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October 19, 2013
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: M. Guida
• Attendance: 33188
V. Birsa 22'
FULL TIME: AC Milan 1-0 Udinese. It'll be a match that will most certainly not live long in the memory, but a vital one for the Rossoneri nonetheless as they register an extremely slender three points. Birsa's first-half strike sees them overthrow Udinese in eighth place, but the performance will leave Milan fans pondering over more questions than answers going into their crunch Champions League clash with Barcelona next week. I've been Livio Caferoglu and it's arrivederci from me!
90' + 3'
OOOH NIANG! Twice the Frenchman comes close as firstly he shows electric pace to take on the Udinese backline before swerving an effort wide. Not long after, he collects Robinho's lay-off but drags his shot marginally off-target.
90' + 2'
Great defensive steel from Silvestre there as he wins his side a free kick after managing to throw his chest at a cross and attracting a foul off his opponent Ranegie.
Four minutes of added time to be played here.
Robinho hammers a speculative attempt towards goal but it cannons off the substitute. Seconds later, Niang thinks he has beaten the offside trap after getting himself onto the end of a raking long ball, although he soon realises that he has failed in his efforts.
How many more times will Pereyra evade another yellow card I wonder? He trips up another Milan player and is subsequently replaced by Ranegie. It's now official - no red for him tonight.
Far too rushed from Niang there. The Frenchman looked to launch a Milan attack at light speed - to the point that he did not give Nocerino a second to read his forward pass.
Muntari's run out of steam after a industrious performance of battering-ram proportions, and on comes Nocerino in his place.
OOOOH THAT WAS UNFORTUNATE! A classic Udinese break sees Pereyra find Di Natale in the middle. The Zebrette legend, in turn, picks out an on-rushing Muriel in the box, yet Abate is there in the nick of time to put off the Colombian and allow Gabriel to receive the ball!
Allan throws himself into a challenge with Niang for the ball in his side's box and prevails. Very brave play from the Brazilian!
Yellow Card Allan
Yellow Card Robinho
Robinho is involved in some afters after dissenting to the referee, and he petuantly collects a yellow card for his efforts.
Muriel strikes a loose ball which is deflected off the field of play for a corner. However, the set-piece is taken to no avail.
Matri's fate is sealed as Milan's prodigial son is brought on for the final 12 minutes.
Robinho again exhibits fine dribbling ability and threads, through the tightest of gaps, a slide-rule pass into Matri's path, yet the striker still can't break his duck after shooting high and wide past Kelava!
Pereyra's a lucky, LUCKY boy indeed! The Argentine attacker is already on a yellow card yet foolishly flies into Niang with a high boot. Quite inexplicably, he only receives a warning!
Montolivo's not a happy bunny as he appears to have been felled by Muriel. However, the referee only waves a throw-in on the far right-hand side.
And that goes for you too, Andrea! Poli turns on a sixpence past Danilo and rifles home a powerful attempt from close range, which Kelava must parry away for a corner.
WE WANT MORE OF THAT ROBI! There's no doubting Robinho's skill on the ball, and in a rare moment he skins his man effortlessly and supplies a decent ball for Matri to smash home, but the striker is too slow to react.
I've lost count of how many balls have been flung by either team without any purpose as another one from Allan bites the dust. Meanwhile, Niang bursts forward and sends a low cross into the box, but no-one can finish it off and a goal kick follows.
Tonight's goalscorer is off, with Niang on as his replacement. The new arrival's first contribution is a block on Silva!
WHAT A SAVE! Di Natale flights a curling effort at goal and forces Gabriel into a terrific stop, showing fantastic reflexes to tip the ball onto the crossbar!
Silva - another of the evening's star performers - attracts a shirt-pull off Abate near the area for a free kick in a promising position on the left-hand side. Here steps up Di Natale...
Silvestre has looked very accomplished tonight - a far cry from his indifferent Inter displays last season. He engages in a tussle with Muriel and wins out as he ensures a goal kick is awarded to his team.
Constant breaks down the left and drills in a floated ball near the byline, but the danger is headed clear for Di Natale to bring away.
Matri has been arguably the biggest flop on show tonight, considering his status as an international striker. He throws a hissyfit after being outmuscled by Danilo as the ball is shepherded out for a goal kick.
Lazzari surges forward but is split in two minds over shooting or feeding Di Natale with a through ball. The end result is a mixture of both, making life easy for a grateful Gabriel between the Milan posts.
Basta may feel slightly aggrieved to have been sacrificed so early in this match despite offering a threat with his long-range shooting. Nevertheless, it's a great opportunity for Muriel to restore his reputation as a promising young hitman which has faded somewhat in recent months.
Yellow Card Roberto Pereyra
Yellow Card Sulley Muntari
Pereyra and Muntari engage in a pair of fisticuffs as the Argentine throws the Ghanaian to the ground near the byline, prompting an angry response from the midfielder as he wraps his hand around the back of the Udinese youngster's head.
Pereyra loses out in a 50-50 with Abate down the left-hand side, allowing Milan the chance to launch another attack.
Silva wins a corner for Udinese, which Lazzari takes but is headed out for a throw-in by Matri. However, not long after, they are awarded another corner, but Di Natale sees his driven attempt cleared at the near post for a third in quick succession.
Birsa looks to bend one in, but none of his team-mates are on his wavelength and Kelava gathers comfortably.
The match restarts with Udinese in possession!
The players are back out for the second half! We'll be kicking off in a matter of seconds.
And with that, a forgettable half of football comes to a close and Milan lead Udinese 1-0. Despite Birsa's wonder-strike midway through, neither team have looked remotely convincing. On this form, a Europa League place alone would be an achievement!
Lazzari floats a ball towards the Milan box but it is instantly cleared away. There's just the solitary minute of injury time to be played out at San Siro.
Just minutes of the first half remaining now. Udinese have seen plenty of the ball, but they are hesistant in the final third. Again, Di Natale is in lots of space on the right, yet his cross can only meet a Rossoneri jersey.
Gabriel shows good awareness to dash off his line soundly and mop up a long pass which Pereyra is unlucky not to latch onto.
For the first time in the match, Milan retain possession in their own half and confidently advance up the pitch. However, the move eventually breaks down and the Friuliani regroup.
Basta wins another corner for Udinese following another long-range attempt, and they come even closer with the corner which is headed just over and wide.
Montolivo and Poli have the scope to form Italy's midfield backbone for years to come as demonstrated in this match so far. However, on this occasion, they overplay the passing game and the former Sampdoria man loses the ball in the centre-circle.
Abate again gets the better of Silva down the right wing and floats a testing cross into the middle of the Udinese box, but Matri can't quite connect with the ball despite his impressive stature.
BETTER FROM UDINESE! That's more like it. Silva thunders forward on the left-hand side and unleashes a belting effort that lashes just wide of Milan's goal, with Gabriel struggling to reach a hand.
Francesco Guidolin cuts a forlorn figure on the touchline as he sees his team squander possession again thanks to another aimless long ball.
Milan are starting to gain a foothold in this match as Poli smashes a half-volley way over the bar in a good position on the edge of the box. Udinese look a spent force from last season's excursions.
Yellow Card Riccardo Montolivo
That's a bit cheeky from Montolivo there as he works his way into the referee's book for his careless clatter into the back of Di Natale.
Goal Valter Birsa
GOOOOOOOOALLLLLL! What a way to add to your Milan account!! That came out of absolutely nowhere from the Slovenian, who played a one-two on the edge of the box with Robinho before curling a beautiful strike into the top right-hand corner. First blood to the Rossoneri!
Yellow Card Giampiero Pinzi
... which almost sees them break the deadlock, if not for the strong Udinese resistance! Still, it results in a yellow card for Pinzi following his deliberate attempt to hack down Birsa from behind - despite the ref choosing to play on the advantage.
Pereira gets his first taste of action in the form of winning a free kick for his side after being shoved to the ground by Muntari. However, Di Natale's effort is forgettable and Milan instantly reply on the counterattack...
Robinho skips past a couple of striped shirts and has his sights firmly set on hitting the target. However, his strike is horribly miscued and whistles wide of Kelava's goal.
As far as Serie A matches ago, this arguably has been the most uninspiring I've watched all season. There is an alarming lack of invention and creativity on show, but reassuringly we're only 16 minutes in!
Muntari tries his best to carve out a chance as he tries to pick out the run of Constant down the left flank, but his pass is wayward and hopelessly rolls off the field of play for a throw-in.
Basta has been everywhere in these opening exchanges. He finds himself central towards goal and fires a shot at Rafael which is deflected away for a corner by Silvestre.
Abate tries to infiltrate the Udinese box again with another cross, but the Zebrette ensure it's nowhere near the advances of Robinho.
Di Natale tries to nip in at Constant, deep in his own half, but the striker is adjudged to have been too cynical in his attempts to put pressure on the left-back.
A free kick is whipped in from the left-hand side for Udinese, but it is flagged offside. A rather subdued start from either team so far.
The Italy wing-back is on the prowl again, this time cutting inside and having a shot at goal which goes just over Kelava's net.
Abate takes on his man with ease down the right flank and sends in a cross which Naldo deals with thanks to a powerful header clear.
The Serbian right-back is again involved on the wrong side of a challenge as Muntari goes into him robustly. The referee signals play on, however.
Basta is upended but Silva takes matters into his own hands with a cross that is cleared for a corner.
Poli tries his best to keep in the ball on the byline, and he just about does to award Udinese a throw-in.
We're under way in Milan!
The players flood out onto the pitch! Kick-off is now just a matter of moments away in northern Italy.
Both sides have endured below-par starts to the season. Milan currently languish in 12th position, with just eight points in their first seven matches, while Udinese - arguably Serie A's most inconsistent outfit this term - are two points better off in eighth. However, a Diavolo win would see them leapfrog the away side tonight.
On the other hand, Udinese are still without goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic, while fellow defensive lynchpin Maurizio Domizzi is missing from the Zebrette fold. Nonetheless, Antonio Di Natale is presented with the chance to add to his prolific tally of 11 goals in 20 previous meetings with Milan.
Elsewhere for Milan, there are returns for Matias Silvestre and Valter Birsa - both of whom feature from the start. Kaka is also back in contention, but he can only make the bench. Philippe Mexes and Nigel De Jong, however, are suspended, while Mario Balotelli is sidelined with injury.
The Rossoneri have been called into making a late change as Christian Abbiati picked up a calf injury during training, forcing coach Massimiliano Allegri's hand through the selection of goalkeeping debutant Gabriel ahead of usual deputy Marco Amelia.
And in the visitors' dressing room, Udinese: Kelava; Heurtaux, Danilo, Naldo; Basta, Pinzi, Allan, Lazzari, Gabriel Silva; Pereyra, Di Natale.
This is how Milan will line up tonight: Gabriel; Abate, Silvestre, Zapata, Constant; Poli, Montolivo, Muntari; Birsa; Robinho, Matri.
Ciao and welcome to LIVE commentary of AC Milan v Udinese in Serie A! I'm Livio Caferoglu and I'll be guiding you through all the action as it happens at San Siro. Stay with me as I bring you the all the team news in just a moment.
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