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Serie A

  • October 23, 2011
  • • 11:30
  • • Stadio Comunale Via del Mare, Lecce
  • Referee: S. Peruzzo
  • • Attendance: 13300
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Lecce 3-4 AC Milan: Champions fight back from 3-0 down thanks to Boateng's sensational 14-minute hat-trick and Yepes' late clincher

With the Rossoneri seemingly dead and buried at half-time due to the hosts 3-0 advantage, they somehow managed to turn the game on its head with a stunning second-half comeback

AC Milan shocked Lecce by coming back from three goals down at the interval to secure a stunning 4-3 win at Stadio Via del Mare on Sunday afternoon.

The Rossoneri's last win at the southern venue came on January 5 2002, but first-half goals from Guillermo Giacomazzi, Massimo Oddo and Carlos Grossmuller suggested this was not a feat that was likely to be repeated.

However, an awe-inspiring 14-minute hat-trick from Kevin-Prince Boateng and a late winner from Mario Yepes ensured that the Serie A champions would shatter the nine-year away hoodoo and temporarily propel themselves up to fifth in the table.

Perhaps emboldened by the knowledge that history was on their side, the hosts surged forward relentlessly in the opening stages in search of an early goal.

And their efforts were rewarded after just four minutes when Grossmuller’s inswinging free-kick from wide on the left was nodded into the net by Giacomazzi, who had nipped in ahead of the unaware Yepes.

While it would have been easy for Lecce to try and shut up shop and protect their advantage, they had other ideas and continued their relentless pursuit of goals.

A well-deserved second arrived on the half-hour mark when Milan loanee Oddo fired a spot-kick into Christian Abbiati’s top right-hand corner to further punish the goalkeeper after he had given away the penalty with a clumsy foul on Daniele Corvia.

For their part, Milan had a few half chances, with Antonio Nocerino heading over from close range before drawing a fine save from Massimiliano Benassi with a dipping volley from the edge of the box.

However, there was never any doubt as to who the more threatening side were. That feeling was underlined in the 37th minute when Grossmuller punished some woeful defending by Luca Antonini, latching onto his short back-pass to prod the ball beyond the advancing Abbiati and give his side an unexpected three-goal half-time lead.

Massimiliano Allegri made a double change at the break, introducing Alberto Aquilani and Boateng in place of Massimo Ambrosini and Robinho to try and swing the game back in his favour, but even he would have had no idea how effective one change in particular would be.

Boateng made an instant impact, giving his side hope by rifling a stunning half-volley beyond Benassi to make it 3-1 in the 49th minute.

Then, six minutes later, the Ghanaian really put the cat amongst the pigeons when he lashed Antonio Cassano’s neat lay off high into the net from the edge of the box.

Amazingly, the comeback, and Boateng’s hat-trick, was completed as early as the 63rd minute – just 14 minutes after his first goal. The midfielder was first on the scene after an Ignazio Abate shot was blocked inside the box, and proceeded to force a side-footed effort at goal from an acute angle. Somehow, the ball managed to squirm past Benassi and over the line to restore parity.

After the scores were levelled, Milan seemed to drop the tempo and look for a winner in a more cautious manner. But it seemed inevitable that it would come, and it did through the unlikeliest of sources in the 83rd minute.

Yepes, who was at fault for the first goal, redeemed himself by popping up at the far post to nod Cassano’s intelligent lofted pass into the net and spark scenes of wild celebration amongst the men in white.

The sides return to league action again in midweek due to a full programme of league fixtures. Milan host Parma at Giuseppe Meazza on Wednesday, October 26, while Lecce travel south-west to face Palermo in Sicily the following night.

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