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January 20, 2013
• 9:00 AM
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: D. Doveri
• Attendance: 30031
G. Pazzini 65', 82'
P. Mexès 84' (own goal)
That's it from me for today, but be sure to follow the rest of the Serie A scorelines on Goal.com, as well as football across the European continent and beyond!
Full-time! AC Milan's fluid attacking and impressive pressure has seen them beat Bologna 2-1 at San Siro. Giampaolo Pazzini was the star of the show, and defied a brilliant Federico Agliardi twice in the second half to ensure a late own goal from Philippe Mexes had no say on the final result!
90' + 4'
A scramble in the Milan area and Bologna almost fashion a final chance! However, in the chaotic mess, the Rossoneri manage to clear their lines and breathe a HUGE sigh of relief!
90' + 3'
El Shaarawy shoots from 25 yards but what would have been a show-stealing goal should it have curled in goes a few inches wide of the right post, much to Agliardi's belief.
90' + 2'
Milan decide they want to camp out in their own half and defend for these final couple of minutes. Bologna are just prodding around the outer edge of the Milan defence without ever threatening to penetrate.
As 4 minutes of stoppage time are announced, it's time to give my Man of the Match award! It's an easy one today, it can't be anybody other than Giampaolo Pazzini! He had the best chance of the first half with a fine header, showed poaching prowess to propel Milan into a lead then showed how quality he can be with a sublime second strike with less than 10 minutes to go, finishing off the tie in essence.
Bologna might have got a goal back but they haven't shown the slightest sign of threatening since the own goal.
Boss Chico tweeted: "Not impressed. Berlusconi and Galliani still gotta go." Sadly for this tweeter, I can't see the owner and the vice-president of Milan being forced out of their own club any time soon...
Well, well, well! We could have quite the finale now at San Siro!
Own Goal Philippe Mexes
GOAL!! Philippe Mexes has put the ball into the back of his own net! It's desperately unlucky from the AC Milan defender, who is helpless as Bologna substitute Pasquato nods a cross from the left wing onto his planted foot, and it dribbles into the bottom right-hand corner. Milan 2-1 Bologna!
Assist Kevin-Prince Boateng
Goal Giampaolo Pazzini
GOAL!! Great striker from the striker, who scores his - and AC Milan's second of the game, and wow what a goal it is! Tight control inside the area, looping the ball over his marker after superb control then lashing it in from 10 yards and celebrating wildly! Milan 2-0 Bologna!
Christian Pasquato, on loan from Udinese, skids the free kick a foot or so over the bar after choosing to shoot from the acute angle. Chance wasted for the visitors.
Yellow Card Ignazio Abate
Abate clips Diamanti on the left edge of the box, and the referee does the right thing in booking the Milan defender and giving a Rossoblu free kick.
Interestingly, Milan have chosen to sit back with over 10 minutes to go. Could this choice be costly?
Constant has to clear quickly after a rapid cross from the left wing! A reminder to the home fans that it's only 1-0 and they're not exactly out of this clash just yet!
Yellow Card Nicolò Cherubin
Johnny F Baby tweeted: "AC Milan need to bring back Kaka!!!" In two weeks' time, could this dream be a reality? The Brazilian will need to take a pay-cut, but surely he will want it go through to return to first-team football at the stadium where he made his name and won the Ballon d'Or in 2007.
Dan Brewer tweeted: "Pazzini > Balotelli. Hes just started scoring." Interesting! The Italian striker has been linked with a move from Manchester City all window, but it looks as though Kaka will be their main target this month. Which leads us onto...
The pressure is still coming from the hosts but Bologna are ensuring that the gaps are small and hard to find in their defence, so it's slow going.
Niang cannot get the ball out of his feet fast enough and the opening on the edge of the Bologna area snaps shut.
The Rossoneri are continuing to pile forwards, despite their recently acquired lead. Can they add another one, two or more to their tally today?
A superb cross from Abate helped make that goal by the way, and Pazzini's first touch to eradicate the pace was simply fantastic.
Goal Giampaolo Pazzini
GOAL!! Giampaolo Pazzini finally breaks the deadlock in Milan's favour!! The striker finds the ball at his feet on the penalty spot, he turns and shoots and watches as his shot deflects off Bologna defender Mikhael Antonsson and over a helpless Agliardi to make it 1-0!!
It's just a barrage of attacks from Milan at San Siro. Wave after wave after wave.
A fine block from Constant's shot by Bologna's Portanova on the left inside the area!
A reminder that you can have your thoughts aired by tweeting them to @Miles_Chambers in these final 30 minutes!
Another minute, another Milan effort! El Shaarawy is denied after a delicately worked corner, shooting from 15 yards out but Agliardi is in the way AGAIN for Bologna. He's a brick wall today!
PAZZINI MISSES! Well, he really, really, really should have scored. Abate reaches the byline on a break for Milan down the right and his short cut-back should be buried from five or six yards out, but the striker pings it wide of the post instead!
A wonderful ball from Niang, and an unmarked Pazzini is inches away from making contact and opening the scoring! Inches, I tell you!
Lexy™ (yep, his name is apparently trademarked) believes this clash will finish 2-1 to Milan!
Rossoblu defender Nicolo Cherubin hobbles off with what looks like a game-ending injury...
Ignazio Abate and Pazienza have words on the Milan right after a slightly wayward lunge from the Bologna player, though he didn't make contact with the Milan defender at all.
Gamon Dicataldo tweeted: "I just want Berlusconi to leave Milan, can anybody give me his phone number, and I will tell him." Unfortunately I don't have the Milan owner's number. If only!
The first goal in this game is going to be so crucial. If Bologna score, they are bound to become even more defensive. If Milan score, it might just open the floodgates...
Anyone else remember Mexes' overhead kick goal earlier this season from outside the box? Not long after Zlatan Ibrahimovic made the news with his attempt? Outrageous stuff.
...Mexes tries to spectacularly put it into the back of the net from the corner after a poor attempted clearance from Gilardino! It's not to be though and Mexes trundles back to defence.
Niang shoots left-footed from around 25 yards but his shot bounds wide off a Bologna body. The fifth corner of the match for Milan...
And we're back under way at San Siro!
Massimiliano Allegri makes his way onto the sidelines and the Milan team trickle out onto the pitch after him. The referee is being harassed amusingly by the bearded Diamanti, who was booked in the first half. One can only assume he's having a bit of a whine about it!
Tweet me your thoughts on the game so far and your predictions for the final 45 minutes! My Twitter handle is @Miles_Chambers.
You know what, the stats for that half aren't as slanted as the game itself seemed! Milan had only two more shots than Bologna in the first 45 minutes!
So, Milan-Bologna is 0-0 at half-time and you've got to say it's surprising that the visitors have managed to hold on for this long. The Rossoblu have so rarely threatened the Rossoneri goal, while the likes of El Shaarawy, KP Boateng, Niang and Constant have caused havoc at the other end. Pazzini had the best chance of the half with a fine header, but Agliardi's save summed up the half in a sense and Milan will be well aware they are going to have a battle getting the ball past the goalkeeper at this rate!
In the last seconds of the half, Boateng once again almost scores for the hosts to no avail. With any imminent danger gone thanks to the half-time whistle, Bologna can rest easy for 15 minutes!
Two chances for the price of one! First, Niang's cross is palmed out the box by Agliardi, before Boateng flicks delightfully for El Shaarawy on the edge of the area and the striker forces another fine save from the Bologna keeper. Great stuff from the shot-stopper!
Will 0-0 be a fair reflection of the half? Probably not. Milan have been lively and creative in attack, with Bologna creaking under the pressure and always looking like they're tentative on the ball today. Milan have three minutes to take the lead of 0-0 it will be come half-time.
At the other end, Agliardi does impeccably well to shepherd Constant towards the touchline inside the area, then smother the ball to prevent a goal, shot or corner for Milan!
Diamanti tests Milan's Christian Abbiati from distance, curling a 30-yarder on goal, but the goalkeeper reaches up to catch the curling attempt. A cheeky but never-going-to-succeed shot from Diamanti, to be honest.
Could Kaka soon return to the Rossoneri midfield? He's been linked with a Milan return. He, KP Boateng and Montolivo would be very nice midfield options.
That shook the cobwebs off this clash! Keep it coming, guys!
CHANCE! Finally, some action! Constant is embarrassingly one-footed with his left-footed cross when he should really cross with his right, but it's a peach of a ball, landing perfectly on Pazzini's head, forcing fine diving save from Agliardi to his left, who tips it wide for a Milan corner!
This game is being exclusively played in the middle third at the moment, in an uninspiring fashion. Come on chaps, let's add a bit of spice to this game!
Yellow Card Michele Pazienza
Michele Pazienza is called back to be given a booking after pulling back Pazzini on a mini-break-of-sorts. Pazzini's grumbling continues, like an eternally rumbling stomach speaking Italian. Pazienza will miss the next Bologna match, against Roma.
I'm kidding, it's not that bad. But the last five minutes have been almost impressively uneventful. Those that saw the Afcon games yesterday will have a vague idea of just how uneventful.
Must... not... fall... asleep...
Giampaolo Pazzini is grumbling after being judged to have conceded an aerial foul.
Bologna are back under duress at San Siro as they clear yet another Milan corner.
Gyorgy Garics, at the other end, sees his cross blocked by the first defender on the Bologna right. Diamanti almost gets himself in deep, deep trouble with a second foul in as many minutes!
Boateng is getting lauded left, right and centre for his passing today. He's been good but not great (yet), in my opinion. Bologna aren't marking him tightly enough and if you give players like him space then they will hurt you.
Cynical foul from Alessandro Diamanti on Milan's left wing, Constant tumbling to the ground and 'earning' the Bologna attacker a yellow card.
Yellow Card Alessandro Diamanti
Rossoblu defender Marco Motta is getting warmed up on the touchline, perhaps there's an early injury problem for the visitors that has gone unnoticed...?
Gilardino does well to win a free kick on the halfway line. The Bologna striker scored 36 Serie A goals for Milan in his nearly-100 appearances in a Rossoneri shirt!
On the right flank this time is Mathieu Flamini, but this time the cross is blocked before it can worm its way across the 18-yard box.
That was close, albeit from nothing at all. A cross is whipped in by Niang low and hard from the right flank, and the Bologna defence failed to deal with it, watching helplessly as it skidded with speed across the face of goal.
Fun fact: Milan's 3-1 win over Bologna near the start of the Serie A season were the only points the club garnered n the first four games of the campaign! A shabby start!
Boateng wants to have a go at shooting, but his effort from 35 yards strikes the first player en route and Milan must start their attack again from the back after the visitors clear their lines.
Chance for Milan! El Shaarawy is away down the left and unmarked, and he turns inside into the box and fires a low shot to Federico Agliardi's left, though the Rossoblu goalkeeper gets down quickly to block it away.
Riccardo Montolivo tries to spray a ball forward for El Shaarawy without success. Bologna are falling deeper to defend already, it seems.
Constant with some superb dribbling, which makes up for his prior attempts at crossing. He works the ball into the box for El Shaarawy, and the striker sees his byline-run-and-cross blocked for another Rossoneri corner by a Bologna body.
Philippe Mexes and Rossoblu skipper Daniele Portanova have a not-so-tender cuddle in the penalty area during a Milan corner, but Mexes manages to break away from his man and fire an effort on goal from the edge of the area, which is blocked and speedily cleared.
Panagiotis Kone with some good defending after tracking back from midfield, controlling the loose ball and dissipating the danger.
Bologna have their turn at pressing up the chilly pitch. Gilardino is being sought by his team-mates to no avail, thus far.
Kevin Constant yawns a tired cross in from the left wing. Yawns might not be a traditional way to describe an attempted pass but it really was that rusty and withdrawn.
The game, by the way, has started in a subdued manner. Milan seem like they have had the large chunk of possession but they are far from dominating. Kevin-Prince Boateng, El Shaarawy and Niang have all be involved.
Bologna wearing white tees and navy (black? I'm partially colour-blind, but they're definitely dark), while Milan are in their famous red and black tops with white shorts. Some more colour to bring you is that San Siro is sparse. I almost said 'surprisingly sparse', but I've watched the Rossoneri a fair few times this season now and sparse stands come with the territory.
Love the referee's kit, I must admit. Daniele Doveri is the man with the whistle today. He'll no doubt be hoping for a jolly affair without any major incidents, high-flying tackles or silly handbags.
And we're off at a snow-covered San Siro! Milan kick-off...
Alberto Gilardino starts against his former club at San Siro, and the striker will be the visitors' main hope for scoring on their travels today. The Bologna line-up is designed to frustrate the hosts, but will they succeed? We're about to find out!
Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy is another to keep an eye on. He's been inexplicably fantastic in front of goal for the Rossoneri this season, and has saved them from dropped points and defeats on numerous occasions.
Personally, I'm incredibly excited to see M'Baye Niang in action. As a self-confessed Football Manager addict, I always see the promising starlet blossom into one of the best players on the game after a fair few season. So I imagine he's made quite the impression despite still being in his teenage years.
Bologna: Agliardi, Garics, Portanova, Antonsson, Cherubin, Diamanti, Perez, Pazienza, Riverola, Kone, Gilardino.
AC Milan: Abbiati, Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant, Flamini, Montolivo, Boateng, Niang, Pazzini, El Shaarawy.
First things' first: the team line-ups!
Good afternoon folks and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of AC Milan v Bologna! I'm Miles Chambers and I'll be guiding you through this particularly enticing Serie A bout!
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