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

Ebrahim Sadien On May - 6 - 2013

Curva Sud Celebrates When Balotelli Rescues AC Milan

Milan made significant strides to securing Champions League football next season with an uninspiring 1-0 victory over struggling Torino.

In a game of few chances, Mario Balotelli’s late strike earned a victory for the Rossoneri at the San Siro. With only four games of the season left and Fiorentina going down to Roma the day before, Milan new a victory against Torino would go a long way to securing third place.

Ricardo Montolivo and Massimo Ambrosini missed out through injury, while Stephan El Shaarawy started despite suffering with an ankle problem. Kevin Contant was also handed a start at left back and Christian Abbiati returned from injury. Mattia Darmian and Giuseppe Vives returned from bans for Torino as they began with a defensive minded 4-5-1 system.

In a game against a team flirting just above the relegation zone, it was supposed to be a relatively easy task at home for Milan. Instead it was an immense struggle at the San Siro as the Rossoneri lacked imagination and creative influence in midfield. They paid the price for creating and building a team around a single player with absolutely no natural replacement in the squad. Montolivo has provided the creative influence throughout the season growing into arguably Milan’s most important player. In Montolivo’s absence Sulley Muntari was entrusted with the deep-lying playmaker position while flanked by Antonio Nocerino and Mathieu Flamini. The trio was unable to dictate the game and provide the creative drive and opportunities for Milan’s front three.

Instead it was Torino that almost grabbed the lead in the first half. Alessio Cerci broke through on goal in the opening moments of the game but Abbiati managed to save his side-footed effort. Later in the half the Granata missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring. Cerci cleverly flicked the ball to Paulo Barreto who found himself in space but incredibly shot straight at Abbiati. Milan’s best chance of the half fell to Kevin-Prince Boateng who failed to get decent contact on a point-blank header.

The second half continued in much the same fashion. Milan kept a decent amount of possession but were unable to create any clear cut opportunities. Max Allegri threw on Giampaolo Pazzini for El Shaarawy but Milan’s front three continued to look stagnant as they were starved from decent opportunities from the midfield. At the other end, the Rossoneri looked susceptible to the counter-attack as Torino managed to cause the defence problems on more than one occasion.

With the game drawing to a dull close, Balotelli once again stepped up to hand Milan all three points. A deep cross was headed back across goal by Philippe Mexes and tapped in by Super Mario.

On a frustrating afternoon and despite being far from the best, the most important matter was for Milan to pick up the three points. They achieved this and have opened up a four point lead over Fiorentina with only three games of the season left. Allegri will perhaps have to come up with a new solution to the midfields lack of creativity as they take on Pescara mid-week, still without Montolivo.


AC Milan tifosi-fans make sure to check out Top Goals This Season - AC Milan Show and vote for your favorite player goal. Will it be “Super” Mario Balotelli, Stephan El Shaawrawy,  Bojan Krkic Kevin Prince Boateng or Giampaolo Pazzini?


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