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11 April 2011
• Stadio Artemio Franchi, Firenze
Referee: E. Morganti
• Attendance: 24000
J. Vargas 79'
C. Seedorf 8'
Alexandre Pato 41'
Stick around on Goal.com because we'll have all of the reactions to Milan's win and, of course, Zlatan's red card. Adriano Galliani and Max Allegri did not look the slightest bit impressed. What does that do to their title challenge in the longer term?
90' + 4'
There goes the final whistle. Milan hang on. But we know what the headlines will be! Zlatan Ibrahimovic takes the attention away from an excellent away performance.
90' + 3'
Pato goes on the break as the Viola pile forward, and after he's originally closed out Vargas gives him the ball straight back. Luckily for the wide man it comes to nothing though.
90' + 1'
Four minutes for the 10 men to hold on.
What was he thinking? He'll miss four games most likely. The Rossoneri's title challenge is now in serious jeopardy, whether they hold on here or not.
Red Card Zlatan Ibrahimovic
IBRAHIMOVIC SENT OFF!!!!!! It's a straight red card. He said something out of turn to the referee's assistant and he's been banished to the tunnel. Off he goes. Is that the end of Milan's title race run?
The Rossoneri are trying every trick in the book to see this one through now. Abate gives the ball a couple of extra wipes before taking a throw-in. They'll take all the time they can.
Behrami tries to make things happen down the right but he's closed out and it's a Milan throw. Can the Viola keep up this pressure and get something out of this.
The Viola's tails are up and OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHH!!!! Vargas swings a wicked effort across from the left and it seemingly graised the bar after beating Abbiati all ends up.
Assist Riccardo Montolivo
Goal Juan Vargas
GOOOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!!! THE VIOLA HIT BACK!! Abbiati fails to hold Montolivo's shot and Vargas drives in the rebound with the help of Gattuso's deflection. Suddenly it's game on once more.
Yellow Card Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Foul by Ibrahimovic. And that's a yellow card. And with that he's suspended again. He misses Sampdoria's trip to San Siro next Saturday.
Yellow Card Mario Santana
My my. How does Santana stay on the field for that? The Argentine went right through Abate when he was going nowhere on the touchline. Only a yellow from Morganti. That call, I feel, he got wrong.
Yellow Card Alberto Gilardino
Controversy as Fiorentina try to claim a penalty, but as Comotto ran alongside Seedorf it was the defender who dragged down the Milan skipper. Good call by referee Morganti. And a yellow for Gilardino for protesting the decision.
Milan looking supremely comfortable. They're on course for 68 points now. Napoli have 65, Inter 63.
Gilardino and Zambrotta have a handful of each other's shirts as Gila goes up for a header. No decision, play on, Milan carry it clear.
Some neat passing triangles from Milan. Van Bommel instrumental once more. He's such a calming influence in their midfield.
Montolivo fires well over. It was a desperate really from the skipper of a team looking increasingly short of ideas.
Final change for Mihajlovic's side. On comes Valon Behrami, who has been struggling to get back to full fitness.
The back two have done well for Milan, and Thiago Silva again clears, this time with a low header from a left wing cross.
Fiorentina's shoulders have pretty much dropped. They're still running in the right areas, but there doesn't seem to be the belief they can rescue this one.
Per Billeskov Kroldrup
Fiorentina replace Natali with Kroldrup. Like for like change at the back.
Great one-two between Ibra and Pato, but again the Swede can't quite hit the target. This is a great period of football from the Rossoneri though.
SURELY 3-0!! NO!!! Ibrahimovic goes through one on one to the left of goal, but with Boruc rushing out to narrow the angle, he slides the ball wide of the far post. Poor from the magic man.
Seedorf plays a genius ball over the top for Ibrahimovic, but the big No. 11 is offside. A shame for Milan.
Babacar attempts to have an immediate impact by lashing a shot goalwards but it goes over. Perhaps a little selfish from the 17-year-old.
The second half is about to get underway with Kouma Babacar on for Adem Ljajic. Less creativity, but maybe more goal threat for the Viola.
45' + 2'
And that's the end of the first half. Goals for Seedorf and Pato have put Milan in cruise control. It will take a second half of Palermo-sized proportions to screw this one up now! See if Fiorentina can do a Cesena by joining us again in 10.
So much for Simon Cereda's prediction: "Im predicting a narrow gritty win for Milan, with emotions running high for them. Possibly a red for Flamini (bit of a nutcase)" It's altogether more simple for the Rossoneri right now!
Gilardino gets a head to Vargas' cross, but it's straight at Abbiati. Already looking difficult for Fiorentina to come back, this one.
Assist Kevin-Prince Boateng
Goal Alexandre Pato
GOOOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!!! CLARENCE WAS RIGHT!!! Goal for Pato!! Ibrahimovic takes the ball from Boateng and sends him back away down the right. The Ghanaian crosses low for Pato, who finishes well into the far corner. 2-0.
The Viola having a bit more of it approaching half-time, but Vargas' cross is easily collected by Abbiati.
Apparently, during the interruption as Yepes received treatment, Seedorf went over to encourage Pato by saying he's sure he'll score with his next shot. We shall see.
Yepes gets a ball somewhere around the gut and will need a rub from the physio. Seedorf seemed to go over awkwardly on his ankle as well, but he seems ok.
Boateng cuts the ball in from the right, and it's another side-footed effort from Pato, once again saved by Boruc.
Good cut inside by Abate, but the one major flaw in that is that he has to shoot on his weaker left foot, meaning Boruc has time for a cup of tea before collecting.
Ibrahimovic twisting and turning v Comotto and it's on about the 14th twist that he wins a corner. Zambrotta wins a second when he long-ranger forces Boruc to tip over. From the third successive flag kick, Fiorentina clear easily.
Seedorf tries to beat two men on his way towards goal, and very nearly does so. The Viola don't want to go two down now. That could be curtains.
Massimiliano Allegri will be happy enough so far. No trip to the Franchi is ever easy, but Milan have at least go their noses in front and held up well so far.
The set piece is about as badly worked as any in Serie A all season. Ljajic almost makes something of the mix-up but Zambrotta closes him out.
A dangerous ball comes over from the left which the entire Milan back four allow to drop. Comotto collects it and the Viola eventually force a free-kick as Boateng fells Ljajic.
Yellow Card Marco Donadel
Yepes play a ball into the channel looking for Pato, but Travis Bickle, or is it Alessandro Gamberini, defends well.
The home side attack down the left and when the cross comes in Donadel has space to shoot, but he scuffs his volley. They attack again though, and Ljacic fires from 20 yards, forcing Abbiati to push the ball wide for another corner.
Thiago Silva is down for the moment. He went up for a header with Santana, won it, but then landed awkwardly. Momentary concern for Milan.
The set piece comes to nothing and the Rossoneri enjoy a spell of possession which ends with Pato being closed out by Comotto and Donadel in the corner.
The Viola are just trying to get a foothold back in the game for the moment. Ah, a corner. This may bring something.
GOAL! NO!!! Pato should have buried it. He was on the end of a great through-ball, one on one with Boruc, but the Pole was able to get down and parry. Will Milan pay for that miss?
Assist Alexandre Pato
Goal C. Seedorf
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!! Clarence Seedorf for the league leaders!! Ibrahimovic's through-ball for the Dutchman is cut out by Comotto, but then Pato's header finds Seedorf in behind and he lashes the ball beyond the advancing Boruc. Great start for Milan.
Vargas swings the ball over from the left for the Viola, but it takes Santana two attempts to get a shot in at Abbiati, which the keeper holds well. The same man then turns Yepes, but his cross goes beyond Gilardino into space and Milan can clear.
Pato feeds Ibrahimovic well, but then the Swede's left foot shot is really well blocked by Natali.
OHHHHH!! Comedy keeping. Boruc parries well from Seedorf's left-foot shot, but then when he goes to claim he pats in down almost to the grateful right foot of Pato before eventually seeing the ball cleared. Lucky boy, the Pole.
Van Bommel's ball escapes Ljajic and reaches Abate on the right, but when he tries to swing one in it's too easy for Boruc.
Emidio Morganti is our referee, and it's his whistle which gets us underway.
Just a reminder of the situation at the top. Milan are ahead of Napoli on the head to head record. Inter are a further two points back. After tonight's game everyone will have played 32 matches.
The big team news is the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Milan. Robinho misses out. FIORENTINA (4-3-2-1): Boruc; Comotto, Gamberini, Natali, Pasqual; Donadel, Montolivo, Vargas; Santana, Ljajic; Gilardino. MILAN (4-3-1-2): Abbiati; Abate, Thiago Silva, Yepes, Zambrotta; Flamini, Van Bommel, Seedorf; Boateng; Pato, Ibrahimovic.
Evening all! Serie A's been full of drama again this weekend, but Inter and Napoli both won, which means Milan cannot afford to slip up tonight as they travel to Fiorentina. This is Goal.com's play-by-play commentary of the big game at the Artemio Franchi, and we'll be inviting your views during the game. If you want your say, tweet me (@krisvoakes) and we'll see this one through together. Team news is coming up any minute now.
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