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Italy - Serie A
August 24, 2013
• Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
Referee: G. Calvarese
• Attendance: 25164
L. Toni 30', 53'
A. Poli 15'
Well what a result that was. I for one did not see that coming, but that is all from me this evening. My name is Tom Webber and it has been an absolute pleasure to guide you through this Serie A clash. Have a great night.
FULL TIME - Verona 2-1 Milan: A Luca Toni double gives the newly-promoted side an opening day victory after an 11 year absence from the top flight, despite Andrea Poli's opener. Allegri will now be desperate for progression in the Champions League qualifier with PSV in midweek.
90' + 5'
Rafael comes out and misses it but no one can stick in the loose ball and the referee calls for full time!
90' + 5'
Balotelli wins a free kick down by the corner flag after a foul by Albertazzi. This is Milan's last chance.
90' + 4'
The Rossoneri are looking to get the ball into the box but there is absolutely no movement inside the area from the strikers.
90' + 3'
Romulo wins a free kick just inside the Milan half after an impressive flick sees him get away from Emanuelson. Verona will take their time with this one.
90' + 1'
We are into the first minute of an additional four.
Yellow Card Mario Balotelli
BALOTELLI IS OUTRAGED!! The striker goes down in the area moments after Cacia nearly puts Verona 3-1 up at the other end. It certainly looks like Moras may have clipped the Italian's ankles inside the area but the referee signals for him to get up. Balotelli is irate and earns a booking for his complaints.
A deep corner is met at the back post by Zapata, who climbs over Hallfredsson to get his head to the ball. It is a tame effort and Rafael saves capably.
Now, now, Mario! The striker fails to keep the ball in play and takes out his frustration by giving the corner flag a good slap. The flag was clearly unaffected as it got straight back up, though!
What a chance! Emanuelson ghosts in at the back post to get a head onto Nocerino's deflected cross and he nods it straight across the goal mouth. Petagna and Robinho are both there but Maietta makes an important clearance over the bar before it reaches either Rossoneri player.
STRONG SAVE!! Rafael does brilliantly to parry a curling effort from Balotelli behind the goal. Top stop from the Brazilian.
A wasted opportunity on the counterattack for the hosts as Romulo's pass to Cacia is far too close to the defender. Will Verona be made to rue failing to convert such opportunities?
GOOD SAVE!! Rafael dives down to his right to get his hands to Montolivo's skidding shot from distance. He fails to hold the ball but there are no Milan players following the effort up! Unbelievable.
Maietta races out of defence and plays a one-two with Toni to get in behind the defence. He tries to beat Zapata to the ball but the centre-back gets across to stop the tiring Verona man from causing any damage.
Balotelli is clearly discontented with the way this game is going. He goes down in the area and although there was no foul, he stays down a bit longer and picks at the grass. Now is not the time for a daisy chain Mario!
WHAT A CHANCE!! Balotelli holds the ball 30 yards from goal and awaits movement in front of him. He spots the run of Robinho across the box and slides a pass to play him in down by the byeline. The Brazilian squares the ball across the face of goal but there is no one there to supply the finishing touch.
Allegri is visibly upset with what he is seeing on the pitch from his side. His substitutions have yet to make any impact on the game and Milan are dangerously close to getting the season off to a disappointing start.
Toni feels he should have been awarded a penalty now too! The striker show immense skill to put the ball through the legs of Zapata but as he turned to get past the player, the pair went to ground. The referee saw nothing amiss and refused to blow his whistle.
Another chance to break for Verona and again it is Romulo who leads the charge. He knocks the ball past Zapata but Cacciatore runs through to get onto it, however the momentum of the attack is lost.
Montolivo lifts a pass into the area but as Petagna looks to bring it down he uses his arm and gives away a free kick. Albertazzi was watching the striker very closely there and stuck his arm up to appeal straight away.
Balotelli claims for a penalty! The striker knocked the ball between the two defenders but was blocked as he looked to retrive it. The referee is unmoved, however, and allows play to continue.
Verona are remaining well-organised here but are beginning to sit deep again when Milan are in possession. Fortunately for them Emanuelson overhits a cross from out on the right which brings the Rossoneri attack to an end.
El Shaarawy and Niang both taken off by Allegri and it is an understandable decision. Neither player has looked to get in behind the opposition defence and they have been both been extremely poor.
Stephan El Shaarawy
What a chance! Constant's ball goes all the way through to Balotelli and Poli at the back post but neither player is able to make a connection before the ball goes out of play.
Good save! Martinho leads the break down the left flank and although he has options in the middle he goes for goal. He does the right thing by looking for the far corner but Abbiati gets a hand to the ball and punches it behind.
Just 30 minutes remaining for Milan to find a way back into this game. They are in danger of getting caught on the break, though.
Good block from Toni! The striker, back to help defend against a corner, gets in the way of Montolivo's effort following a short corner routine from the visitors.
Hallfredsson was stripped and ready to come on but the Verona coach has got him to sit back down on the bench. It proves a good shout as Donati nearly heads in a third for his side from another set play, but he cannot divert his header on target.
Milan are up against it now! This is certainly not what they would have wanted with an important Champions League qualifier coming up in midweek.
Assist Bosko Jankovic
Goal Luca Toni
GOOOOAALL!! LUCA TONI HAS HIS SECOND! Brilliant counterattacking goal from the hosts. Romulo leads the charge and Verona get men over on the break. Jankovic then uses the outside of his boot to bend a cross for Toni at the back post and the striker peels away from Zapata to head home his second.
STUNNING SAVE!! Martinho's delivery from the free kick is fantastic and Jankovic connects with it inside the area. His header looks to be going for the top corner but Abbiati reacts superbly to get a hand to the ball and tip it over.
Yellow Card Cristian Zapata
That is poor from Zapata as he is outpaced by Martinho on the left and gives away a free kick close to the corner flag.
Milan looking to monopolise possession in the early part of this half in an attempt to sap the momentum from the hosts. It will be interesting to see if they try and grab another or hold on for a point.
The second half has begun!
Welcome back! The players are making their way back out onto the pitch so the second half will commence very shortly.
HALF TIME - Verona 1-1 Milan: After a good start in which Poli put the visitors ahead, the Gialloblu showed plenty of fight to find a way back into the game through Toni. Allegri's men have become increasingly disjointed and an excellent second half surely awaits us in 15 minutes. Be sure to join me for it.
45' + 1'
The half-time whistle is blown by the referee.
GOOD HEADER!! Jankovic pings a cross into the area and Toni, running away from goal, manages to get his head to it. His effort goes right down the middle, though, and Abbiati holds it comfortably.
Not so super from Mario! That effort goes flying high over the goal and Rafael has nothing to worry about.
Yellow Card Bosko Jankovic
Another yellow card for Verona, and again it is for a foul on Balotelli. This time it was Jankovic as he tried to get back and help defend. Will the former Manchester City striker go for goal from range again with this free kick?
Milan have become a bit unsettled by Verona's resurgence in the second part of this half. The hosts are not sitting quite as deep as they were in the early stages and they look a more solid defensive unit.
TONI!! The striker thumps a shot at goal from the top of the box and Abbiati is unable to hold it. He pushes the ball out in front of him but Abate is on hand to sweep up the loose ball.
Jorginho is really starting to grow in confidence as Verona begin to get stuck into this game. The crowd are really enjoying this and you cannot blame them.
Jorginho and Martinho combine well, with the later running across the pitch from left to right. As the ball looks to be getting away from him he shoots for goal but Toni is in the way of the effort. It probably would not have worried Abbiati anyway.
That is truly awful defending from Milan. How they could let the main Verona target from the set piece have free reign of the area is beyond me. They paid the full price for such lax defending.
Goal Luca Toni
GOOOOOAALL!! The delivery from the corner kick is brilliant and Toni is left completely unmarked to head the ball past Abbiati from close range.
Cacciatore gets forward and drives in a cross from the right flank for Toni. Mexes intercepts the ball but can only divert it behind for a corner.
That is the first bad pass we have seen from Balotelli. He tries to thread the ball up to Niang but he puts far too much power on it and ends up giving possession away in the form of a goal kick.
Yellow Card Riccardo Montolivo
Montolivo is caught on the ball in midfield by Jorginho and he races forward to try and catch Milan out on the break. Romulo is up in support to his right and that is where he passes, but the Brazilian's shot at goal is blocked. Martinho was in space on the far side and he really should have switched it.
A free kick from the right falls for Martinho outside the area. He controls the ball with his chest and strikes the ball well, hitting it low and true at goal. However, he aims it straight at Abbiati who gets down and holds the effort cleanly.
This ground holds some not-so-fond memories for the Rossoneri. A 5-3 defeat here in May 1973 handed Juventus the Scudetto. It looks like they may get a more positive result today from their impressive start, though.
GREAT EFFORT!! He hits the ball with immense power and minimal spin but it lacks the dip to find the top corner of the goal and instead skims over the bar.
Yellow Card Jorginho
A late challenge from Jorginho on Balotelli gives Milan a free kick in a central area, about 35 yards from goal. It looks like the Italy international is going to go for goal, though!
Constant does well to win the ball of off Jankovic down by the corner flag in the Verona half and he quickly squeezes in a cross. It looks to be heading for Niang but Rafael manages to come out and claim it.
That was poor defending from Cacciatore and Moras. Neither of the pair attempted to put in a challenge as Poli darted through the middle of them to score the opener.
Assist Mario Balotelli
Goal Andrea Poli
GOOOAAALL!! Poli gets the first goal of the new Serie A season! Verona are punished for sitting too deep and Balotelli does well to hold the play before spotting the midifelder's run. He takes one touch and squeezes between two defenders before rolling the ball into the bottom corner.
An important block from Maietta there to stop Niang's shot from testing Rafael after the Milan winger cut inside from the right. Verona try to break through Martinho but he fouls Zapata as he chases the ball down.
Abate busts a lung to get forward an offer an option on the right on the counterattack and Niang eventually plays the ball to him. He attempts to whip a cross behind the defence, towards the back post and Rafael is uanble to deal with it. The loose ball eventually falls to El Shaarawy but he fails to keep his shot down.
GREAT SAVE!! So nonchalant from Balotelli there! He just oozed class as he took one touch before looking to curl the ball into the corner from 25 yards out. Rafael reacted well though and got down to parry the ball aside. Top effort there.
Milan are looking very confident at the other end, though. Passing the ball about smoothly before Mexes looks to penetrate the midfield. He tries to clip a pass over the top for Poli but he overhits it.
Good pressing from Verona here! They pen Milan back inside their own half and a miskick from Zapata hands the hosts a corner from the left.
Good effort from Montolivo, there, but from 30 yards out his shot swerves and rises just over the roof of the goal. Rafael was clearly worried that was going to dip underneath his crossbar.
Milan start off by moving the ball around well but Verona look to counter as they switch the play out to Martinho on the left. He races towards the byeline but decides to cross a bit too early and fails to wrap his foot around the ball and kicks it out of play.
We are under way in Verona!
There have been fears that Balotellit could be the focus of racist abuse this evening, having stoked the rivalry between today's opponents and his home town of Brescia. Hopefully those worries will prove to be unfounded.
The teams are making their way out onto the pitch now so kick off is just a few moments away. Hellas Verona are making their return to the top flight for the first time in 11 years!
Despite having a Champions League qualifier coming up in midweek, Allegri has decided to field his strongest possible XI. The hosts, meanwhile, are not without their own pedigree as former Juventus and Bayern Munich striker Luca Toni leads the line.
Milan (4-3-3): Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Poli, Montolivo, Nocerino; Niang, Balotelli, El Shaarawy.
Verona (4-3-3): Rafael; Albertazzi, Maietta, Moras, Cacciatore; Jorginho, Donati, Romulo; Jankovic, Toni, Martinho.
The teams are in so here is how the pair will line up for their first fixture of the new campaign...
Hello and welcome to Goal's LIVE text commentary on the opening game of the Serie A season as newly-promoted Hellas Verona host domestic giants AC Milan. My name is Tom Webber and I am going to be taking you through all the action this afternoon.
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