli who is leading Milan’s charge now has seven goals in six league appearances.

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