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26 October 2010
• Stadio San Paolo, Napoli
Referee: N. Rizzoli
• Attendance: 53901
E. Lavezzi 78'
Z. Ibrahimovic 72'
So there it is... lightning doesn't strike twice, even if rain does. For the second year running Milan have a two-goal lead at the San Paolo, but this time they hold onto half of it. Great goal by Lavezzi, but it's small consolation. Check out Goal.com over the coming minutes and hours for full reports, reactions and updates from across the world. But for now... it's arrivederci.
90' + 6'
THERE GOES THE FINAL WHISTLE!!!! Milan have held on to the 2-1 scoreline despite a late bombardment from the 10 men of Napoli.
90' + 5'
Corner swung in towards De Sanctis... yes, De Sanctis... but SokiPaps heads away. He's still heading back to his own goal when Robinho shoots, but it's well wide.
90' + 4'
Abbiati scrambles again as the ball comes in from the left. Another Napoli corner on its way
90' + 2'
Milan scrambling around at the moment. Both Robinho and Abbiati panic as Napoli win a corner. They win a second one within 20 seconds.
90' + 1'
Seedorf advances to Dossena and then shoots, but it's just beyond the far post.
90' + 1'
There will be five more minutes of this. Bring it on! I say make it 50 minutes. Pulsating stuff.
Yellow Card Daniele Bonera
Robinho chips delightfully to the far post for Flamini, who takes it down well but then has his shot pushed wide by De Sanctis. Napoli still in it... Just.
Bonera gets the ball, but then takes out Campagnaro. Free-kick. More pressure for the Rossoneri to absorb.
They're still showing replays of Lavezzi's goal on the monitors, and I can't say I blame them. Flamini is about to replace Gattuso.
Gargano misses a good chance at the far post and is then replaced by Dumitru. I don't think the two incidents were specifically linked.
Yellow Card Salvatore Aronica
Yellow Card Hugo Campagnaro
Yellow Card Kevin-Prince Boateng
Play has restarted, but the funniest bit of the whole incident there was Nesta pushing Grava to the ground and then immediately picking him up and apologising! Superb stuff.
My my, the tempers are frayed here. We have at least 20 players, plus both benches, getting involved in a fair old amount of pushing and shoving. The result is yellow cards for Campagnaro and Boateng, but it all started when Aronica brushed Robinho and the Brazilian went down holding his throat.
Goal Ezequiel Lavezzi
GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!!!! Cat, meet pigeons... Lavezzi is bundled to the floor in a frantic challenge with SokiPaps, but somehow gets to his feet and immediately chips the ball over the advancing Abbiati and off the underside of the bar. Absolutely brilliant. That's one to check on 101 Great Goals later. Game on?
Seedorf joins the front three, rather than shutting up shop in midfield.
Ibrahimovic beats two before receiving a good old kick across the Achilles from Grava. It's the striker's last action before being replaced by Seedorf.
Lavezzi does well and squares to Cavani, but SokiPaps gets a foot to the ball. Napoli need to raise the spirit of last year's comeback to get something from this game.
Assist Massimo Oddo
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!! There is no surprise that Zlatan Ibrahimovic heads home, but it certainly needs a second look to confirm that that's a second assist for Massimo Oddo. The full-back whipped in an excellent cross and Zlatan's header slid under De Sanctis on its way in. Game over?
Cavani gets a shot in despite a mountain of pressure, but it's never troubling Abbiati.
Napoli's first tactical change is to replace Hamsik with Jose Sosa. 22 minutes for him to make a difference for the home side.
Another great Milan break, but Ibrahimovic pushes the ball slightly wide for Pato, whose shot is well parried by De Sanctis. Should have been 2-0.
Yellow Card Robinho
Robinho is caught offside and toes the ball past De Sanctis as he advances to take the free-kick. Another pointless yellow card collected.
I'm starting to get the sniffles. I think the weather is starting to have an effect, despite me being undercover. Heaven only knows what kind of man flu the players will have come the morning.
Unlucky again for Napoli. Cavani very nearly plays in Lavezzi with a ball down the channel. Milan beware.
SO CLOSE!!!! The Azzurri won't lie down. Good play by Gargano sees the ball drop for Hamsik, who attempts to curl one of Abbiati from 20 yards, but the keeper manages to tip over.
Robinho works well looking to forge an opening and almost gets on the end of Ibrahimovic's return pass. Milan must score soon... they've had Napoli playing the chasing game since long before Pazienza's red card.
Napoli lacking numbers and also lacking ideas to an extent. A decent attack ends when Hamsik runs out of options.
A magnificent counter-attack from Milan finishes with Ibrahimovic in the left channel, but his right foot effort is weak and De Sanctis gets down to it easily.
Pato does well to wriggle past two then cuts back for Pirlo, but he chips the ball into no man's land in the Napoli box.
YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP!!! The same two clash within 60 seconds, this time in the box. If anything Papastathopoulos has more of a hand on Lavezzi this time, but the Argentine is also tugging the Greek's shirt and the ball goes out for a goal kick with Lavezzi again on the ground.
CONTROVERSIAL!! SokiPaps goes shoulder to shoulder with the marauding Lavezzi on the very edge of the area, right hand side. The Argentine goes to ground and Rizzoli awards a free-kick. Surely SokiPaps just won a power struggle there?
Sloppy play by Gargano, and then by Pato. That's right, Gargano and Pato. The conditions are gettinf worse rather than better it would seem.
OOOOOOHHHH!!! Beware 10 men scorned. Dossena crosses low from the left, Lavezzi slides in at the near post, and Milan just about remain ahead as the effort rises just over the bar.
We've just seen a real rarity... Gennaro Gattuso knocked off the ball. Good defending by Aronica as Milan attacked from kick-off. They'll be looking to finish this one off quickly, the away side.
Right. I've gotten all refreshed, Walter Mazzarri's finished his crafty half-time cigarette, and Nicola Rizzoli has blown his whistle. All of which mean the second half is underway.
So... Milan lead against the now depleted Azzurri. Can the home side confound the odds and get something from this game? Time to take a break, back in 10 or so.
45' + 4'
And there goes the half-time whistle. An eventful first half. Worthy leaders in Milan. Worrying injuries for Antonini and Maggio. Silly boy Michele Pazienza.
45' + 3'
That would have been a turn up! Lavezzi gets free and nearly levels for the 10 men, but his right foot strike is acrobatically saved by Abbiati.
45' + 2'
Ibrahimovic attempts a flick something akin to Italy-Sweden Euro 2004 as Milan crank up the pressure.
45' + 1'
Yellow/Red Michele Pazienza
45' + 1'
RED CARD!!!!! Ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous. There's only one word to describe that (three times) by Michele Pazienza. He was on a yellow from that dumb handball, then goes in with an unnecessary challenge. The result? An early bath. At least he's out of the rain now.
The soaked fourth official, complete with hood, signals there will be three minutes of stoppages.
One gets the feeling Milan are just a connected pass away from a 2-0 lead. There have been a lot of near misses, and now Pato wins a corner off Grava.
Referee Nicola Rizzoli finally breaks up Ibra and Aronica after another contretemps, then Pato turns straight into the challenge of Campagnaro.
It ain't exactly Valentine's Day out there. Ibrahimovic and Aronica end up having a roll around in the rain after a collision. Nothing major, but I doubt they'll be sending each other Christmas cards.
Dossena's cross flicks off Oddo and falls for Lavezzi, who can't quite set himself and scuffs a left foot shot wide of the far post.
Yellow Card Michele Pazienza
Another rubbish shot from Napoli, this time from Lavezzi. That one moment apart when he put in Hamsik, he's really not done much. Pazienza then ridiculously puts his hand up to a cross and is shown the yellow card. Was it deliberate to pay homage to Diego Maradona in the week of his 50th birthday?
It's looking a little ominous for the home side at the moment as they are still losing too much possession in midfield and Ibrahimovic is coming into the game more. Their saving grace has to be the fact that Milan's defence doesn't look overly great at the moment.
Gargano blasts a speculative effort over the bar from 30 yards with players in support and gets an earful from Hamsik for his trouble.
OOOOOHHHH! Pato should maybe have done better there. Milan break once more, but the Brazilian doesn't know whether to cross to Ibrahimovic or shoot. He does the latter, but drives the ball just over the bar, with De Sanctis covering well.
Napoli don't want to continue being wasteful, as Milan are looking hot on the counter.
What a fine mess... and I'm not talking about Yebda's hair. Hamsik's cross from the left bypassed Cavani, but Yebda somehow steered it back past the striker instead of into Abbiati's net. A big miss from the Partenopei.
Yellow Card Sokratis Papastathopoulos
The first yellow card goes to the newly christened SokiPaps (latecomers, see 3 minutes). He pushed Gargano on the break, doing the Uruguayan a big favour.
With Napoli risking more now, so Milan have more spaces to run into. Pato wins a corner from one such break.
There and then, it should have been all square. Lavezzi brushes off Bonera and goes charging down the right. His low cross from the bye-line is met by Hamsik, but the Slovakian pokes it wide. Great chance for the suddenly marauding home side.
Assist Massimo Oddo
GOOOOOAAALLLLL MILAN!!!! A) That was very well deserved. B) That was very, very good. Robinho drove forward, fed Oddo out wide, and then collected the subtitute's pull back before skewing a shot off his left foot in off the far post. The finish may have been a touch lucky, but Milan deserve that.
It appears that Maggio has had a delayed reaction to that clash of heads with Antonini. He stopped suddenly in back play and is now being treated again on the touchline. Substitution imminent, methinks.
Dossena does well to curtail Pato's run, but the Azzurri's attempted break collapses. They're just not in the game at the moment.
The softest of pushes by Aronica on Robinho wins Milan a free-kick on the right. Pirlo swings it in and Campagnaro does very badly in attempting to flick away. De Sanctis dives onto the ball just ahead of Ibrahimovic.
The Rossoneri continue to dominate, but Pato's effort from 30 yards as wayward and wasteful. Napoli need a foothold.
Milan are playing the possession game at the moment and Napoli can do little to break it up. Robinho has a pot shot from the edge which De Sanctis smothers. Oddo is playing at right back, forcing Bonera to switch flanks.
This actually looks very bad indeed. Antonini has been stretchered off with a neck brace on. Let's hope that's just a precaution. And to make matters worse, it's Massimo Oddo who has replaced him. Just joking Massimo! Kind of.
Bad news for Milan. There was quite a clash between Antonini and Maggio as both went for a header. Whereas Maggio gets a dab of the sponge, Antonini stays down and seems to have hurt his neck quite badly.
There are too many passes skidding away from players in the wet conditions at the moment. Another Gattuso throughball, another that escapes Bonera by some distance.
It's still a cagey affair, though Gattuso should arguably have done better. He had a chance to either shoot or pass from the edge of the area but he kind of did neither in the end as his ball for Bonera was more a ball for Usain Bolt. And he's not playing tonight.
Milan, in all black tonight, starting to get a bit more of the ball. They're yet to set foor in the Napoli area though. And SokiPaps taking his eye off the ball didn't help as Nesta squared an easy pass.
Right, I need to shorten Sokratis Papastathopoulos' name, so here goes nothing... Milan's back four, from left to right, is Bonera, Nesta, SokiPaps (It'll do) and Antonini. Napoli get forward to begin with in the azzurro blue, but they're all just sparring for now.
We're underway... This is going to be very close to call, one would suggest.
Players apart, everyone's pretty well wrapped up tonight. It's been raining since yesterday morning across most of Italy. Walter Mazzarri will do well to keep his 1970s hairdo dry in this weather.
You'll all no doubt remember that this time last year - not exactly this time, we're about three days out - Milan led by two goals for almost the entire game but threw away two points in stoppage time. Moral of the story? The fat lady won't be even thinking about singing until the very end tonight.
Good evening Europe and Africa, good afternoon America, good morning Australia, and Asia... what on earth are you doing up at this hour? The sleepless night must be due to the fact it's Napoli-Milan at the San Paolo this evening. Stick with me Kris Voakes for the next couple of hours and you'll be kept well informed with all the proceedings. It all kicks off in 15 and the team news is quite interesting. There's no Paolo Cannavaro for Napoli, while Milan are without Ronaldinho and Gianluca Zambrotta, while Clarence Seedorf is dropped. In come Sokratis Papastathopoulos - I'll have to do something about his name to save my poor fingers - Kevin Prince Boateng and Robinho.
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