The starting line up was changed once again due to injuries. The game’s start was somewhat promising with good work and action down the left with El Shaarawy and Bonaventura. This was however confined mostly to the left without the threatening the Atalanta goal. The hosts had the better of the ball around and inside Milan’s box aided in part by lacklustre defensive. After a German Denis header had come off the cross bar, Daniele Baselli (oft linked to Milan) headed in from a Maxi Moralez cross to give Atalanta the lead. Milan slowly got more of the ball nearer Atalanta’s goal and on one occasion with Pazzini almost through he was brought down by Andrea Masiello. The forward converted the penalty himself. With The hosts scrambling a second Milan goal soon followed. A nice El Shaarawy pass found its way to Honda, Pazzini collected and his shot was partially blocked and rebounded off the post to Bonaventura. The ex-Atalanta man shot in easily.
In the second the game was more scrappy and of the few notable actions Atalanta came close in the 66th minute but Abbiati did well to intercept a dangerous cross. A cautious substitution followed as Poli came on for El Shaarawy. Bonaventura added his second and Milan’s third after a cross and scramble again had the ball at his feet. Atalanta players were unhappy with the contact made with their goalie Marco Sportiello. Eighteen year olds Davide Calabria and Davide Di Molfetta replaced De Sciglio and Bonaventura respectively late in the game.
Another important summer can now officially begin. Forza Milan.
The match as it happened.
Abbiati, Zaccardo and Pazzini all got somewhat surprising starts, perhaps two were playing their last home games in a Milan shirt. Whatever the true reason seeing Pazzini in a captain’s role and again little sign of youth players – except on the bench – was frustrating to some fans. The visitors had the early edge in play but Milan opened the score. Zaccardo’s accurate cross found El Shaarawy in the top of box, the latter took the ball well, turned and beat Daniele Padelli in Torino’s goal. The half prodded along with little danger, El Shaarawy shot a half chance wide and Torino ran and threatened a few times. There was to be more drama however, not long before the half Zaccardo was sent off for putting a foot in on the edge of the box and bringing down the on rushing Cristian Molinaro. Whether or not that red was merited was debatable but just moments before it in the same sequence of play Amauri was offside.
Torino players Offside In the Leadup to Zaccardo’s Red
Pippo Inzaghi was expelled and banished to the stands and Mexes came on for Alex to start the second. An early free kick wasn’t far from producing a second but it was diverted out for a corner. An improved start to the second paid dividends, Pazzini and van Ginkel were involved in a nice one two and the Dutch was brought down clumsily. The aforementioned was Molinaro was red carded and Pazzini converted the penalty. Honda seemed more comfortable in a more central attacking role. Another nice one two this time between van Ginkel and El Shaarawy lead to Milan’s third. The ball was moving better than any time in recent games. Zapata replaced El Shaarawy soon after. A beaming Alessandro Mastalli – 19 year old primavera player – replaced Poli a few minutes later. Abbiati’s stretched leg denied Omar El Kaddouri a goal. The game finished with a welcome clean sheet.
Stephan El Shaarawy made a return to the bench. Bonera started in place of Antonelli. The game proved entertaining if not a happy one for Milan. Juventus owned Domenico Berardi followed up his 4 goal performance against Milan last season by scoring a hattrick in this game. Berardi’s first was a speculative dropping shot which was uncharacteristically dropped by Lopez, the goal was given although it seemed that the ball did not fully cross the line. The goal line referee may have wrong in this case. For the second Berardi may have been just offside when he took on the ball near the half way line and finished a solo effort. The young Italian’s third however was the end result of good passing and movement. Milan’s first was scored after good individual work by Bonaventura who then finished into the far corner. Alex headed in Milan’s second after a corner and cross. The Sassuolo players were unhappy and claimed that the Brazilian had bumped into Andrea Consigli in the Sassuolo goal. Milan finished the game with 9 men after Bonaventura received two yellows and Suso – on for Abate at half time – a red late. Pippo Inzaghi will have selection problems for the game vs Torino on the 37th matchday.
For more about the game as it happened click here.
Antonelli made a welcome return to the starting lineup, otherwise the line up was predictable with Menez still serving his suspension. Suso made it to the bench with a trio of primavera players – Mastalli (36), Felicioli (37), Modic (42) – available as well. Honda seemed an improved player in the first half, his run down the right provided the assist for van Ginkel’s goal from close range. Roma continued to be a different, much poorer version of their first half of the season.
The second half’s start was mostly uneventful and slow. But it was Milan who doubled their lead with another Honda cross this time finding Destro. The Roma loanee jumped and leaned on the defender to head the ball in. Roma’s defence wasn’t distinguishing itself. Moments later a cross was a bit too far for a stretched Poli, it fell to Bonavetura’s feet, he somehow too easily beat the Roma defender but shot wide. Poli was screaming to have the ball back but Bonaventura didn’t see or use him. Later a Seydou Doumbia shot injured Antonelli and he was replaced by Bocchetti. Francesco Totti replaced Miralem Pjanic for Roma’s final sub – after earlier subs of Juan Manuel Iturbe for Victor Ibarbo and Adem Ljajic for Gervinho in the first half. The controversial moment of the match arrived in the 72nd minute when Iturbe was seemingly brought down in the box. Replays showed minimum contact with Alex and the referee himself took his time to point to the spot. Totti barely beat Lopez to get his team on the scoresheet and Alex was given a yellow and would miss the week 36 Sassuolo game. Pazzini replaced Destro and had a half chance soon after. Roma seemed to be getting into the match, testing the Milan defense deep for some nervy occasions. Mexes replaced the apparently injured Alex for the third and final sub. Just before the end Pippo was ejected from the sideline and Milan had done enough to overcome the Roma team in the midst of an extended collapse.
The match as it happened.
Abate and Mexes were suspended after accumulating yellow cards. Menez was also suspended for his two yellow in the match against Genoa, but for four games total! Additionally all of Rami, Antonelli, Suso, El Shaarawy, Montolivo and Essien remained unavailable. Therefore the starting line was yet again different with Bocchetti getting a game. Nigel de Jong was the captain. The start was another reminder of the disastrous season as De Sciglio was red carded and penalty given. Diego Lopez saved from Gonzalo Higuain to save the team once more. Not many chances in the first half and Napoli only dominated in possession but did little else, Bonaventura had a half chance header in the 39th minute and Napoli made several speculative passes into Milan’s box with little end product. The first half ended with a small sign of how Milan are not managed properly. The referee added one minute, Milan got a throw in and Bocchetti was not even remotely in a hurry to throw the ball back into play before the half runs out.
The second half had Napoli take advantage of the man advantage and spot left empty by De Sciglio’s red but Jose Maria Callejon and his teams mates missed or poorly executed numerous chances. Surprisingly – or perhaps not – it was Napoli who made the fist substitution. Manolo Gabbiadini replaced Jorginho shortly before Pazzini replaced Destro. Minutes later Bonera replaced Bocchetti. Napoli’s possession percentage remained around 77%. Just as it seemed Napoli may never finish a chance Marek Hamsik shot inside the near post and beat a diving Lopez. The flood gates opened, Higuain added a second a bit later and Gabbiadini a third. Poor marking and poor play was always going to collapse sooner or later. In the final minutes Gian Filippo Felicioli (17 year old primavera midfielder) made what is a rare appearance by a youth player replacing Bonaventura. Lopez kept the score 3-0 just before the referee whistled for full time.
For more on the match as it happened click here.