zondag 25 maart 2012

Serie A Reports

AC Milan 2-1 Roma
Ibrahimovic brace saves Rossoneri as Thiago Silva suffers injury
Massimiliano Allegri's team were given a run for their money, but their star striker once again delivered a world-class performance to secure the three points


AC Milan made an important step towards defending their Serie A crown as they came back from a goal down to secure a 2-1 win over Roma at San Siro on Saturday.

Pablo Osvaldo opened the scoring in the first half, but the Rossonerri responded with a brace by Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the break as Massimiliano Allegri's team bagged three important points.

AC Milan started the game brightly, dominating possession and pressing the opposition deep in their own half. Urby Emanuelson was the first to threaten Maarten Stekelenburg's goal as in the 8th minute he saw a low shot from the right wing saved by the Netherlands international.

The Rossoneri received some disturbing news as in the 10th minute Thiago Silva was forced to leave the pitch after suffering a muscle injury. This did not stop AC Milan's attacking momentum, however, as Massimiliano Allegri's men were dominating the proceeding.

Ibrahimovic forced Stekelenburg into a fine save in the 11th minute with a powerful free-kick and moments later Stephan El Shaarawy narrowly missed to the left with a skillful volley from inside the penalty area.

The tempo dropped in the following minutes as most of the action commenced in the centre of the pitch. Roma, however, were slowly improving and looked more threatening on the counter by the minute.

In the 40th minute El Shaarawy rattled the post with a superb finish from outside the box, and the rebound fell to Antonio Nocernio, who failed to connect properly with the ball and convert. AC Milan were tightening the grip on Roma, but against the run of play the Giallorossi took the lead.

A long-range strike by Daniele De Rossi was deflected by Osvaldo into the net from just outside the six-yard box as Christian Abbiati was caught by surprise in the 44th minute. The goal meant the Rossoneri had to withdrew at half-time with a one-goal deficit, much to the dismay of the fans and players alike.

The restart saw Roma continue to take advantage of mistakes by AC Milan in the build-up of their attack. In one such instance, Abbiati gifted the ball to Francesco Totti with a stray pass, but luckily for the goalkeeper the Roma veteran could not find the target with his chipped finish.

El Shaarawy saw a powerful shot blocked in the following attack, but the real trouble for the Giallorossi was yet to come. In the 51st minute De Rossi handballed in the box, conceding a penalty, which Ibrahimovic duly converted to draw the game level.

AC Milan continued to press forward in remaining time to the final whistle, but were repeatedly frustrated in their search for a winner. Sulley Muntary struck the bar with a powerful finish, but it was Ibrahimovic who bagged the winner as in the 83rd minute he powered past Stekelenburg and Simon Kjaer to complete his brace and secure the three points.

Following today win, AC Milan are first in the standings with 63 points, while Roma sit sixth with 45. The Rossoneri's next league game is a visit to Catania in a week, while the Giallorossi host Novara the following day.

Juventus 2-0 Inter
Caceres and Del Piero settle Derby d'Italia and close gap to leaders AC Milan back to four points
Goals from the Uruguayan and the Italian veteran after half-time were enough to give the Bianconeri all three points, in what was a captivating encounter in Turin


Second-half goals from Martin Caceres and Alessandro Del Piero were enough to give Juventus a 2-0 win over Inter at Juventus Stadium on Sunday.
A header from the Uruguayan defender and a delightful first time finish by the veteran Italian striker gave the Old Lady a valuable win in their hunt to chase down leaders AC Milan at the top of the Serie A table.

With Juventus fresh off the back of that Coppa Italia semi-final aggregate win over Milan on Tuesday, it was clear that Antonio Conte's men were brimming with confidence, and they started the game as such.
The Bianconeri dominated possession in the early exchanges, but were nearly made to rue their lack of chances created on 13 minutes. Maicon made a trademark run down the right, cut inside, found the run of Diego Milito, and played the Argentine forward in on goal. Unfortunately for the Nerazzurri though, the former Genoa striker couldn't make the most of the opportunity, firing his shot straight at Gianluigi Buffon.
Conte's men still had the monopoly on possession, but were now starting to create chances on goal, and they perhaps should have opened up their account on two occasions midway through the half. First, Alessandro Matri had a header from eight yards saved by Julio Cesar, and then just a few minutes later, a low cross from the right found Matri again, but the Italian forward could only hit his shot over the bar.
Claudio Ranieri's side slowly started to impose themselves on the game; putting pressure on Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal. And it was that leg-work that almost led to Inter opening their account for the night.
Dejan Stankovic dispossessed Marchisio in the centre circle, and played a long, diagonal ball to Milito. The Argentine forward brought the ball down superbly, took it into the box, and fired a shot straight at Buffon, only for the ball to arrive back at his feet for a second attempt. Regrettably for the Nerazzurri though, that effort was also missed, and the sides went into the break all square.
The second half began in almost the exact opposite way to the first, with Inter controlling the play but struggling to create any clear-cut chances. Milito was, as usual, full of running, but the Nerazzurri midfield four were finding it difficult to pick out the Argentine forward's darting runs.
That lack of incisiveness came back to haunt Inter on 57 minutes. A corner from the right was whipped in by Pirlo, and the ball found Caceres, who, unmarked inside the six yard box, headed home easily for his first Serie A goal of the season.
The Nerazzurri starting pushing desperately for an equaliser, but all that pressing left them exposed at the back, and Juventus took full advantage on 70 minutes. A delightful through ball by Vidal found the run of Del Piero, who, just inside the area, gently slipped it past the on-rushing Julio Cesar to make it 2-0.
Late chances for Fabio Quagliarella and Giorgio Chiellini almost made the final scoreline even more resounding, but Conte's men had to settle what they had, as they closed the gap on leaders Milan back to four points. Inter remain in eighth, meanwhile, and now trail third-placed Lazio by 10 points.


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