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AC Milan 4-1 Cagliari

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Newly crowned Serie A champions AC Milan gave their home supporters a parting gift for the season as they ran out comfortable 4-1 victors against Cagliari at San Siro on Saturday evening.

Robinho opened the scoring on 22 minutes before Gennaro Gattuso doubled the scoreline two minutes later. Robinho’s second goal of the game on 35 minutes handed Milan what appeared to be an unassailable lead.

However Roberto Donadoni’s side were given hope three minutes later through Andrea Cossu’s strike. But the champions completed the rout on 77 minutes when Clarence Seedorf finished off a wonderful team goal.

It was the away side, however, who started brightly and created the first real chance of the game on five minutes. Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan picked the ball up 30 yards from goal before sending a rasping effort which narrowly sailed over Christian Abbiati’s crossbar.

Milan began to come to life and could have taken the lead on 16 minutes. Robinho found himself in space on the right-hand side before clipping a precise cross to the unmarked Alexandre Pato who could only find Michael Agazzi’s arms from 12 yards.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men eventually scored the opening goal on 22 minutes. Robinho picked the ball up from a Clarence Seedorf pass on the left-hand side before slaloming his way past several Cagliari defenders and sliding the ball past the outstretched hand of Agazzi from just inside the penalty area.

The champions doubled their advantage two minutes later with a bizarre goal. Pato’s run into the box was spotted by Seedorf but the Brazilian was beaten to the ball by the sprawling keeper. However the rebound looped up for Gennaro Gattuso to head into an empty net from 20 yards out, the tough-tackling midfielder’s second Serie A goal of the season.

Milan were three goals to the good on 35 minutes and cruising towards victory. Pato’s clipped pass found Robinho who calmly slotted the ball past Agazzi from 15 yards for his second goal of the game.

Yet, Cagliari were given a ray of hope three minutes later, pulling a goal back to make it 3-1. Nainggolan picked out Andrea Cossu in the box and he easily side-stepped Gianluca Zambrotta before putting the ball beyond Abbiati from eight yards.

The second half was a far more closed affair, although the visitors came close to pulling another goal back on 56 minutes. Gabriele Perico picked the ball up from range and sent a ferocious 30 yard effort which Abbiati was forced to turn around the post for a corner.

Milan almost restored their three-goal buffer on 70 minutes when Andrea Pirlo found Robinho in the box with a perfectly weighted through ball. However, Agazzi did well to close down the space and block the Brazilian’s shot.

Allegri’s team put the icing on the cake on 77 minutes with a wonderful team goal. Robinho’s pacy run saw the two-goal man feed the ball into the path of compatriot Pato who flicked it onto the onrushing Seedorf in the box and the Dutchman made no mistake in slipping his shot into the far corner.

Milan will end their championship season next weekend with a visit to Udinese while Cagliari, who have already secured their Serie A status, are away to Parma.

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Milan 3-0 Inter

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An Alexandre Pato double gave Milan all three points and possibly the Scudetto in a 3-0 derby win over bitter rivals Inter.

Pato opened the scoring in the first minute with a tap-in before Cristian Chivu dealt his sides’ chances of a comeback a huge blow on 53 minutes when he was sent off for tripping Milan’s goalscorer. The result was put to bed on 62 minutes when Pato doubled his and Milan’s tally.

Substitute Antonio Cassano completed the rout on 89 minutes, coverting a penalty he won himself before the former Sampdora man received his marching orders in the 92 minute for a second-yellow card.

The result sees Milan increase their lead over Inter at the summit of Serie A to five points with only seven games to go.

The Rossoneri made a dream start to the 154th Serie A Derby della Madonnina when they opened the scoring after only 42 seconds. Gattuso slid a defence-splitting pass through to Robinho who failed to round Julio Cesar but managed to knock the ball into the path of Pato who slammed home from six yards out.

The game continued to fly by at a frenetic pace and Milan in particular were impressing. A strong claim for a penalty was turned down by the referee, Nicola Rizzoli on nine minutes when Robinho met Ignazio Abate’s deep cross with a ferocious volley from 15 yards which was blocked by the arm of Maicon, but it was adjudged to be accidental.

Inter got their first real sight of goal on 19 minutes when Thiago Motta won the ball cleanly off Mark van Bommel before steaming forward and laying it off to Giampaolo Pazzini. The former Sampdoria man then powered past Gianluca Zambrotta before poking a low shot from 12 yards that was smartly blocked by Christian Abbiati.

The Rossoneri nearly doubled their lead on 37 minutes albeit with a slice of luck. Van Bommel struck a thunderbolt from 30 yards out which took a hefty deflection off Andrea Ranocchia, in the process wrong-footing Julio Cesar, but the ball cannoned off the top of the crossbar.

A minute later, the Nerazzurri thought they had levelled the scoring when Wesley Sneijder delivered an inviting corner which was met by the head of Motta on the six-yard line. 80,000 people in the San Siro believed an equaliser was inevitable only for Abbiati to somehow claw the ball to safety off the line, a wonderful save celebrated by the ‘keeper as if he had just scored the winning goal.

The second period resumed at an exciting pace although in the 53rd minute, Leonardo’s men were dealt a huge blow with the sending-off of Cristian Chivu. Pato was sent through clear on goal and with the Brazilian looking to lift the trigger on the edge of the box, the Romanian defender clipped his heels to send the Milan forward sprawling on the edge of the box. It left the referee with no alternative but to show the former Roma man the red card.

Thiago Silva blasted the resulting free-kick at goal but Julio Cesar parried the ball into the path of Kevin-Prince Boateng who could only fire high and wide of the goal.

Inter’s hopes of a comeback were all but extinguished on 62 minutes when Milan doubled their lead. Clarence Seedorf found Abate in plenty of space of down the flank and his shot-cum-cross was headed into the empty net by Pato from six-yards out for his 11th Serie A goal of the season.

It was nearly three on 66 minutes when substitute Mathieu Flamini found Robinho, who turned Ivan Cordoba before hitting a powerful effort towards goal that was expertly blocked by Julio Cesar.

Milan continued to lay siege to the Inter goal and should have put the result beyond doubt on 72 minutes when the terrific Seedorf did well to dispossess Ranocchia before sliding the ball to Robinho who despite his quick feet, could not beat Julio Cesar as he turned the ball around the post.

Inter’s night went from bad to worse when Javier Zanetti blocked off Antonio Cassano in the box on 89 minutes and a penalty was the oly outcome. The substitute stepped up to take the spotkick himself, calmly sending Julio Cesar the wrong way to give Milan a 3-0 lead.

Cassano was sent-off in the 92nd minute for a second yellow card for needlessly bringing down Cordoba in the final stages of the game.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men travel to Florence next weekend to play Fiorentina while Inter are back at the San Siro midweek for their Champions League quarter-final against Schalke.
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Palermo 1-0 Milan

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Palermo recorded a famous victory over league leaders Milan on Saturday evening at the Stadio Renzo Barbera. Dorin Goian’s first half goal condemned the Rossoneri to just their fourth league defeat of the season.

Serse Cosmi was still looking for his first victory as Palermo coach since replacing Delio Rossi earlier in the month, and desperately needed points on the table to kickstart his reign in charge. For Milan, a win was needed to pull away from rivals Inter, who have been piling on the pressure recently.

However, it was the Rosanero who took the initiative early on in just the 10th minute after defender Dorin Goian scored a neat volley from a Giulio Migliaccio knockdown in the Milan box. There was suspicion of offside after the goal went in, but the Diavoli appeals were rejected.

The Rossoneri suffered another setback soon after, with Marek Jankulovski being the recipient of Mauricio Pinilla’s meaty challenge and was replaced by Luca Antonini just seven minutes later.

The game continued in the same vein as the half wore on, with both teams having a fair share of the possession and chances being created. Josip Ilicic and Javier Pastore linked up impressively on the edge of the Milan box, and the resulting shot was well saved by Christian Abbiati.

Massimiliano Allegri made a change early the second half bringing on Kevin-Prince Boateng for Mark Van Bommel but Palermo were still in charge, with Pinilla seeing the bulk of the chances go his way.

Ilicic also saw a snapshot from the edge of the box well claimed by Abbiati. Palermo should have doubled their lead after full-back Matteo Darmian burst into the box and got on the end of Federico Balzaretti’s dangerous low cross, but his sliding shot went wide.
The visitors suffered yet another blow to their hopes after Pato had to hobble off and was replaced by Robinho on 64 minutes. Soon after though, Mathieu Flamini saw a curling shot well saved by Sirigu, although it was at a comfortable enough height to deal with.

As the game wore on, Milan began to dominate possession after the hour mark, and this coincided with Robinho’s introduction as the Brazilian provided a fresh impetus in attack.

Palermo brought on Ghanaian defensive midfielder Afriyie Acquah for Armin Bacinovic to try and salvage some possession play back, but they could not stop wave after wave Milan attacks for the rest of the match. Gennaro Gattuso saw a powerful diving header well saved by the Italy number three.

Fabrizio Miccoli came on late for Pastore and almost made it 2-0 to the Sicilian outfit on 82 minutes, but his shot was straight at Abbiati, and that was the last genuine attempt at goal in the match.

For Palermo, this was an important victory as they can now build on this performance and begin to look upwards in the table. However, for Allegri’s men, they must hope that Lecce pull off an unlikely result at San Siro tomorrow in order to soften the blow of this setback as their city rivals could move within two points of them in the race for the Scudetto.

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AC Milan 1-1 Bari: Late Cassano strike rescues point for Serie A leaders

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Antonio Cassano bailed out AC Milan at San Siro on Sunday after the striker’s effort eight minutes from time secured a point for Massimiliano Allegri’s side, while the Italian’s strike partner, Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw red midway through the second half.

Gergely Rudolf gave Bari the lead in the first half and defended well against and the Serie A leaders, who endured a frustrating afternoon in front of goal.

Allegri’s men are now five points clear of second-placed Inter but they failed to take full advantage of Leonardo’s men slipping up at Brescia on Friday.

AC Milan started the game brightly, controlling possession and passing the ball around comfortably. Still, Jean-Francois Gillet did not have much to do early on as the hosts were unable to create any significant chances.

Robinho had a good opportunity to head in from six yards in the 7th minute after being picked out by Ignazio Abate, but failed to convert. Shortly after, Sergio Almiron had a header from the centre of the box saved by Christian Abbiati.

Ibrahimovic was causing problems for Bari in the penalty box, but could not really test Gillet with his finishing.

But against the run of play, Bari took the lead through Rudolf in the 39th minute. The striker took advantage of some poor defending by AC Milan from a free-kick and was released by Almiron on the left side of the box before finishing with precision into the left corner.

The hosts tried to draw the game level before half-time, but were ultimately unable to do so. Bari, at the foot of Serie A, were on course to achieve a famous victory.

AC Milan started the second half with fire and had a goal disallowed for a debatable offside just two minutes after the break. Ibrahimovic headed a long ball in the path of Robinho who finished from six yards out, but it was ruled out.

Allegri’s men were tightening their grip on the game and Gillet was forced into a good save on Robinho in the 50th minute.

Ten minutes later, Ibrahimovic had another goal disallowed after he allegedly controlled the ball with his hand in the penalty are semi-circle before blasting his volley past Bari’s goalkeeper.

AC Milan went close again in the 65th minute when substitute Erik Huseklepp somehow managed to prevent Urby Emanuelson from scoring from three yards out. Ibrahimovic tried to win a penalty for his team moments later with a blatant dive, but the referee was having none of it.

The league leaders were looking increasingly desperate and frustrated and to make things worse, Ibrahimovc was sent off in the 73rd minute for a needless foul.

Susbtitute Cassano had the final say, however, as he netted the equaliser in the 82nd minute.

Following today’s result, AC Milan are still first in the standings with 61 points, while Bari are rock bottom of Serie A on 17 points, nine adrift of Brescia.

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Tottenham Hotspur 0 AC Milan 0

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Guts brought the glory. One of the greatest evenings in the long history of Tottenham Hotspur saw a performance not rooted in traditional crowd-pleasing flair but in resilience, in a determination to resist AC Milan’s constant attacks.
Spurs protected the goal Peter Crouch scored in the San Siro with their lives, defending with resolve and intelligence to survive an often nervy 90 minutes.
Even when Pato began to test the strength of their back-line, Spurs stood firm. Even when Alexander Merkel came on to remind Europe of his rich potential, Tottenham refused to yield.
When Milan did manage to get past the indefatigable Sandro, a marvellous resistance movement in midfield, they ran into the indomitable Michael Dawson and William Gallas. They ran into a human wall that would not be moved.
Make no mistake; this was a fierce examination of Spurs’ qualities. This was a Milan far removed from the static, unimaginative, fractious first-leg hosts. This was a Milan who remembered their heritage, who played with belief and adventure, particularly when the ball was at the clever feet of Pato.

There was more vim in Milan’s movement, more belief. Clarence Seedorf, who looked 50 in the San Siro, looked 20 here and bossed midfield for long periods.
Still Spurs would not wilt. A team that has scored 25 goals in its previous nine European games this season can never be accused of being negative; last night simply showed their other traits, their mettle, their togetherness.
Never can a stalemate here have been so rapturously celebrated. This was Spurs in dream-land, in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
As the players swapped shirts, respect etched in every handshake, tens of thousands of fans with cockerels on their chests crowed: “Are you watching, Arsenal?” Probably not. Too painful. Particularly with Gallas so prominent.
As Arsenal deal with the toxic fall-out from their meltdown by the Med, Spurs took a stride closer to the Wembley final.
Nobody can begrudge them their progress. Winning at San Siro, a deserved victory, was an impressive feat. Winning through to the last eight with their best player, Gareth Bale, on the pitch for only 24 minutes was a reminder of their strength of resources in personality and personnel.
If the praise for this will be spread amongst Redknapp and his players, and the chairman Daniel Levy in bankrolling the building of such a strong squad, then Tottenham fans should also take a bow.
For with 10 minutes remaining, and with Milan waxing and Spurs waning, the home supporters lifted Redknapp’s tiring players with a rousing rendition of “Come On You Spurs”. It was sung with a visceral intensity, a deep belief that their team could come through this late Milan storm.
The players responded to the exhortations. Benoit Assou-Ekotto put in an immense tackle on Pato. Dawson continued to relish his duel with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Sandro nicked the ball and triggered quick little counters. Vedran Corluka looked exhausted, yet he rallied, lifted by the supporters.
As team and terraces combined, Tottenham’s manager looked on proudly. This European odyssey really is an astonishing achievement by Redknapp, a journey into the Champions League unknown that has brought the best out of him and his players.
Talk about a rollercoaster. Spurs have been 3-0 down to Young Boys Berne and 4-0 down to Inter Milan yet here they are, the first Premier League side into the last eight. Tottenham’s hunger for Europe is unmistakable.
On a very special night at the Lane, the noise was deafening from the first whistle, slipping into brief lulls as nerves bit deep, but still the support was strong. Invective filled the air at times, particularly when the ball was close to Mathieu Flamini, who felt Spurs’ wrath for his Arsenal connections and for almost snapping Corluka in two at the San Siro.
The scale of Spurs’ evening work was soon evident. Flamini, Seedorf and Kevin-Prince Boateng patrolled midfield, cramping Rafael van der Vaart’s style. Upfront, Milan’s three attackers, Robinho and Pato nimbly supporting Ibrahimovic, began to live up to their famous names.
And so it began, part siege, part carnival. When Robinho fell under Assou-Ekotto’s challenge, far too easily for local tastes, Sandro reacted sharply to clear Pato’s poor free-kick. Then Ibrahimovic unleashed a 35-yard free-kick, demanding a save at full stretch from Gomes.
Spurs were under sustained pressure, Sandro fighting fires in the centre. Spurs willingly sustained pain in pursuit of the ball, Gallas accidentally caught in the head by Ibrahimovic’s boot.
Still the visitors flowed forward, streaks of red and black across the green of White Hart Lane. Robinho darted down the right, slipping the ball in to Pato, whose shot was blocked by Dawson.
When Pato then dribbled down the inside-left channel, Gomes ran out, Brazil versus Brazil. Pato won, leaving his compatriot on the deck with the goal vulnerable.
Pato cut the ball back to another Brazilian, Robinho, whose shot caught Assou-Ekotto and dropped goalwards only for Gallas to clear from under the bar.
Opportunity did knock for Spurs, albeit quietly. Van der Vaart enjoyed their best two chances of the half, a free-kick that flew just over and then a low drive that thudded into Christian Abbiati’s midriff.
Milan also had a marvellous chance, the ball shifting between Robinho and Ibrahimovic before Pato almost beat Gomes.
Spurs began the second half in far more assertive fashion. Aaron Lennon was quick to show, lifting spirits and crosses. Lennon’s threat was now obvious, soon confirmed when poleaxed by Marek Jankulovski. Flamini then caught Assou-Ekotto, triggering much glee when he was booked.
The tension was unremitting. Robinho, Pato and Robinho again tested Gomes in a mad scramble. Then the Cardiff cavalry arrived, Bale greeted with a huge cheer by the Spurs fans and with a late challenge from Flamini.
With 14 minutes left, Merkel also came on, linking well with Pato, whose shot found the side-netting. As the last few minutes seemed reluctant to go, some Spurs supporters almost could not bear to watch. But they could sing.
And then came the chant, sweeping Spurs on a tide of emotion into the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Great night.

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Juventus 0-1 AC Milan: Gattuso strikes secures perfect preparation for Tottenham showdown

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goal.com
AC Milan extended their lead at the top of Serie A to eight points with an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Juventus.
Gennaro Gattuso scored the only goal after 68 minutes to give Massimiliano Allegri’s men a vital three points in their pursuit of the Serie A title. For Luigi Del Neri, pressure continues to mount on the Juventus manager as his side fail to maintain a challenge on the European places.

The visitors had the first chance inside five minutes when Mathieu Flamini sent in a cross toward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede, who had been lurking at the back-post, could only fire his volley over from just four yards out.

Juventus began to dominate the early passages of play, with Milos Krasic seeing a lot of the ball. The Serbian playmaker created from some promising positions, but Del Neri’s never truly troubled Christian Abbiati.

AC Milan fashioned an opening in the 21st minute when Antonio Cassano found room inside the area. The striker managed to get the ball onto his left foot before he skied his shot over the bar.

Krasic lead the charge soon after bringing the ball away from deep in Juve’s half. He skipped past three players before laying off to Alessandro Matri, but the striker was indecisive, which allowed AC Milan to clear the danger.

The visitors began to control the game and Ibrahimovic was a whisker away of finding himself clean through. The Swede moved towards goal but a fine challenge from Giorgio Chiellini took the ball away from the striker.

Allegri introduced Robinho at half-time in the hope of breaking through Juventus’ defence and the Brazilian added early urgency into AC Milan’s play.

Gianluigi Buffon was called into action early in the second half when he had to scramble across to palm Ibrahimovic’s devilish free-kick away to safety.

The Italian stopper failed to keep out the visitors for much longer, however. Gattuso controlled Robinho’s flicked pass and fired a weak shot which Buffon calamitously let slip.

The game lacked any substantial chances after the goal and Juventus failed to improve after Del Neri brought on Vicenzo Iaquinta for the ineffective Luca Toni.

AC Milan will take encouragement from their resolute defensive display as they now prepare for their Champions League second-leg clash against Tottenham next Wednesday. Allegri’s men have to overhaul a one-goal defecit but with Ibrahimovic and Robinho looking bright, the Italian outfit will be confident ahead of the game at White Hart Lane.

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Milan 3-0 Napoli

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Massimiliano Allegri’s men took an important step toward the Scudetto as they convincingly overcame Napoli in a Scudetto showdown at the Giuseppe Meazza. After a relatively quiet first half the Rossoneri exploded after the break and marched to an impressive 3-0 win, courtesy of a penalty by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Alexandre Pato.

Milan started the game brightly, pressuring the opposition all over the pitch. Ibrahimovic was the first to try his luck as he sent a weak shot at Napoli’s goal in the 11th minute after being picked out by Mark Van Bommel.

The Rossoneri allowed the Partenopei very little time on the ball and as a result Walter Mazzarri’s men were struggling to create chances. Gennaro Gattuso had a powerful shot fly over the bar in the 23rd minute as the hosts were beginning to tighten the grip.

Near the half hour Mark van Bommel nearly gave Milan the lead, but saw his finish from inside the box blocked by Salvatore Aronica. The Rossoneri continued to press, but were unable to find the opening goal before half-time.

Milan continued to be the better team after the break and were soon given the chance to score first as Aronica handballed in the penalty area in the 48th minute. Ibrahimovic made no mistake from the spot as he placed a powerful low shot in the lower left corner.

The goal opened the floodgates for Napoli who were struggling to get back into the game after going one down. Morgan De Sanctis barely managed to palm a thunderous shot from Pato in the 57th minute and Mathieu Flamini blasted a long shot well wide.

Substitute Boateng, however was not so forgiving as he superbly beat De Sanctis with a precise left-footed finish in the 77th minute after being picked out by Pato. After this goal Napoli completely crumbled and shortly after conceded a third.

Pato put the icing on the cake three minutes later with a brilliant finish, following a great run through the centre. Milan played out the game comfortably, not allowing their opponents to create anything of note till the final whistle. All in all, Napoli had seven shots at goal, and none were on target.

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15.02.11 Ac Milan – Tottenham

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Prizes come in many forms. Tottenham Hotspur, above all, have a fine prospect of stepping into the last eight of the Champions League following this first-leg result. Beyond that there is the pride in overcoming a club of Milan’s renown, although the current side fell far from the standards once expected of them. The second-half winner from Peter Crouch was merited for Spurs’ showing over the span of the night.

Milan took it so badly that the midfielder Gennaro Gattuso seemed to butt the Tottenham coach Joe Jordan at full-time. There was real harm done earlier, however, by a terrible two-foot challenge from Mathieu Flamini that ended Vedran Corluka’s night. He had done much to bring vitality to Tottenham’s play by cutting loose on the right when the contest wasstill taking shape. The referee, Stéphane Lannoy,somehow saw fit merely to book Flamini.

Even with Corluka hurt so severely, there was cause for Tottenham to be encouraged as Jonathan Woodgate emerged to make his first appearance in a competitive game since injuries engulfed him last, in November 2009. Milan were right to be wary of a team on the rise who are seeing events run to their benefit. Nobody missed even the injured Gareth Bale, who had notched a hat-trick at this ground against Internazionale in October.

The Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri understood the risk he faced and was conservative in putting the Brazilian forward Pato initially among the substitutes. His strategies still malfunctioned as Clarence Seedorf, now 34, looked too venerable for attacking midfield duties and he was necessarily substituted. Tottenham had swagger and also a blend of talents, with Sandro and Wilson Palacios adding a crucial solidity to the midfield.

Luka Modric, a couple of weeks after having his appendix removed, came off the bench eventually, but the initial line-up probably suited Tottenham for this type of encounter.

They looked settled from the outset. Crouch could not make much of Corluka’s cross in the fifth minute, but he settled the outcome eventually. The winner was slick as Aaron Lennon went past Mario Yepes to set up the goal.

Milan were off-balance throughout and had distractions such as the loss of the goalkeeper Christian Abbiati after he seemed to hurt his head while challenged by Crouch for a cross. Half an hour passed without his Spurs counterpart Heurelho Gomes being involved in a notable way.

The one frisson of alarm had come when Sandro felled Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 23rd minute, but the contact was just outside the area and the referee saw no offence in any case. The inconspicuous striker did not catch the eye until putting the ball in the net only after shoving Michael Dawson in stoppage time. They did not want to be drawn into an unstable, incident-strewn game. The potential consequences of such an evening had been illustrated in Tottenham’s 4-3 defeat at San Siro in the group stage. It might as well have been Inter who had been beaten that night, however. They took full points from the match, but also carried an inferiority complex with them. Harry Redknapp’s side qualified ahead of them for this phase of the competition.

There is supposed to be a prize for that in the encounter with a club that could only come second in its group. In Milan’s case the situation is more complex since they had been gathering momentum until now in Allegri’s first season. The manager seemed to feel that Tottenham would be toppled eventually in this tie because they are an unbalanced team. There was no indication of that.

Tottenham were still in the ascendant when, four minutes from half-time, the replacement goalkeeper Marco Amelia tipped over an effort from Rafael van der Vaart. As the away side, they had also taken some precautionary measures, but briefly made a greater effort to exploit Milan.

Gomes did well to reach a header by Yepes and put it behind for a corner. Tottenham were under stress and the centre-half Yepes caused alarm more than once with aerial prowess that called for superb reactions and agility from the goalkeeper. Having commanded at times, Redknapp’s men showed they also knew how to cope and eventually to prosper.

The losers were desperate, with Ibrahimovic applying a very obvious shove to Dawson before netting in stoppage time.

There are various punishments ahead for Milan. Some will now see the club’s position at the head of Serie A as an indictment of Italian football. That is too extreme a conclusion to draw from a single evening at San Siro. It is enough to say that Milan fared badly when compelled to meet a keen and rising force such as Tottenham.

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Milan 4-0 Parma

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Milan secured a much needed victory as they overcame a passive Parma side at San Siro on Saturday.

The Rossoneri took the lead after just seven minutes when Clarence Seedorf rounded the goalkeeper to tap home into an empty net. Antonio Cassano scored his first goal for Milan to double the lead after following a fine exchange with Gennaro Gattuso on the edge of the box.

The introduction of Robinho on the hour mark tipped the balance further into the home side’s favour as the Brazilian netted twice within five minutes to seal the points for the Rossoneri.

Milan moved six points clear at the top and the victory was much welcomed following two consecutive draws. With four direct rivals going head to head later this weekend it could prove to be a very important win for the Rossoneri who remain top of the pack after 25 rounds.

The game started at an electric pace with Seedorf testing Antonio Mirante after just 25 seconds with a well placed drive from outside the box.

Milan were in a determined mood and the Dutchman eventually put the Rossoneri ahead when he slipped into the Parma box following Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s clever through pass. Seedorf rounded the ‘keeper to perfection and slotted home for his first goal of the season.

The Rossoneri doubled their lead in spectacular fashion ten minutes later when Cassano played a lovely one-two with Gattuso on the edge of the box. ‘FantAntonio’ was free to pick his spot inside the box and he made no mistake in caressing the ball into the bottom corner.

Parma looked to fight back but seemed a little rushed as they looked to serve Amauri in the forward line. The home side dealt well with the Gialloblu’s attacking threat and the return of Alessandro Nesta certainly paid dividends.

The Rossoneri came out quickly once again after the break but the tempo eventually dropped as the home side started to control possession.

Shortly after the hour mark Robinho sealed the points just minutes after coming off the bench. Cassano’s square pass filtered through the legs of Ibrahimovic to leave the Brazilian with a free shot which he duly slotted under the bottom of Mirante.

Five minutes later the substitute bagged his brace as he slotted home following Cassano’s wonderful through pass. It proved to be a golden introduction for Robinho who put the game beyond the visitors with some deadly finishing.

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