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

Ebrahim Sadien On May - 14 - 2013

A Share Of The Spoils For Milan Roma

Milan and Roma shared the spoils with a scoreless draw in a match marred by controversy on Sunday evening at the San Siro.

Sunday night’s encounter will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Ninety minutes that on occasions threatened to produce a good game of football was instead overshadowed by two red cards and racial abuse aimed at Mario Balotelli by unruly Roma supporters.

After Fiorentina’s victory over Palermo earlier in the day, Milan required a victory to secure third place. Kevin-Prince Boateng returned from suspension, Mario Balotelli was included after recovering from flu and Mattia De Sciglio returned to the starting line-up at right back. For Roma, Daniele De Rossi, Federico Balzaretti and Maarten Stekelenburg missed out through injury while Simone Perrotta partnered Michael Bradley in midfield.

Milan struggled to assert themselves in the opening stages of the game. Roma were content with allowing Milan possession but closing them down quickly in the final third before launching quick counter-attacks. From the onset it was evident that Roma had earmarked Balotelli as the main threat. Two Roma players were always in close proximity every time Balotelli received the ball. The fierce nature of the contest resulted in few clear cut goal scoring opportunities. Francesco Totti blasted over after being presented with the ball from a mistake by Kevin Constant in Roma’s best chance of the first half. Milan came closest through Boateng’s shot which was straight at Bogdan Lobont from a low and dangerous De Sciglio cross and a Balotelli’s free-kick which was punched away by Lobont.

The match turned on its head in the closing stages of the first half when Sulley Muntari was dismissed. Balotelli committed a foul and Muntari appeared to lose his head as he physically restrained the referee from taking the card out from his pocket. When his team-mates eventually managed to calm the Ghanaian down, Balotelli received his yellow for the foul and Muntari received his marching orders.

The match went from bad to worse only three minutes into the second half. The referee brought a halt to proceedings as an announcement went out over the stadium intercom system for the Roma fans to stop making racist chants.

The second half became a heated and tightly contested affair. Surprisingly the Rossoneri managed to cope adequately with a man short. Roma seemed content to still play on the counter-attack despite their man advantage. The best opportunity off the half came from an excellent through ball by Boateng but Flamini’s low drive was kept out by Lobont. Massimiliano Allegri threw on Robinho and later Giampoalo Pazzini for Stephan El Shaarawy and Flamini respectively, as testimony to their willingness to win the game.

Indicative of the nature of the game, Roma were also reduced to ten men in the closing stage of the game. Totti in his attempt to fend off his former teammate Philippe Mexes threw an elbow and received a straight red card.

Overall the encounter was a bad advertisement for Italian football. Allegri criticised the interruption for racism after the game. “People should go to the stadium to see two teams battling each other on the pitch, not this sort of thing, it’s a place for the uncivilised,” he told the Milan’s website.

Milan remain two points clear of Fiorentina as they head into their final game of the season against relegated Siena. A draw might not be sufficient due to Fiorentian’s superior head-to-head record , assuming La Viola win their final game. The Rossoneri will therefore require all three points to secure Champions League football for next season.

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