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1 December 2012
• Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania
Referee: D. Orsato
• Attendance: 16500
N. Legrottaglie 11'
S. El Shaarawy 53', 90'+
K. Boateng 56'
That result takes Milan above Catania and Parma into seventh place in the Serie A table. The Rossoneri are next in action in the Champions League on Tuesday night at home to Zenit St. Petersburg, where they have already qualified for the knockout stages, whilst Catania will look to bounce back next Sunday when they travel to Siena. Thanks for joining me on what has been a thrilling victory for Milan here at the Stadio Angelo Massimino. Good night!
Rolando Maran will be furious with Pablo Barrientos in the dressing room. Catania were well-disciplined and organised until his rash tackle on Antonio Nocerino and looked more than capable of stifling an abject Milan attack for the rest of the game. The red card allowed Milan the space on the ball they had been denied all game long and the Rossazzurri were duly punished.
FULL TIME: CATANIA 1 - 3 MILAN. The Rossoneri fight back from a goal down to secure a valuable win with a double from El Shaarawy and a pearler from Boateng, who was sent off in the 90th minute. Legrottaglie had put the home side in front on 11 minutes with a thumping header but the game turned when Barrientos was sent off early in the second half for a foolish second bookable offence. Great entertainment here at the Stadio Angelo Massimino as Catania's 59-year winless streak against Milan continues.
90' + 5'
Yellow Card Alexis Rolín
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
Milan bring on Massimo Ambrosini to see out these final few moments. This will signal a third consecutive win for Allegri's side.
90' + 2'
Assist Kevin Constant
90' + 2'
Goal Stephan El Shaarawy
GOOAL EL SHAARAWY!! Milan wrap up the points late on with another strike from their goal machine. Kevin Constant passes the ball to the Serie A top goalscorer on the left-hand side of the box where he cuts onto his right foot and curls an effort away from the outstretched dive of Andujar and in off the far post. The three points are Milan's!
Red Card Kevin-Prince Boateng
BOATENG SENT OFF! Late drama at the Stadio Angelo Massimino as Kevin Prince Boateng receives a straight red card for a two-footed lunge through the back of Lucas Castro. It's ten men apiece...can that inspire Catania to fight back?
HOW DID THAT NOT GO IN? Antonio Nocerino forces Andujar into a good save and with Milan shirts queueing up in the box, Robinho also fires an effort against the midriff of the goalkeeper before Urby Emanuelson rattles the post. Milan should be home and dry by now.
El Shaarawy produces a wonderful piece of skill to dance past Alvarez but he cannot pick out a Milan shirt with his cutback. Two minutes remaining plus stoppage time.
Yellow Card Giuseppe Bellusci
Robinho tries to catch the Catania wall out with a low effort but the blue and red shirts stand firm to block the freekick. That was a waste from the Brazilian.
Giuseppe Bellusci is cautioned for a foul on El Shaarawy on the edge of the box. Good chance for Milan to wrap up the three points here...
One of those embarrassing moments for Kevin Constant as he is found guilty of a foul throw. Will we see another goal in the dying embers of this match?
HOW HAS ROBINHO MISSED? From a Catania corner, Milan attack at pace and Robinho surges forward before playing in Nocerino on the right-hand side of the box. The Italian midfielder cuts the ball back to the Brazilian several yards out from goal, but he somehow fires wildly over the bar when it was easier to score! It's still 2-1.
Catania threaten when Lucas Casto releases Giovanni Marchese down the left but his dangerous cross is excellently headed away by Francesco Acerbi.
Gustavo Rubén Bergessio
Final roll of the dice for Rolando Maran as he throws on Souleymane Doukara for Gonzalo Bergessio. Can the Rossazzurri find an unlikely equaliser?
Francesco Lodi looks to launch a rare Catania attack with a ball over the top for Bergessio but it runs just too far for the Argentine striker and Amelia collects. The Milan goalkeeper has been a mere spectator in this second period.
Milan demand a penalty when Boateng goes down under a challenge when trying to convert El Shaarawy's cutback, but Daniele Orsato is not interested and waves play on.
Mario Ángel Paglialunga
There is a stoppage in play as Sergio Almiron receives treatment. It seems unlikely that he will be able to continue after picking up that knock.
Milan are firmly in control of this game now and Catania have hardly ventured into the opposition half in this second period. I imagine Rolando Maran will have some strong words with Pablo Barrientos after this match.
IT SHOULD BE THREE! Boateng's cross somehow finds its way to the back post where El Shaarawy is unmarked, but the striker cannot add to his tally as his curled effort is tipped around the post by Andujar. With the form he is in, you would have expected him to bury that!
First change of the game for Allegri as Urby Emanuelson replaces Riccardo Montolivo. Can Milan find the two-goal cushion which will all but end this contest?
Milan have a four-on-four attack with Riccardo Montolivo on the ball and the former-Fiorentina star plays a cute slide pass through for Robinho, but the linesman's flag is raised. That is sloppy from the Brazilian, he could see right along the line and should have held his run.
WHAT A TACKLE FROM ALVAREZ! De Sciglio sends Nocerino through one-on-one with an inch-perfect ball over the top of the Catania defence and just when the Italian international is set to pull the trigger, Alvarez races back to produce a timely block to send the ball behind. Brilliant defending from the 28-year-old Argentine.
Yellow Card Marco Amelia
Milan have their tails up now and sensing another, they pour forward once again but El Sharaawy cannot quite latch onto Robinho's defence-splitting pass. Milan, with their one-man advantage, are beginning to find holes in this Catania side for the first time tonight.
Assist Stephan El Shaarawy
Goal Kevin-Prince Boateng
MILAN HAVE TURNED IT AROUND! And it is a goal of real quality. Kevin Prince Boateng, who was disappointing in the first half, evades his marker on the edge of the box with a neat jink inside before opening up his body and bending a superlative effort into the bottom corner, leaving Andujar stranded. Fantastic strike from the Ghanaian international. How costly that Barrientos red card has proved to be!
Stephan El Shaarawy is screaming for a penalty when he goes down in the box, but the referee adjudges that the striker dived and books him.
Yellow Card Stephan El Shaarawy
Goal Stephan El Shaarawy
MILAN ARE LEVEL AND IT'S THAT MAN AGAIN, STEPHAN EL SHAARAWY! Boateng curls in an inviting cross from the right which is deftly flicked on by Robinho to the 20-year-old striker who toe-pokes an effort, on the stretch, over the dive of Andujar and into the roof of the net. That is his eleventh league goal of the season! Catania backs against the ropes now...
Mattia De Sciglio whips over a cross from the right but Boateng's cushioned volley drifts wide of Andujar's goal.
Yellow/Red Pablo Barrientos
BARRIENTOS SENT OFF! Silly boy! The Argentine midfielder, who picked up a caution in the first half for simulation, receives his marching orders four minutes into the second half for a wild kick on Antonio Nocerino. That moment of madness could really cost his side dear.
Catania are pressing Milan high up the pitch and refuse to let the Rossoneri settle on the ball. Brilliant energy from the home side.
The second half is underway. Can Catania hold on to their valuable lead to secure their first victory over Milan since 1953?
Here's some half-time analysis from my colleague, Tom Webber: "While Milan have controlled possession for much of the first half, some truly shoddy defending has meant that the Rossoneri are lucky to only be behind by one at the break. The front three have been disconnected from the rest of the team, with Robinho and Boateng lacking energy and looking frustrated. Catania are utilising the pace throughout their team well with Andujar, Rolin, Almiron and Bergessio forming a very strong spine to the side. Another similar 45 minutes and they could well be taking all three points."
Milan need to find a way to provide the service to El Shaarawy up front. Neither Robinho nor Boateng enjoyed the greatest of first halves, could Bojan or Pazzini influence the game from the bench? Let me know your thoughts via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
HALF TIME: CATANIA 1 - 0 MILAN. Rolando Maran's side take a one-goal lead heading into the break courtesy of Nicola Legrottaglie's bullet header in the 11th minute. It has been a typically spirited performance from the home side who have frustrated Milan for large periods of the first half. Can Allegri change things around after the break?
Francesco Lodi has the chance to extend Catania's lead at the end of the half with a freekick around 25 yards out, but his effort is palmed away from the bottom corner by Marco Amelia.
Riccardo Montolivo nearly catches Catania out with a long ball over the top of the defence but Andujar is off his line quickly to prevent El Shaarawy. Top goalkeeping.
Yellow Card Pablo Barrientos
Pablo Barrientos picks up the first caution of the match for diving under the challenge of Nigel De Jong. Well spotted Daniele Orsato.
Pablo Alvarez produces another fantastic goal-saving header to prevent El Shaarawy from turning in Mattia De Sciglio's deep cross from the right. It's easy to see why this Catania defence rarely concede at home; they have been brilliantly organised in this first half.
Catania seem happy to sit back and hold on to their lead until the break. Gonzalo Bergessio has joined in the defensive responsibilities as the Elephants continue to frustrate their opponents. Can Milan find a way past this stubborn defence before the break?
Kevin Constant puts his side in all kinds of trouble when he is caught in possession inside his own penalty box, but he is saved by his team-mate De Sciglio, who clears Barrientos' dangerous cross.
Milan threaten when Robinho stands up a cross to the back post, but Pablo Alvarez gets a crucial head to the ball. The rebound falls kindly to El Shaarawy but his goalbound effort is expertly blocked by Uruguayan defender Alexis Rolin. Desperate defending from the home side.
Robinho looks to play a clever chip over the top of the Catania defence for the run of Antonio Nocerino, but Andujar spots the danger and claims the ball well.
Both sides are struggling to string a series of passes together at the moment and the game is concentrated in the middle third of the pitch. Both Maran and Allegri have risen from their seats and remonstrate from the touchline.
However, the corner comes to nothing and Catania clear their lines. Just under twenty minutes remaining until the break.
Kevin Prince Boateng plays in Riccardo Montolivo on the right-hand side of the box, but the Italian midfielder delays his cross and Legrottaglie produces a crucial block to divert the ball behind for a corner.
Sergio Almiron tries his luck with an ambitious 35-yard freekick but his swerving effort flies harmlessly over the crossbar.
Kevin Constant continues to bomb forward from left-back but the Guinean's cross is wastefully overhit into the gloves of Andujar.
Frustration is beginning to creep into the Milan attack as a well-organised Catania defence continues to steal away possession in the final third. Milan have not tested Andujar since going behind.
Catania are really growing into this game since taking the lead and they are more than matching Milan's midfield trio. Robinho and El Shaarawy have not seen too much of the ball so far.
The Rossoneri defence are really struggling to contain the aerial threat that this Catania attack pose and Sergio Almiron gets ahead of Mattia De Sciglio to get his head on a cross, but can only divert his effort wide of the goal.
That goal, against the run of play, has really disrupted the rhythm of this Milan side and they nearly go further behind from Pablo Barriento's right-wing cross but Mexes towers highest to head clear.
Assist Francesco Lodi
Goal Nicola Legrottaglie
CATANIA LEAD!! Francesco Lodi delivers a brilliant corner into the heart of the Milan box where Nicola Legrottaglie rises above Francesco Acerbi to thump an unstoppable header past Amelia. 1-0 to Rolando Maran's side!
Mattia De Sciglio is forced to concede the first corner of the game after good play down the left by Lucas Castro.
All of Catania's players with the exception of lone forward Bergessio are camped deep within their own half at the moment. Kevin Prince Boateng tricks his way to the byline but his lofted cross cannot find a white shirt in the centre.
Milan are continuing to test this Catania backline in the early stages and Constant's teasing cross is just too long for Robinho, who watches the ball drift just wide.
GOOD SAVE FROM ANDUJAR! Kevin Constant attacks down the left-hand wing and his inside pass for Stephan El Shaarawy is deflected into the path of Kevin Prince Boateng, whose first time effort is excellently saved by a strong left hand of the Argentine goalkeeper.
Milan are enjoying the lion's share of the possession early on, but it is the home side who nearly take the lead when Francesco Lodi bursts forward from midfield, past several Milan challenges, but his through ball intended for Gonzalo Bergessio is slightly overhit and Marco Amelia gathers.
It's been a bright start to the match for Milan and Riccardo Montolivo nearly finds Stephan El Shaarawy with a searching long ball but Nicola Legrottaglie anticipates the danger and nods the ball back to Mariano Andujar.
The teams emerge from the tunnels and Daniele Orsato is set to get this game underway.
Milan make only one change from the side which dispatched of Juventus with Francesco Acerbi replacing Mario Yepes in the heart of defence. Matchwinner Robinho retains his starting berth up front.
Catania make four changes to the side which lost 3-1 to Palermo with Nicolas Spolli, Mariano Izco, Alejandro Gomez and Takayuki Morimoto being replaced with Alexis Rolin, Salifu, Lucas Castro and Gonzalo Bergessio.
MILAN (4-3-3): Amelia; De Sciglio, Mexes, Acerbi, Constant; Montolivo, De Jong, Nocerino; Robinho, Boateng, El Shaarawy.
CATANIA (4-3-3): Andujar; Alvarez, Legrottaglie, Rolin, Marchese; Almiron, Lodi, Salifu; Castro, Bergessio, Barrientos.
Here is tonight's team news...
Catania have been performing above expectations so far this season and currently sit in eighth place in Serie A, one point ahead of their opponents. History lies heavily in the Rossoneri's favour however, as Catania have failed to beat Milan since 1953. Can the Rossazzurri finally end their miserable 59-year winless streak this evening?
Buoyed by their 1-0 home victory over Italian champions Juventus last Sunday, Milan look to continue their surge up the Serie A table, but they face a stern test this evening against a Catania side who boast a formidable home record. Rolando Maran's side have won five of their seven league fixtures at the Stadio Angelo Massimino, conceding only five goals in the process. Bringing you all the action from this Friday night Serie A clash, my name is Max Bentley. Feel free to let me know your thoughts and predictions on the match via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
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