AC Milan extend lead the top thanks to Seedorf, Cassano and Robinho in an easy victory which put Sampdoria in real trouble
AC Milan strengthened their bid for an eighteenth Scudetto title thanks to a win over struggling Sampdoria, who could fall into the bottom three if Cesena beat fellow struggler Bari tomorrow in a relegation six-pointer. AC clinched their win through a Seedorf free-kick, a Cassano penalty and a Robinho header at San Siro.
The league leaders started strongly. Pato won a corner in the first minute which Izagio Abate should have done better with, before Kevin-Prince Boateng shot over. Things took a downwards step for the home side, when ‘keeper Christian Abiatti was forced to be replaced by Marco Amelia, but this didn’t stop Milan – minutes later veteran midfielder Clarence Seedorf gave his side the lead from a free kick which swerved across the floor into the bottom corner.
The rest of the first half passed ingloriously. Neither side managed to create a chance. The AC Milan fans had something to celebrate when news came through of local and title and title rivals, Internazionale, going a goal behind to Parma at Ennio Tardini, but their celebrations turned to concerns just minutes later when Alexandre Pato pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury, forcing Massimiliano Allegri to replace him with Antonio Cassano.
In the opening minutes of the second period, Robinho put an easy chance high and wide after great play from Antonio Cassano. In the 53th minute, AC won a controversial penalty. Mario Yepes headed it against an arm, the referee blew up, and Antonio Cassano finished it, giving the Gianluca Curci no chance in the Sampdoria goal.
Seven minutes later, the points belonged to Milan. Cassano gave a chipped cross, leaving Robinho to head in from point blank range with Curci stranded. The goal killed what little resistance the visitors posed. AC were able to pass the ball about at will, and it seemed only a matter of time until the Rossoneri would add to their already convincing lead.
Seedorf scooped it over from a volley when he only had the keeper to beat; while Yepes put a free header wide from a Zambrotta cross. The Milan side were able to pass it around at leisure. Andrea Pirlo was introduced in place of Mark van Bommel, and Antonio Cassano forced a great save from Curci, moments before the news of Parma’s second goal ignited Giuseppe Meazza as though AC had scored a fourth.
Antonio Cassano missed another golden opportunity to add a fourth after a volley that flew over when it was easier to score, but AC were not to have their showpiece finish. It mattered little to them as the Serie A title race was reduced to a two-horse race, while Sampdoria’s relegation troubles went from bad to worse.
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