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30 March 2013
• Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
Referee: D. Celi
• Attendance: 20000
R. Montolivo 25'
We hope that you have enjoyed Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Milan's narrow 1-0 away win over Chievo. A solitary first-half goal from Ricardo Montolivo was enough for the visitors. I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope that I will see you all next time!
Those three points propel Milan into second place for the time being, but whether they stay there is another matter altogether. Napoli face Torino, and the outcome of that match will be the deciding factor into whether Allegri's men remain below Juventus.
There's the full time whistle! Milan have done it, they've secured a hard fought away point in terrible conditions, and the whole team look delighted! Chievo will be disappointed, but the Milan win was the fair result. Balotelli and Co. created far more than the hosts.
90' + 2'
Balotelli is brought down as he drove towards goal, and Milan are presented with an opportunity to shoot - but they instead take it short! Balotelli takes the ball into the corner, in the hope of running the clock down.
90' + 1'
Ooh, good play from Luciano! The Brazilian ghosts down the left, before setting Drame up for a cross, but Bonera manages to divert the cross away from danger!
Milan are again attempting to run down the clock with slow and controlled build up play. It looks as though the visitors are going to leave Verona with all three points, but on such a terrible pitch, you never know what could happen in the later stages.
OOOH! CLOSE! A teasing ball is angled towards the back post by Thereau, but neither Pellissier or Drame can capitalise! The latter fires agonizingly wide!
Milan are content to stroke the ball around their back four, they've really taken their foot off the gas. It seems that Balotelli might have dropped a little bit deeper, allowing Niang to act as a lone striker.
Good defending from Luciano! El Shaarawy beats his man, before cutting inside in search of an opportunity to strike the ball with his right foot, but the Brazilian tracked him all the way and put in a foot.
The pace of the game has slowed somewhat, with Chievo tiring on a heavy pitch minus one of their defenders. Niang is thrown into the fray by Allegri, he'll certainly inject some pace.
Drame is really, really determined to finish this game. He's running with his one arm tucked into his chest, in the hope that the ball won't be struck against it. As Chievo have used all of their substitutes and are already down to ten men, he can't really go off!
Oh dear, what a waste! Muntari attempts a long-range effort whilst unbalanced, and fires horrifically wide! Drame is attempting to continue despite an arm injury.
BALOTELLI! From the free-kick which he won, the Italian striker whips in a curling ball, aiming for the the near post, but Puggioni beats it away for a corner! From the resulting set piece, nothing comes to fruition.
Yellow/Red Dario Dainelli
RED CARD! Dainelli is given his marching orders for a second yellow card, for bringing down Balotelli as he burst towards the 18-yard box! That was the right decision by the referee, and it looks as though Chievo have got a battle on their hands now!
Drame appears to have had a flare-up of his injury from the first half. After delivering a cross, the Senegalese player has pulled up holding his wrist and appears to be in some pain. I doubt that he'll continue, he looks as though he needs a sling!
PALOSCHI! The lone striker is found by a good cross, but Bonera managed to pressurise the striker well and nods the ball clear of danger!
CHANCE! Ambrosini is found out of his comfort zone and in loads of space at the edge of the 18-yard box, lines up to shoot, but is beaten to the ball by Puggioni! That was a golden opportunity!
Chance for El Shaarawy, the youngster brings a lofted pass down wonderfully, before beating his marker for pace to the byline. He cuts the ball back, looking for his strike partner, but a Chievo defender blocks!
Things have gotten a bit sloppy from the home side, as their long balls are failing to stick, and the likes of Muntari in the Milan midfield are really taking the game to Chievo. This has been a very combative second half, and the visitors are more motivated to battle at the moment.
Yellow Card Marco Andreolli
Andreolli picks up a yellow card, after desperately clinging onto Balotelli as the Milan striker beat him for pace. The defender complains, but that's an obviously cynical foul.
OOOH! LUCIANO! The substitute turns smartly before smashing a fierce driving at goal! Abbiati is at his acrobatic best to turn the vicious effort over his crossbar! Good save!
OOOH! ROBINHO! After a great interception from Muntari, the Ghanian feeds Montolivo, who turns Rigoni brilliantly before playing an inch-perfect channel ball into the path of Robinho. The Brazilian breaks into the area, but fires his effort straight at the onrushing Puggioni! Close!
Frustrations are starting to rise for the home side, as they feel as though the referee is making some harsh decisions. Cesar is leading the complaints, as is to be expected.
Nicolas Sebastien Frey
Yellow Card Bostjan Cesar
Puggioni pushes away yet another Balotelli free-kick, I can't even remember how many times I've typed this. He really isn't getting any more confident, he's keen to push the ball anywhere but into his own net.
Cesar picks up a yellow card, as he blocks off Balotelli quite blatantly. The Milan striker has beaten the Slovenian easily, but he wasn't prepared to allow his adversary to pass. His cynical foul wins him a yellow card.
Muntari spreads play well, allowing Abate to burst free down the right, before crossing in search of Balotelli. Dainelli manages to head the ball clear, and importantly so, as Montolivo was lying in wait.
Despite Milan being in an advanced position with plenty of red and black shirts in the box, De Sciglio chooses to put the ball out to allow Frey to receive treatment - the Frenchman seemed to be caught by the young Milan full-back.
Milan are happy to retain possession, they're looking fairly assured, which is a good sign for their travelling fans. I'm not too sure of whether Robinho is benefiting from his central role however, he might be a little more comfortable in the wider areas.
Good work from Frey almost created a great opportunity. The wing-back played an intelligent ball into the channel for Thereau, but his pass was slightly heavy and allowed Abbiati to rush out and smother it.
Mexes gives away a needless free-kick, which Chievo nearly capitalise on! The ball is floated into the no man's land between the Milan defence and Abbiati, and Andreaolli almost gets on the end of the delivery to nod the ball home! A relieved Abbiati collects.
MUNTARI! CLOSE! The Ghanaian looks as though he's going to spread the ball wide to De Sciglio, but instead fires a powerful effort at goal! Puggioni lets the ball go wide of the post, but that wasn't too far away.
BALOTELLI! The Milan striker gets another long-range free kick, and Puggioni once again makes a total meal of it! The Chievo keeper beats it around the post with uncertainty!
Yellow Card Isaac Cofie
Thereau lines up a free-kick from 30 yards, as a result of the Bonera foul, but fires his effort into the wall! The ball eventually is cleared out for a corner kick, but the delivery is awful and the referee calls time at the end of the first half.
De Sciglio is fouled, as Andreolli bumps into the youngster. Montolivo lines up the free-kick this time, with Balotelli going into the box. The ball is whipped in, but Puggioni claims at the first time of asking! I'm almost used to seeing him dropping it!
Oh dear, that is a horrific challenge from Bonera! Paloschi attempted to flick a ball on with his head, but was kicked in the face by Bonera - I have no idea why his studs were so high! Paloschi is okay though, somehow.
Great driving play from Drame brings Chievo forward, before the Senegalese man spreads the play wide to Frey on the right. The Frenchman attempts a cross, but it is cut out by the first man!
El Shaarawy starts the second half brightly, driving at the Chievo defence after cutting in from the left. Just as he looks up to set his sights for a shot, Cesar steps in and dispossesses the youngster.
Guana makes a great challenge to deny Abate an opportunity to cross the ball, but receives a couple of studs to his upper body for his trouble! Abate looked to stand on the Chievo midfielder, although I'm not too sure that he meant to do so!
And we are back underway in a very, very damp Stadio Bentegodi! Can Milan continue their free-kick bombardment of Puggioni's goal in the second half, or will the home side be able to exploit Abbiati's thus far questionable handling?
Puggioni will be begging his defenders to not give away any free-kicks in their own half during the second half, as I'm not sure how many more Balotelli deliveries the Chievo stopper can take!
So, Ricardo Montolivo's goal is the only thing separating the two sides at the break. Chievo may feel as though they don't deserve to be behind, but Balotelli's free-kick have been wreaking havoc on Puggioni and the Chievo defence!
This has been a promising half for Milan, Abbiati hasn't been particularly worked, and Puggioni has had a torrid first 45 minutes!
BALOTELLI! A good strike finds its way to the Chievo goal at some speed, but Puggioni punches it away to his left! That was literally straight at the Chievo goalkeeper, he didn't even need to move, but he still chose to punch it to safety due to the sheer speed of the ball!
Robinho drives at the Chievo defence, and picks up another free-kick for his side, which will inevitably be given to Balotelli once again. I think that Puggioni is probably getting a bit sick of this, he knows what's coming!
OOH! Balotelli causes trouble again! Puggioni is really struggling to deal with these long-range free-kicks, he's parrying them out into all sorts of dangerous areas!
The Chievo midfielder has returned to the field, but is moving a little bit gingerly. At first, it seemed as though he may have dislocated something, but he looks fine to carry on.
Drame is down injured, and looks in a lot on pain, after landing awkwardly on his front. He looks to be holding his arm, as the physios give him the once-over. I would guess that he'll try to come back on, but he looks as though he can't straighten his arm out properly.
Milan are firmly in control of this game, keeping the majority of the ball, but Chievo remain dangerous on the break. Theraeu does look quite neat with the ball at his feet, which might be something that can trouble the likes of Bonera.
OOH! Now Puggioni spills again! Another long-range Balotelli free-kick wriggles out of the Chievo keeper's grasp once again, but managed to pounce on the ball despite a host of Milan players charging towards the loose ball!
Yellow Card Dario Dainelli
Oh dear, that was reckless! Dainelli has just absolutely taken out Balotelli! He got the ball, but he came through the back of the Milan striker a little bit - but feels aggrieved as he did get a firm foot on the ball.
Good work from Thereau wins a corner off the shins of Montolivo. The delivery is floating towards the back post, and Cesar gets up well to meet it with his head, but can't direct it goalwards!
OOH! A decent cross from Thereau is again spilled by Abbiati! It wasn't particularly powerful, but the Milan keeper drops the ball with Paloschi lurking yet again. He's lucky to not have been pulled up for these errors!
El Shaarawy is released down the left flank, before setting the ball back to De Sciglio. The young full back whips a ball towards Montolivo at the back post, but the goalscorer decides not to hit the ball on the volley, and miscontrols instead! That was disappointing from the midfielder!
Abate is down and in some discomfort, after being clipped whilst running at full speed. Although he received treatment for a minute or so, he's raring to get back onto the pitch.
Yellow Card Boukary Dramé
The lead might be slightly undeserved, as neither side have really created any great chances, but Allegri and his players won't mind! Puggioini will certainly feel guilty about that goal.. he should have beaten Balotelli's free-kick away from the danger area.
Goal Riccardo Montolivo
GOOOOAL! MONTOLIVO STABS HOME THE REBOUND! Balotelli steps up to take the free-kick which he won, which takes a deflection, cannons off Puggioni, before Montolivo tore into the six yard box to tap the ball home!
Balotelli is down injured, after clashing with Cesar in an off-the-ball incident and the referee has awarded a free-kick. The Slovenian barged the young striker, and was penalised for his troubles.
OOH! Thereau goes close! Drame battles his way to the byline under pressure from Abate, cutting the ball back inside to the Frenchman, who can only attempt a weak effort at Abbiati's near post! The Milan keeper gathers the ball up easily, Thereau probably should have done better there!
Good play from Mexes, the Frenchman just made a vital interception! Rigoni used a clever backheel to wrongfoot Ambrosini, and just as the Chievo man looked to thread a difficult ball through to Paloschi, Mexes read the danger and intercepted the pass.
Great hold-up play from Balotelli! The imposing striker controlled the ball nicely with his chest, before deftly lifting the ball over Cesar to Robinho with a delicate scoop. Robinho is offside, however - he hasn't had a great start to the game.
RIGONI! The captain has a long range strike, but it balloons wildly over the bar with Abbiati untroubled. Things have gotten a little bit sloppy for Milan during the past five minutes.
Yellow Card Mario Balotelli
Great challenge from Ambrosini! The veteran chases back to dispossess Thereau in a dangerous area, after some slick Chievo interplay!
Robinho is leaving the field after receiving treatment, as he looked to be caught whilst beating his man in the centre of midfield. He will be okay to continue, he's running up and down the line whilst waiting to return to the pitch.
OOOH! Abbiati almost makes a fatal error! The keeper managed to claim a deflected Thereau cross at the second attempt! Paloschi was lurking, and would've capitalised but for Abbiati's quick recovery!
BALOTELLI! Robinho makes an interception in the centre of midfield, laying the ball off to Balotelli. The former Man City man takes a touch before attempting a strike from around 30 yards, but sees his effort blocked!
Paloschi is set on his way by a long ball, outmuscling Bonera to win a throw-in in an advanced position. Nothing comes of it however, and Milan go back on the offensive. The home side have struggled to make their balls forward stick, so far.
OOH! CLOSE! Balotelli sets the ball back to Muntari, who strikes towards goal from about 20 yards out! A wall of yellow Chievo defenders stands in his way, and divert the ball out for a corner!
Balotelli thinks that he is through on goal, after a header from Muntari bounces its way through the Chievo defence, but the linesman has his flag up for offside!
Neither side have created any clear cut chances as of yet, but Milan do look much more dangerous when they have possession of the ball. With Balotelli and El Shaarawy in good form this season, the visitors might be slightly more preferred for a win tonight.
Montolivo has just made his way through one of the puddles whilst in possession of the ball, and the mire is really affecting the run of the ball - hopefully these areas of the pitch don't have too much of an affect on the game in its entirety.
Ooh! Great play again by Abate! The Milan right-back has acres of free space to run into down the flank, and is making the most of it. He aimed an early cross towards Balotelli again, but Cesar managed to head the ball away.
The pitch here tonight is terrible. There are several large puddles of excess water in the Milan half, and the Chievo goal area is more sand than grass!
Oooh! A chance within the opening minute! Balotelli attempted an overhead kick, but instead caught Cesar in the midriff! Great work from Abate down the right.
And we are underway! Can Mario Balotelli continue his impressive scoring record, or can Chievo carry on from their impressive victories over Pescara and Napoli?
Former Milan defender Francesco Acerbi makes the bench for the home side. Mahamadou Niang is on the bench for Milan, as Robinho starts in what looks to be a forward three for the visitors.
Milan starting line-up: Abbiati, Abate, Bonera, Mexes, De Sciglio, Montolivo, Ambrosini, Muntari, Robinho, Balotelli, El Shaarawy.
Chievo starting line-up: Puggioni, Frey, Andreolli, Dainelli, Cesar, Drame, Guana, Rigoni, Cofie, Thereau, Paloschi.
This should be an interesting affair, as Chievo are currently on a three match winning streak, while Milan have picked up four wins out of their last five games - that only loss being at the hands of Barcelona.
I'm Simon Harrison, I will be keeping you all well informed with this Serie A clash, as Milan attempt to keep pace with Napoli - who are also playing tonight against Torino.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of one of Serie A's evening kick-offs, as Chievo host Milan - with Allegri's men vying for second place in the table.
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