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

Ebrahim Sadien On April - 29 - 2013

AC Milan Back To Winners Circle With Six Goal Thriller

A second half brace from substitute Giampaolo Pazzini secured a thrilling 4-2 victory for AC Milan at the San Siro stadium.

Milan headed into the encounter out of the Champions League places after Fiorentina had comprehensively beaten Sampdoria earlier in the day. The Rossoneri needed a victory to reclaim the all-important third spot. Milan welcomed back Mario Balotelli and Mathieu Flamini from suspension and Christian Abbiati and Massimo Ambrosini missed out through injury. Antonio Nocerino was also handed a rare start in midfield. Catania were without the suspended trio of Mariano Andujar, Guiseppe Bellusci and Nicolas Burdisso.

Milan who had looked disjointed and unimaginative in their recent few outings, immediately started on the front foot. They imposed themselves on Catania and looked threatening on every attack. Ricardo Montolivo and Balotelli came closest to opening the scoring in the opening stages. However it was Catania who stunned Milan with the opening goal totally against the run of play. Francesco Lodi’s perfect free kick was headed in by Nicola Legrottaglie. Milan reacted positively though and continued to pile on the pressure. Kevin Prince Boateng was unlucky after a well-timed volley hit the cross-bar and then subsequently Nocerino’s shot was well saved by Alberto Frison. A thunderbolt free-kick from Balotelli was also kept out by Frison before the Rossoneri’s pressure eventually paid off. Flamini’s drive from close range found the bottom corner after some good build up play. It was the Frenchman’s third goal in as many games.

The second half continued in the same fashion. Milan controlled the game and surged forward at every opportunity. Once again though, Catania were able to catch Milan against the run of play. Nocerino gave possession away as Milan moved forward and the ball eventually made its way to Gonzalo Bergessio who calmly chipped the ball over the on rushing Marco Amelia.

Massimiliano Allegri then sent on Pazzini for Nocerino which proved to be a masterstroke. In a five minute frenzy the former Internazionale man managed to net a double to give Milan the advantage. Firstly Balotelli’s powerful shot from range was parried by Frison into Pazzini’s path and he made no mistake with the tap-in. Then minutes later El Shaarawy had a shot deflected straight into the path of Pazzini who once again made no mistake with his finish. Finally in stoppage time, Balotelli put the game beyond doubt by converting a penalty he himself had won.

Milan can be satisfied with a much improved performance. They did concede two goals at home with two lapses of concentration which is always a cause for concern but ultimately offered enough going forward. The Rossoneri’s performance displayed the urgency which had been severely lacking in previous weeks. Becoming customary, Montolivo dictated and controlled the game but this time Milan were able to add the attacking penetration to justify all the possession. Catania, despite scoring twice, never really troubled Milan for any sustained period of time. They were content with defending deep which allowed Milan to pour forward. Boateng was particularly enterprising and was at the heart of most of Milan’s attacking opportunities.

The Rossoneri managed to leapfrog Fiorentina back into third place and now head into the next week’s match against struggling Torino with some confidence. Milan know that they simply cannot afford to slip up in their last four remaining matches this season with Fiorentina pushing them all the way for the final Champions League position.

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