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Italy - Serie A
April 7, 2014
• Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genova
Referee: L. Banti
• Attendance: 20887
C. Abbiati 73' (own goal)
A. Taarabt 20'
K. Honda 56'
That's all we have time for, as Milan make it three consecutive wins, dispatching of Genoa by the scoreline of 2-0. A tight game that the home side will feel aggrieved about losing, I've been Simon Harrison and I will hope to see you all again next time.
Genoa worked incredibly hard, with plenty of chances and corners, but the home side just couldn't translate their pressure into goals. Instead, Honda's first goal in Milan colours wrapped up the victory for Seedorf's men, leaving Gasperini wondering what his side had to do in order to get a share of the spoils.
FULL TIME! The referee signals the end of a very tight game at Stadio Comunale Luigi, as Milan squeeze past Genoa in a 2-1 Serie A away victory! Goals from Taarabt and Honda are enough for the visitors, despite the hosts' resurgence which saw Motta pull one back.
90' + 2'
Milan are keen to try and retain possession deep in Genoa's half, with Poli, Honda and Bonera combining well down the right flank. It's just a matter of wasting time for the away side now, but the Rossoblu's gallant players are determined to rally once more.
There are four minutes of stoppage time!
OFFSIDE Balotelli races through towards Perin's goal, but the linesman's flag is held aloft, much to the former Man City striker's disgust. Genoa still have some time to find their elusive equaliser, but it is vanishing fast!
Yellow Card Christian Abbiati
GILARDINO! Great last ditch block from Mexes! The experienced Italy international manages to squeeze himself free of the Frenchman, pulled back the trigger, but found the former Roma defender sliding in to prevent his eventual effort from reaching its intended target!
The home fans are vociferously urging their side forward, desperate for an equaliser which the Rossolu certainly deserve. They're appealing for every decision, hoping that their sustained second half pressure might finally pay off. Five minutes to go of normal time!
Balotelli goes down injured and doesn't look too happy with the referee's decision to let play continue! De Maio came through the back of the Italian, within full view of the official, but he looks okay to continue. Looked to stay down just to prove a point!
Less than ten minutes remain and both teams are looking like they've got a goal left in them! Milan are streaming forward, as they try to kill off the game with a third goal, but that inevitably leaves the visitors slightly light at the back.
TAARABT! The Morocco international is claiming for handball, after his long-range effort was denied from heading beyond the wrongfooted Perin! The rebounding ball falls to Bonera, who strikes from 20 yards, but it's straight at the Genoa shot-stopper! Brilliant entertainment!
CENTURION! The Argentine tries his luck from 20 yards, but can only fire an effort within the grasp of Abbiati, who gets down smartly to his left hand side. Genoa continue to push forward desperately!
Kaka looks to poke a through ball through for Taarabt, but the Milan goalscorer is felled by an excellent challenge by Burdisso. Perin races off his goalline to pick up the pieces, despite Balotelli lurking.
Montolivo doggedly works down the right hand side, before flighting in a cross which is denied by a near post defensive header. The away side are trying to push out and support their newly inserted star striker, but there's certainly a risk of the Rossoneri overcommitting and being punished.
This game has almost been turned on its head! Milan were cruising at 2-0 but following Motta's goal, pressure is certainly mounting on the away side. Seedorf is continuing to give his players instructions, calling over Rami in the hope of providing some inspiration for his slightly besieged defender.
GREAT SAVE ABBIATI! MEXES CLEARS ON THE LINE! It's goalmouth madness for Milan, who somehow escape without conceding again! Bertolacci takes the first shot, before Motta is denied by a header from Mexes!
Balotelli makes his way onto the field, with Pazzini the man replaced. This game has sprung back into life, with Balotelli offering a new threat for Genoa to deal with. The visitors can't afford to sit back and hope that they can absorb pressure from the Rossoblu.
Own Goal Christian Abbiati
Balotelli strips off on the sidelines and it appears that Milan's star striker is going to be given a run out. He's been suffering from an illness over the past few days, but Seedorf seems to think that the Italy international is in a good enough state to feature in the remaining quarter of an hour or so.
Twenty minutes left on the clock and Milan's lead still looks unassailable. Despite plenty of possession and opportunities, Gasperini's men look no closer to putting the ball beyond Abbiati. The visitors are remaining solid, with Rami and Mexes able to deal with whatever Gilardino can produce from his lone striking position.
Based off his first couple of touches since returning to the field, Constant should be fine to continue. Honda has been having some luck down the right in the second half, skipping past Antonelli quite easily at times.
Marchese swings a cross towards the back post, but it skips straight out of play and behind for a goal kick. He looks over to the substitutes bench in an exasperated fashion, frustrations are rising a bit. Constant returns to the field and appears to be willing to try and complete the 90 minutes.
Constant is down injured following a clash of heads with Motta, with a stretcher being readied for the Ghanaian. He won't need it, but he looks to be in considerable pain and might have to be checked over for concussion before he can be thrown back into the fray.
ANTONELLI! The wing-back finds himself in the opposition penalty area, after being slipped through on goal wonderfully. He drives to the byeline before trying to cut the ball back into the path of Gilardino, but Rami is on hand to hook the cross clear of goal!
Half an hour remains, with Gasperini looking to make his first substitution of the match. Genoa have looked dangerous going forward, but nothing is giving for the home side. They've had chance after chance, but just haven't been able to convert.
SCULLI! The Genoa forward is fed a cross from merely six yards out, but can't turn it towards goal! Instead, the Italian nods the ball directly down into the turf in front of him! That's the biggest chance that the Rossoblu have had this half!
HONDA! The goalscorer whips a teasing cross into the six yard box, but nobody is there to meet it, with the ball zipping off the turf and just wide of the far post. Perin was a spectator! Genoa break upfield as a result, but Abbiati isn't tested once again, with a tame effort.
Important interception from Mexes! The Frenchman steps in smartly to deny Fetfatzidis' pass from sliding through to the advancing Gilardino, before the former Roma man clears his lines. Milan are two goals to the good, despite Genoa looking the much more dangerous side.
Assist Adel Taarabt
Goal Keisuke Honda
GOOOOOOAL! MILAN DOUBLE THEIR LEAD THROUGH HONDA! The Japan international races through on goal, clipping the ball over Perin delicately, with two retreating defenders unable to prevent it from crossing the line! The Rossoneri lead 2-0!
Sturaro is sent sprawling into the advertising hoardings at the edge of the pitch, as a result of a rather clumsy challenge from Taarabt. He returns to his feet after ten seconds curled up on the ground, but the referee wasn't interested in the Genoa midfielder's plight whatsoever.
DE MAIO! The central defender rises brilliantly in the centre of the Milan penalty area, meeting a Bertolacci free-kick with ease. He can only dip the ball narrowly over the crossbar, with Abbiati having his angles covered. Another good chance goes begging.
FETFATZIDIS! The former Olympiakos man goes on yet another dangerous run, before it ends in the Greek forward cracking a 25-yard effort straight at Abbiati! The experienced goalkeeper can't catch the ball, due to the shot being far too powerful, and Genoa manage to pick up the scraps.
Bertolacci lifts a long ball in search of Motta, with the midfield looking to flick the ball into the path of Gilardino. He gets it all wrong, however, diverting it behind for a Milan goal kick.
Genoa have started the second half as they ended the first! The Rossoblu are dominant, with De Maio rocketing a long-range effort into the midriff of Constant, before Abbiati is forced into his first save of the second 45 minutes.
The second half was momentarily delayed, as Seedorf had to run across the field to make his way back to his bench! Given his recent playing experience at Botafogo, it's not hard to imagine that he could indeed still do a job on the pitch.
We're back underway in the second half! Taarabt's goal is the only thing to separate the two sides, with these next 45 minutes promising to hold plenty of shots and chances, if the first half was anything to go by.
Be sure to rejoin us in 15 minutes for all of the second-half action, as the home side try to overturn a Rossoneri lead which appears unassailable. Despite heavy pressure in the first half, the Rossoblu just haven't been able to find a way to penetrate Milan's desperate defending.
Shots have rained in on Abbiati's goal, with plenty of corners and rushed clearances forming something of a 20 minute storm for Milan. They've managed to come out of the other side, despite Bonera filling in for De Sciglio at right-back, allowing for Seedorf to instil some additional confidence into his players during the break.
HALF TIME! The referee calls time on a half of two halves, as a strong Milan start has been cancelled out by plenty of Genoa pressure. Taarabt's goal is still the difference between the two sides, but Gasperini's men will be wondering how they haven't drawn themselves level.
MARCHESE! The defender marauds forward, eventually firing a long-range effort towards goal, but Abbiati is easily able to smother the attempt and waste a few seconds by lying motionless guarding his new captive.
It's all Genoa! Milan can't get out of their own box, it's corner after corner! The Rossoneri eventually escape as a foul is given for a challenge on Abbiati. The referee's whistle for the half-time break can't come soon enough for Seedorf's side!
Important header from Constant! The left-back manages to cover at the back post, to nod a back post delivery away from the awaiting forehead of Gilardino! The rebound is fizzed back into the box, with Mexes riskily putting the ball wide of his own post!
BERTOLACCI! It's another effort from range, but De Jong gets in the way to deflect the ball behind for a corner. Genoa are building some pressure, but Milan are currently weathering the storm. Plenty of shots and set pieces for the hosts.
SIDE NETTING! Motta fires narrowly wide of the near post, but the linesman's flag was up for offside anyway! The whole passage of play came from the mazy dribbling of Fetfatzidis yet again, who has drifted off the right flank brilliantly so far.
BERTOLACCI! Genoa are getting closer! The midfielder cuts in from the left flank, using his right-foot to hammer a low drive narrowly wide of the far post! Abbiati was unsighted and scrambled desperately across his goal-line, but the veteran was relieved to see the Italian's effort thud into the advertising hoardings.
FETFATZIDIS! The Greek forward has an effort from the edge of the box, but it's deflected, looping to the back post. A Genoa man is present, squaring the ball back into the centre of the penalty box, but Rami is on hand to hoof the cut-back away!
Bertolacci has an ambitious attempt from range, but Abbiati is easily equal to it. Genoa have struggled to threaten offensively, with Gilardino and Sculli forced into trying to con the referee into giving penalties.
Good defensive header from Pazzini! The lone striker situates himself at the near post and rises well to nod away a near post corner delivery. Constant chases down the rebound, forcing Genoa all the way back to their own half to start again.
Half an hour in and Milan continue to look good value for their lead. Fetfatzidis and Sturaro have had half chances for the home side, but it has been Taarabt who has pulled the strings for Milan. Marchese is constantly being worried by his marker, who has displayed some lovely touches.
Yellow Card Luca Antonelli
Yellow card for Antonelli, with the Genoa forward enraged. He made a late challenge on Bonera, but clearly feels that the Milan defender made more of the tackle than there was. During the break in play, Kaka heads over to Seedorf to receive some additional instructions.
Genoa are happy to hold onto possession for once, with Milan getting a little frustrated with a few of the hosts' challenges. Gilardino throws himself to the ground dramatically, trying to earn a penalty from the presence of Mexes, but again the referee isn't interested.
STURARO! Great move from the midfielder, who weaves in between two Milan players, avoiding a sliding challenge, before unleashing a powerful right-footed drive! It cannons of a Milan defender, before striking the Genoa man once more, resulting in the ball heading behind for a goal-kick.
Tempers rise a little, as Pazzini is penalised for a foul, after the lone striker believes he was manhandled in the build-up to his supposed offence. The referee isn't interested though, despite the Milan forward doing his best impression of innocence.
Genoa try to take the ball straight up the other end to strike back, but an aimless cross is cushioned back to Abbiati by a composed Constant. Milan are ahead and look fairly comfortable, so long as both Mexes and Rami are able to keep tabs on Gilardino.
Goal Adel Taarabt
GOOOOOOOAL! TAARABT SMASHES THE GAME'S OPENER INTO THE BOTTOM LEFT CORNER! It's a good finish and Genoa give the Morocco international too much space, allowing for him to shift the ball out of his feet and arrow a low drive beyond the helpless Perin! Milan lead 1-0!
GILARDINO! The experienced striker is picked out by a lofted pass from deep, but Rami and Mexes follow their man all of the way, with the former diverting the pass behind for a corner. The set piece is whipped in and cleared at the front post, before Sculli arcs a terrible long-range effort high and wide.
Genoa are starting to grow back into the game slightly, pushing up out of their own half with their central defensive pairing able to sit on the half-way line. Milan's dominance was good to watch while it lasting, but yet again the Rossoneri were unable to take their chances to stand themselves in good stead. They would have been good value for an early lead.
Fetfatzidis works his way down the right, using a slick step-over to carve out a yard of space to cross the ball, but Constant manages to half-block his intended delivery. The loose ball skips off the turf and into the grasp of Abbiati, with the experienced goalkeeper having his first touch of the game.
Sculli went down in the penalty area, under the challenge of Mexes, but it was a bit ambitious for the Genoa forward to ask for a penalty. There wasn't a great deal of contact, with the Italian throwing himself to the ground rather dramatically, which didn't help his cause either.
Sculli sends in a dangerous low cross from the left, which evades the boot of Mexes, but Rami is able to clear up the scraps. Genoa are having to pick their moments carefully, as their 4-3-3 does allow for them to break, but Milan are doing a good job of exerting control in central midfield.
Milan are very much the dominant force, with Genoa doing all of the early chasing. Gasperini is barking out instructions, but the Rossoneri are looking fairly good. Despite a lack of penetration, they've kept the ball very well, with Taarabt their current bright spark on the left.
Taarabt leaves the field momentarily to change his boots, with his previous footwear not giving him the traction he required. His first contribution in his new boots is to race down the left, before whipping in an excellent back post cross. Pazzini rises well, but can't quite reach the delivery.
Fetfatzidis is almost extremely lucky, with a rebounding ball turned into the path of the Greek forward, who races into the 18-yard box. Mexes covers across excellently to deny the former Olympiakos man, with Genoa's first real attack coming to nothing.
PAZZINI! A great clipped ball from Montolivo looks to float over Antonelli and into the path of the Milan striker, who instead opts to flick the lofted ball on into the path of Honda. Marchese is on hand to clear the danger, however, with the Japan international not even given a sniff.
The first five minutes have passed, with Genoa unable to get out of their own half. All of the intensity has been coming from Milan, with the home crowd keen to boo and jeer the opposition who are holding the ball patiently.
Seedorf's side continue their good start, with Genoa forced back into their own half. Constant and Honda have both been able to drive forward and beat their men, but possession has mostly been maintained in the midfield third, with Pazzini looking somewhat isolated.
A frantic start from Milan, who are keen to impose themselves on the game early on. Honda pulls off a wonderful Cruyff turn to wrongfoot De Maio, but a long spell of possession ends in nothing for the away side, as a crossfield ball is too heavy for Constant to reach.
We are underway in the first half! Seedorf's men will be hoping to make it three wins in a row with victory here tonight, while Genoa will be hoping to end the season strongly in front of their own fans. With Milan missing a couple of key faces, the home side might just fancy their chances of a win.
Be sure to stick around for all of the action, as we have merely 15 minutes to wait before kick-off. Milan may be playing for pride and reputation, given Parma's shock win over Napoli yesterday, but plenty is still expected of new boss Seedorf. Genoa have nothing to lose, as shown through their continued use of a 4-3-3, which could cause a make-shift Rossoneri back four some problems.
Milan substitutes: Amelia, Robinho, Saponara, Birsa, Poli, Zapata, Abate, Cristante, Emanuelson, Balotelli, Gabriel, Zaccardo.
Milan starting line-up: Abbiati; Bonera, Mexes, Rami, Constant; De Jong, Montolivo; Honda, Kaka, Taarabt; Pazzini.
Genoa substitutes: Antonini, Gamberini, Cofie, Calaio, Centurion, De Ceglie, Bizzarri, Konate, Cabral, Portanova.
Genoa starting line-up: Perin; Marchese, Antonelli, Burdisso, De Maio; Bertolacci, Motta, Sturaro; Sculli, Gilardino, Fetfatzidis.
TEAM NEWS: Mario Balotelli misses out through illness, but is able to take a seat on the bench, to be called upon if Milan are in dire need of an offensive catalyst. Giampaolo Pazzini, therefore, leads the line, with Kaka, Taarabt and Honda in support. No De Sciglio means that Bonera is called in at right-back. Injury absentees include Essien, Muntari and El Shaarawy, but the visitors are boosted by the return of Montolivo to the starting line-up and Andrea Poli to the bench.
TEAM NEWS: Alberto Gilardino, Giuseppe Sculli and Ioannis Fetfatzidis are deployed in attack for Gasperini's side, who are showing no fear in the face of fallen giants Milan. Ex-Milan defender Luca Antonini can only feature on the bench for the home side, with the highly-rated Mattia Perin looking to frustrate tonight's visiting side.
I'm Simon Harrison and I will be keeping you updated with all of the action from Stadio Comunale Luigi, where Milan will be making a bid to salvage their season and push up towards the higher reaches of the table. Both clubs are safe from the threat of relegation, but will want to show their fans a strong finish to the Serie A campaign. Seedorf, needless to say, is under considerable pressure, with the Rossoneri hierachy expecting to see progress.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of tonight's late Serie A kick-off, as Clarence Seedorf's Milan outfit travel to face Genoa, with only three points separating the two sides. The hosts aren't afraid to have a go at visiting teams, which could prove problematic for the Rossoneri, given that they're missing young talent Mattia De Sciglio at full-back. Though they enter this match off the back of two consecutive wins, Milan will need to put in an efficient performance to take home a share of the spoils.
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