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Serie A

  • January 22, 2012
  • • 14:00
  • • Stadio Comunale Silvio Piola, Novara
  • Referee: A. De Marco
  • • Attendance: 17000

Novara 0-3 Milan: Ibrahimovic and Robinho make the difference as Rossoneri return gap to Juventus back to one point

After a host of missed chances, three second half goals, two from the Swede and one from the Brazilian, give Allegri's side the points against a spirited Biancoazzurri

Three second-half strikes, two from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and one from Robinho, gave AC Milan all three points against Novara in a 3-0 triumph at the Stadio Silvio Piola on Sunday afternoon.

A host of missed chances in the first period looked to have cost the champions victory, but three efforts from the Rossoneri's strike partnership secured the win that takes them a point behind leaders Juventus in the Serie A table.

With Massimiliano Allegri making five changes to the side that lost last weekend in the Derby della Madonnina, it was perhaps no surprise that, with some of the starting XI having a point to prove, the team with the best attack in the league started the game brightly.

And it was one of those players who had the best of the early chances: Robinho, following up from an Ibrahimovic free kick, fired wide from a tight angle when it was perhaps easier to score.

The Rossoneri were really clicking into gear, and peppered the Novara goal with shots on an almost constant basis. First, it was Mark van Bommel who threatened with a long-range effort.

Then Ibrahimovic forced a good save from Samir Ujkani following another free kick. Finally, Thiago Silva thought he'd scored with just 20 minutes gone when his header left the goalkeeper stranded, only for Andrea Caracciolo to clear the ball off the line.

It looked inevitable then that Milan would eventually take the lead, and it seemed for all the world as if they had on 32 minutes. Antonio Nocernio turned nonchalantly past Michel Morganella in the box, and stroked the ball towards the far post, only for it to miss the target by a matter of inches, and leave the visitors frustrated as they went into the break.

The second half started much the same way that the first had ended, except, after five minutes, Novara looked to counter Milan's constant attacking threat, and they did just that through a fantastically surging from Marco Rigoni.

The 32-year-old looked 10 years younger as he left Van Bommel and Nocerino eating dust on the halfway line, before sliding an exquisite ball through to Caracciolo on the left-hand side of the area. The former Brescia man then cut inside and slotted his shot towards the far corner, only to see it squirm agonisingly wide.

That looked to have been a wake up call for Allegri's side, and they soon took the lead through an easy finish from Ibrahimovic. A wonderfully weighted through ball from Ambrosini found the Swedish striker inside the area, and with two touches he smashed the ball from close-range past Ujkani.

Tesser's side, looking for an equaliser, were now leaving room for Milan to exploit. And they used it to their advantage once more. A cross from Nocerino on the right-hand byline found Stephan El Shaarawy, who took a touch and shot across goal, only for Robinho to slid in and give Milan a comfortable 2-0 cushion. 

And it was 3-0 with less than a minute to go. El Shaarawy's cross was palmed away by Ujkani, only for Ibrahimovic to flick the ball pas the goalkeeper on the rebound, and take him back to the top of the Serie A goalscoring charts.

That was how it ended, with Milan now only a point behind Juventus going into next weekend's game against Cagliari. Novara stay rooted to the bottom of the table, having to travel to Palermo in the next round of fixtures.