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18 January 2012
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: A. Giannoccaro
• Attendance: 1920
120' + 2'
The game is over! AC Milan overcame Novara after extra time to secure a game against Lazio in the next round of Coppa Italia. El Shaarawy opened the scoring in the first half, but Radovanic scored in the final minutes to take the game to added time. Pato popped in with the winner, however, to end Novara's dreams in the tournament. Stay with us for our post-match materials, and do not forget to join us at the weekend for our coverage of Serie A! Bye, for now!
ROBINHO! The attacker receives the ball outside the box, takes a few steps and then blasts a for the top right corner, but it is deflected out for a corner on the right. There will be two minutes of extra time.
MERKEL! The midfielder lets it fly from outside the box, but his powerful low shot misses narrowly to the left! Great game so far by the player, who only yesterday returned to the team!
Novara break free through Jeda on the right side of the box, who whips in a cross, but Mexes makes a vital block, and clears the ball for a corner on the right.
Yellow Card S. García
Now Morganella is penalised for a bad foul on El Shaarawy. Not much time left for Novara to get back into the game!
Yellow Card Michel Morganella
PATO! The Brazilian is released on the left, just outside the box, and pulls the trigger, but his shot misses the target, much to the dismay of the home fans.
Ambrosini is struggling on the ground with an injury after a clash with Jeda on the sidelines.
AC Milan are throwing attack after attack, but Novara are holding out. The visitors does not seem to be interested in getting back in the game.
The second half of extra time begins ...
Yellow Card Alexander Merkel
Merkel is shown the yellow card for shirt pulling on Jeda as the Brazilian tried to power through the former Germany Under-20 youngster.
ROBINHO AGAIN! The striker received the ball outside the box, and powered a super shot for the left corner, which only narrowly missed the target,
Goal Alexandre Pato
BUT HE SOON MAKES AMENDS! GOAL! 2-1! PATO! The Brazilian is released by compatriot Robinho with a lopping pass over Novara's defence, and chips the ball over Fontata before slamming it in the open net.
OH, WHAT A MISS BY PATO! A sublime cross from Abate found Pato all free outside the six-yard box, but the Brazilian was denied by the goalkeeper!
Yellow Card Antonio Nocerino
Nocerino stops a promising Novara counter-attack as he brings down Jeda in the centre of the pitch, and is shown the yellow card as a result. The hosts are now charging forward recklessly.
Or not... Nocerino tries to slip Robinho through but it is well read by Paci!
Yellow Card Ivan Radovanovic
Yellow Card Robinho
Some afters see Ambrosini and Radovanovic have a mini-argument with one another as the Novara midfielder climbs all over Robinho?
And it's extra time at San Siro as Novara's late strike forces the game into two more halves of 15 minutes.. Who will prevail? We shall await the final curtain call!
Milan are firing balls into the box at will, but they can't seem to find a way past Novara's rearguard! Pato has the final kick of the 90 minutes, but his free kick is wayward and extra time looks to be the best bet.
90' + 5'
And the first half of extra time has kicked off! The ball is currently with Amelia, who hits a goal kick.
90' + 4'
More chances for either team! Novara take too long to find a pass on the edge of Milan's box, but it is eventually hacked clear by Mexes. Meanwhile, Pato's cutback goes horribly work despite a promising looking break.
Goal Ivan Radovanovic
Now it's Novara's turn to cause havoc with a free-kick of their own! Radovanovic stands over the ball... AND SCORES WITH A SUPERB LOW STRIKE!!!! Incredibile!!!!!
Pato is given a chance to redeem himself with the set-piece, but his shooting boots clearly aren't on as he floats the ball over Fontana!
Yellow Card Raffaele Rubino
The Novara captain cynically trips up the Italo-Egyptian in his stride and concedes a free kick in a perilous position on the edge of the box!
FANTASTIC FOOTBALL FROM MILAN!! El Shaarawy dinks the ball into the path of Robinho, who beats Novara's high line and proceeds to charge forward and lay off for Pato. However again he hits his attempt wide!
Antonini's deep cross ends in a Novara break! However, once more it ends wasteful. Story of their performance tonight!
Garcia AGAIN finds himself hurt, and it's Emanuelson this time who goes hard into him. Poor guy! Meanwhile the ex-Ajax man's night is over and Robinho replaces him for the last 10 minutes.
The game has slowed down considerably in tempo, as Milan look to see the match out with little hassle. Novara are still fighting like beavers though, but they lack that invaluable bit of quality in the final third!
Fontana is overly enthusiastic with his punch-out for a corner! Despite clearing the ball, he lands on Garcia, who requires treatment to his head, and Ambrosini.
A welcome piece of play from Novara sees Morganella whip a dangerous cross into the box, but Mexes is alert and nods the ball out for a corner! Amelia eventually takes control of the proceeding set-piece, as a shot from a blue shirt on the half volley is weak.
More valiant goalkeeping from Fontana, as he is on his toes to anticipate Merkel's second deflected cross and smother the ball. Meanwhile, Dellafiore finds himself in Milan's half but the attack fizzes away!
Uncertain defending from Nesta, as a through ball seems to have evaded him as the last man, but he clears his lines linely. Meanwhile, Merkel wins a corner for his team after seeing his cross deflected.
Good chance from the hosts as it's Emanuelson again! This time he is found in the box by Pato, who finds the Dutch midfielder with a cutback down the right flank, but his curling shot is well saved by Fontana!
I can safely say it's been all Milan this second half. And as I say that, a rather incredible piece of revenge play sees Garcia almost throttle Merkel to the ground! A free kick for Milan is given... Interestingly, every attack the Rossoneri pursue seems to develop from their pair of full-backs.
Oh Pato! In what seemed like a promising run from the Brazilian, he does everything right, before cutting inside and seeing his poor swipe of the ball roll away for a Novara throw!
Antonini again causes all sorts of problems with another tantalising cross, but Novara manage to neutralise the danger. And now we have Bonera gallopping down the opposing flank, which results in a neat triangle involving Merkel and Pato! It breaks down however.
Emanuelson has shown glimpses of potential in his role of trequartista, with the odd piece of invention, but he almost takes matters into his own hands with a surging run at the Novara defence, but his strike is dragged wide!
Merkel is unnecessarily penalised for going hard into Garcia, despite the makings of a potentially threatening attack via Antonini's cross. Meanwhile Superpippo's night is over, and the polarising Pato is his replacement!
Novara charge on the counter-attack, but it ends with Morganella winning a throw near the corner flag, but upon receiving the ball, he is eventually dispossessed. He has been arguably his team's best attacking outlet!
MERKEL!! The German nearly caps his return with an assist, but Inzaghi cannot beat Fontana from close range who blocks his effort. The ex-Pistoiese 'keeper has been in fine form tonight between the sticks!
Antonini's work rate and attacking instinct cannot be faulted despite his defensive failings, as his persistence to send a ball into the box eventually finds Inzaghi, but he can only kick thin air!
The resulting throw sees Morganella try to slip Morimoto through, but it rolls off for a goal kick. Promising football from Novara once more!
OOOOH! Morimoto nearly latches onto an inch-perfect through ball, but Nesta does brilliantly to read the pass and slide away for a throw-in!
And the second half is underway at San Siro! Straight away Paci's clearance in his own half hits Inzaghi, and he is forced to hack away for a corner!
Welcome back ladies and gentlemen! We're still in the midst of second-half preparations, but the likes of Abate and Robinho look raring to go. Ironically, it's been Inzaghi and El Shaarawy - two of Allegri's less dependable perfomers - that have stole the show tonight!
Antonio Giannoccaro proceeds to blow his whistle to signal half-time at San Siro! Be sure to join me once more in 15 minutes for what should be another great half of calcio. Ciao!
Slightly naughty play from Nocerino, as he shoves a blue shirt over the line and into the advertising boards before trying to claim a corner! Cheeky.
Dangerous times for Milan as Granoche ALMOST gets the better of Nesta from Marianini's low cross, but the Uruguayan forward blazes over. The defender's pressure was enough to put him off in the end!
I may have cursed him however! The Frenchman gives away a foul on the edge of the box against Morimoto who has been very lively up top. Radovanovic's free kick proves futile though.
Mexes is beginning to grow as the match wears on, as he is featured in two important pieces of defending. Firstly, he casually reads a ball originally intended for Granoche prior to initiating El Shaarawy's attack, and then heads out Pesce's cross to a team-mate.
It's been a fantastic first half, with both sides showing great intent to win the encounter. More in the second period per favore!!
WOW!!!! Quick-fire is an understatement as El Shaarawy is suddenly released all on his own down the left, and does superbly well to take his man on and cut into the box, but his shot is JUST ABOUT deflected over the bar by Fontana!
El Shaarawy attempts to recreate his goal, as he proceeds to shot from outside the box, but this time he skews his effort wayward, not to mention high over the bar!
Pesce leaves a trailing leg into Ambrosini, who clearly isn't happy with the challenge! I've lost count of how many niggling fouls have been in this one so far...
Both teams struggle to retain the ball, but all of a sudden Morimoto is released in the final third... only for Nocerino to aptly dispossess him!
NOVARA AGAIN!!! Atilio Tesser will be furious as another great chance is wasted - Marianini's free header in the box only reaches the gloves of Amelia!
It seems Milan have devised a new gameplan; dink the ball at every opportunity for Inzaghi to latch onto! Again he is nearly found, but Fontana rushes out well.
Unbelievable!!! They say you're always most vulnerable after scoring, and it almost seemed that way as straight after, Pesce finds Morimoto, who then slips the ball to Granoche free in the box, but while stretching he cannot quite poke the ball past Amelia! A glorious chance...
Goal Stephan El Shaarawy
UNO ZERO A MILAN!!! It's that man El Shaarawy who seems to have taken my advice on board and what a strike from the starlet! He proceeds to beat a blue shirt for dead, before rifling a shot into the bottom right corner with aplomb from the D. Great goal and a deserved lead for the hosts!
Another piece of attacking play from Milan sees Antonini again gallop down the left flank and whip a ball into the box, but Fontana collects the ball well.
Morganella is again the creator for Novara, as he clips the ball for Morimoto, and then Granoche who tries to hold the ball up for his partner to smash at goal, but it's promptly cleared!
AND NOVARA HIT BACK! Pesce surges through the middle of Milan's midfield and fires a fine attempt from distance at Amelia, forcing the shot stopper to parry the ball wide for a corner!
ANCORA!!! El Sharaawy's cross finds Inzaghi's head, but he cannot quite divert his header at goal as it whistles just wide!
Seems like he's still got it, the timing of his runs are impeccable AND JUST AS I SAY THAT AMBROSINI RELEASES HIM FRESH FROM AN OFFSIDE TRAP! But Fontana is equally impressive to smother the ball.. Exciting stuff at San Siro!
INZAGHIIIIIII!!! Okay not quite... the attacker is found in bundles of space of space in the box, but he does not release the ball quick enough and sees his cross hacked away by Paci!
El Sharaawy needs to show more substance than style in this one. He has been involved in a couple of incidents so far, with an attempt at a Ronaldinho-esque cutback which was read with consumerate ease, and falling too easily to the ground near the away side's box.
Nice, patient build-up play from Milan as they wait for the killer pass to open up, but it ends with Ambrosini conceding a foul. The resulting free kick from deep almost bounces over the hosts' defence, but it is eventually anticipated!
First real chance of the game!! Antonini redeems himself with a fine run and ball into the middle of the box, which El Shaarawy in turn collects and lays off for Inzaghi. The ex-Italy man tries to turn and shoot but he is well man-marked and the attempt is saved by Fontana!
Novara are getting a lot of luck on the right flank so it seems! Again Morganella is allowed a free run against Antonini who is nowhere to be seen, but Morimoto is denied his pass.
Pesce is felled by Ambrosini and Novara are given a free-kick. And they ALMOST make something of it as Morganella links up well with Morimoto down the right flank, but the Japanese forward cannot break through the Milan backline!
Granoche hurts himself in a mid-air clash, but he gets himself back up in the end. Meanwhile, Milan continue to pile the pressure on Novara!
OOH! Good start to the match from Milan as Merkel touches the ball to Inzaghi, before he cuts it back to Emanuelson. The Dutchman then proceeds to clip the ball forward past the last defender in El Shaarawys path, but it is well read!
Here we go guys and gals! The referee gets the game underway, with Milan going right-to-left and Novara vice-versa. Immediately we have a throw-in to the hosts.
Don't know about you, but I feel this match has potential to be a greater contest than the Clasico tonight! Both teams are equally adept at playing the ball on the ground, having shown their credentials in a competitive 2011-12 Serie A campaign so far.
Kick-off is well and truly upon us now! The players are currently performing their routing handshakes with one another.
Extremely foggy conditions here in Milan tonight, I can barely see the banners for a change!
So the biggest news is the return of one Alexander Merkel for the Rossoneri! Can he be the man to revive the Scudetto holders' fortunes and re-energise their much-maligned midfield? The next 90 minutes should give us a better idea...
And last but not least, the visitors Novara: Fontana; Morganella, Dellafiore, Paci, Centurioni, Garcia; Marianini, Radovanovic, Pesce; Granoche, Morimoto. Subs: Coser, Gemiti, Jensen, Mazzarani, Rubino, Jeda, Rinaudo.
Team news time is upon us! Here's how AC Milan will look first of all: Amelia; Bonera, Nesta, Mexes, Antonini; Merkel, Ambrosini, Nocerino; Emanuelson; Inzaghi, El Sharaawy. Subs: Roma, Taiwo, Abate, Cristante, Robinho, Pato, Ibrahimovic.
I'm Livio Caferoglu and I'll be guiding you through the action once more! As ever you can hit me up on Twitter @livmc - tweet me all your comments and opinions about the match, and I'll be more than willing to post the best ones on here!
Hello and welcome to tonight's Coppa Italia round-of-16 clash between AC Milan and Novara! In a derby of sorts at San Siro, can the minnows spring another Milanese upset, this time on the champions? Stay here and find out over the next couple of hours! Team news will be up in a jiffy.
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