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May 1, 2011
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: A. De Marco
• Attendance: 52000
ALL OVER IN MILAN!!! The league leaders have held on and taken the three points. They go eight points clear of Inter. It was not a vintage performance and indeed they did the absolute minimum to win but they take an important victory courtesy of Mathieu Flamini's eighth minute winner. Thanks for joining us today. Until next time, Arrivederci.
90' + 3'
Again, Beretta takes too long before Britos hacks the ball behind his own goal with Robinho sniffing about. Corner for Milan. Seconds to play now...
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Emiliano Viviano
90' + 2'
Robinho misses after being flagged for offside but curiously he receives no booking for dissent. What must Della Rocca be thinking?! Last minute now and Portanova goes down inside the box but no penalty!
90' + 1'
Milan scrap the ball away somehow - by hook or by crook. Mario Yepes is going to come on to shore up the defence for the last few minutes and also to wind down the clock. A hairy moment for Abbiati as Jimenez helped the ball on and the bounce almost defeated the goalkeeper who did recover in time.
Almost the big moment for Beretta who had the chance to take the ball on further but instead shot with two defenders slightly behind and to the right of him. His low left-footed effort was drilled straight at Viviano. Beretta's introduction has lifted Milan. Three minutes of stoppage time and Bologna have a corner...
Seedorf evades two challenges superbly before laying the ball back to Pirlo. He floats the ball into the box where Britos heads it behind under pressure from Seedorf with Beretta also lurking at the back post.
Milan have a spring in their step now and Beretta with the orange boots just takes too long as he breaks into the penalty box on the left-hand side but his side do have a throw.
Ambrosini wins a free-kick, which is delayed as Milan carry out the change. Cassano, who has not had the greatest of afternoons, is nevertheless applaudede as he comes off for Giacomo Beretta.
A huge sigh of relief was felt by all in the San Siro, the visiting fans and players excepted. There is a cheer from the stands as Beretta readies himself to come on.
It was not the greatest of challenges from behind on Nesta but in no way did Della Rocca deserve a red card. More suspension problems for the visitors. If we had seen such refereeing in the Champions League, El Clasico would have had to have been abandoned!
Red Card Francesco Della Rocca
RED CARD BOLOGNA! Della Rocca cannot believe that he has been handed a straight red card and his team-mates are surrounding the referee. That looks to be an incredibly harsh decision to say the least. He looked to have won the ball but he has to depart the field of play.
Finally, Allegri chooses to act and he removes the industrious Boateng from the field of play. In his stead comes Andrea Pirlo, who receives a warm welcome onto the field.
JUST WIDE! Milan's defence is as static as its attack. Della Rocca's left-footed outswinging corner finds Portanova, who leaps above the Milan defence but directs his header just wide of the post. Abbiati was not getting near it!
Di Vaio is forced to chase scraps as the cross from the right is too long but for once Robinho gets back to retrieve the ball. He has been rather lazy in this second half after missing the chance to make it 2-0. Bologna win a corner after the linesman overrules the referee.
Abbiati has to make a save, which is novel. The shot from Ramirez may have been heading wide in any case but the Milan goalkeeper was quickly across to his left and held on with both hands. Nice lay off from Di Vaio to tee up the Bologna substitute.
And Milan could so easily have been punished for their slackness there! Abbiato was rooted to the spot as a free header is flashed wide by Cherubin, who then puts his hands to his head. It was not that close but it should have been!
Zambrotta drills the ball into the box without looking up and it bounces several times on its way to Viviano. Robinho and Cassano made no effort to get into the box, indeed they are strutting around like primadonnas.
Milan playing in front of a well-organised Bologna rearguard and they are static upfront - devoid of movement and anything a little unpredictable.
A woefully underhit pass from Cassano lets Bologna in but the low cutback into the middle is behind Di Vaio allowing Ambrosini to sweep up. The home fans did not take well to that error from Cassano, which could have been costly.
Bologna are preparing their third and final change with the Uruguayan Gimenez coming on for Albin Ekdal.
Abate is fouled down the right but Milan choose to take the free-kick short and keep possession instead of launching the ball into the box. Emanuelson may be a good option on the bench to inject a little more urgency into the home side's play. Indeed, he is warming up as is the young striker Beretta.
Di Vaio almost has a sniff of goal after a quickly taken throw-in almost catches the Milan defence off guard but yet again Abate is there wide awake and he gets enough on the ball to avert the danger and deny the visitors.
Britos does well to use his strength and outmuscle Cassano as the striker looks to get to the by-line and beat the defender around the outside. He wants a penalty but that was top work from Britos, who is attracting the attention of a few clubs.
The two substitutions have made little difference in terms of creating chances for Bologna and again we see a superb piece of defending from Thiago Silva, who nicks the ball away from Di Vaio, who has been remarkably anonymous this afternoon.
Viviano is forced into a rushed clearance and not for the first time this afternoon as his defence put him under pressure. Abate will take the throw on the right. Milan could really do with a goal to settle the nerves once again.
Yellow Card Kevin-Prince Boateng
Boateng expresses his frustration but in the wrong way as he is booked for a sliding lunge on Mutarelli.
Milan looked as if they had got a corner when Viviano tipped a backward header over the bar. Boateng urges the home crowd in, sensing that his team are in need of inspiration. The league leaders are rather flat since the break, that previous chance from Robinho notwithstanding.
Yellow Card Gaby Mudingayi
ROBINHO WIDE! Advantage is played after Mudingayi's foul on Boateng. Cassano rolled the ball into the path of Robinho, in a carbon copy of his goal last week but the striker sliced his shot wide off the covering defender. Mudingayi is booked for his earlier foul.
Bologna looking more assertive in the second half but they are still to test Abbiati and cannot keep the ball well enough. Milan betray their nerves as Boateng's through ball for Flamini takes a nick of Portanova and it skips back to Viviano.
Boateng takes offence to a challenge inside the box but Milan have to settle for a corner after some bright play from Cassano, who finally came to life. Robinho's corner is awful and grossly overhit. Seedorf cannot keep it in and Bologna have a throw. This one goal lead is looking ever slender by the minute.
Excellent work from Milan deep in their own half as Abate nonchalantly helps the ball forward to Flamini, earning him a round of applause. Robinho is fouled by Britos and though Milan take the free-kick quickly, play is called back, which is just as well as Robinho gifted the ball to Ramirez.
Thiago Silva with a rare slip as he cedes the ball to Mutarelli but the long ball forward in the direction of Di Vaio is nodded back to Abbiati by Abate, who was marked out as a key player by Allegri before today and he has had a good game down the right flank.
Francesco Della Rocca
Ramirez and Della Rocca come on for Rubin and Meggiorini as the Bologna coach Malesani looks to shake things up somewhat.
Yellow Card Riccardo Meggiorini
Ramires and Della Rocca are getting ready to come on for the visitors. Abate surges down the right but before he can do anything decisive, he is foiled by the Bologna defence. Milan win a free-kick 35 yards out when Zambrotta is fouled by Meggiorini who is booked and he too will miss next week's clash with Parma.
Initially, neat combination play between Cassano and Seedorf but the Dutchman's final ball lets him down as he plays it far too far in front of the former Bari and Real Madrid man, who has been linked with Napoli in the Italian press of late.
Another fine exhibition of the art of defending from Thiago Silva who reads the ball into Rubin, intercepts the ball and takes it away from his man before passing the ball forward. Bologna come again and Di Vaio does well to keep the ball in on the left but his back post cross is collected by Seedorf, who turns defence into attack. Bologna more at the races this second half.
The free-kick strikes the wall and still Abbiati has nothing to do today. In spite of that, he was the first Milan player out after the half-time interval. Bologna need to make more of the opportunities Milan present them with.
Robinho comes forward and he waits and waits before eventually squaring the ball leftwards for Seedorf, who gets the ball stuck underneath his feet and Bologna can clear. The visitors counter and Zambrotta concedes a free-kick on the edge of his own obox with a clumsy trip on Mutarelli.
Welcome back for the second half. Bologna's players were out a good few minutes before their Milan counterparts. Milan chasing their fifth consecutive win and their 23rd win of the season as they march towards an 18th Scudetto. Andrea Di Marco blows his whistle and we are away. Both sides unchanged.
That is half-time in the San Siro and Milan are good value for their 1-0 lead, courtesy of a good goal from Mathieu Flamini. Antonio Cassano should have made it 2 but he is lacking in confidence at the moment. Join us in 15 minutes for the second half. Milan on course to go eight clear again.
Bologna with a decent spell of play here down the right, even if it lacks a little tempo. Milan are looking solid in defence and Boateng wins the ball back. Robinho tees up Flamini who bust a gut to break into the penalty box but this time when he is denied by the legs of Viviano, the rebound does not fall to the Frenchman. Instead, Boateng shoots over.
Yellow Card Massimo Mutarelli
Mutarelli is handed a yellow card after chasing down the right-hand side and catching Thiago Silva with a late challenge. He will miss next week's derby game with Parma.
Milan have taken the lead 26 times this season and won 22 of those games and drawn the other four so they home fans should be confident of the league leaders holding on at the very least.
Seedorf tries to thread the eye of a needle and find Ambrosini but Mutarelli cuts it out, anticipating the Dutchman's intentions. Bologna counter with a long ball forward to Di Vaio, who is frustrated at correctly being flagged for offside.
Meggiorini lets fly on his left foot but his shot is blocked before Abate hurriedly clears. It looked as if the ball had then crossed the goal-line but Bologna kept it in play though Nesta and Thiago Silva dealt with it eventually.
Seedorf's deliberately overhit pass skips out Cassano and finds Robinho unmarked on the right. He picks out the perfectly timed run into the box of Boateng but the cross had too much on it and Boateng can only head well wide and high of the goal.
Prince looks to play a swinging cross into the box but the ball flies over the top. Milan are lacking a presence inside the 18-yard area, someone like an Ibrahimovic, who will return next week. Seedorf is having a field day picking the ball up in space in midfield. Meanwhile, a loose pass almost lets in Di Vaio but Nesta tidies up for Milan after Abate's lapse in concentration.
Mutarelli with what looks to be a fair if tough challenge on Boateng although he does not get the benefit of any doubt as he also took some of the man. He bites back at the referee and he has more than a point on this occasion.
Milan swarming all over Bologna now. Cassano could not work the space for a shot. The ball was worked for Seedorf whose cross was not cleared convincingly by Britos. Flamini screams to Cassano to get out of the way as he wants to shoot and when he does, he skies the ball over the top having been distracted.
Mutarelli is caught by Robinho who had lost the ball in trying to be too intricate. Cassano has had that wonderful chance to score but in general play he has been rather quiet and disappointing in truth. A player who is anything but is Thiago Silva, with a wonderful interception to swipe the ball away from Di Vaio.
Oohs and aahs from the crowd as Boateng almost slides the ball through to Robinho, hockey style, but his pass is cut out. Milan have not quite gone on since their opening goal but they are still in control of this game.
Bologna are aiming to enjoy a decent spell of possession but the likes of Boateng is pressing high up the pitch in the midfield and not allowing them to get into any kind of rhythm. Seedorf is penalised for a foul on Portanova, who tried to bring the ball forward out of defence.
Seedorf is having a good game in midfield and his work down the left enables him to cross into the middle, where Bologna get it away. Milan are stretching the visitors, using the full width of the pitch. Lovely first-time play with Cassano and Robinho almost opens up Bologna but the defence recover and get it behind for a corner.
Abate plugs away down the right before coming back inside on his weaker left. His cross is headed away but lazy Bologna defending hands another chance to Milan. Boateng robs Meggiorini crosses low into the area from the left only for Britos to make a vital block.
After Ambrosini's foul on Di Vaio, Bologna have a free-kick in a good position on the left. Di Vaio whips it in with his right foot, where Ambrosini heads it away in the centre of the penalty box. Zambrotta is unable to start a counter but Milan soon recover the ball back.
Thiago Silva cleverly draws a foul from the energetic Meggiorini who barges the Brazilian to the crowd, this relieving the pressure on the home side. Bologna starting to look a little brighter now if not exactly dangerous.
Mutarelli is too strong for Cassano who looks to come down the left-hand side from a Milan throw. Bologna counter with Ekdal who is denied by a last-ditch challenge from Thiago Silva, who covers for another Ambrosini slip before Silva then blocks Muntarelli's attempted cross from the right.
This time Cassano is flagged for offside as he peels away from the defence down the left-hand side. Milan are the only side with three goalscorers in double figures this season though Cassano is not one. Pato, Robinho and Ibrahimovic are the three.
Muntarelli finds Di Vaio who lays it off for the midfielder but he loses it and Milan counter. Robinho breaks forward and instead of finding Boateng on the right, he goes for the long-range shoot and his effort is blocked by Portanova. For the record, Pippo Inzaghi is in the stands today as he continues his recovery from injury.
BIG CHANCE FOR MILAN! Cassano was all alone inside the penalty box after springing the offside trap. After controlling the ball, he could only shoot straight at Viviano before looking all around him hoping that the offside trap would save him a great deal of embarrassment.
Cassano picks the ball up on the left and makes his intentions clear to pass the ball inside on his right foot. However, he picks out Mudingayi on the edge of the penalty box.
Terrific skill from Robinho before Boateng is taken out by Poranova just as he looks to work up a head of steam. Meggiorini is also given a stern telling off for his earlier challenge by the referee.
Seedorf plays a neat one-two with Boateng before Mudingayi nips that attack in the bud. Milan come again and Meggiorini piles in with an agricultural challenge on Ambrosini, which the veteran midfielder did not appreciate.
Good pressing from Mudingayi initially and then Meggiorini as Ambrosini, returning to the side from injury, was caught napping but he was bailed out by Zambrotta who cleared the ball out of play.
Di Vaio looks to come forward and combine with Rubin but his return ball is short and cut out by Thiago Silva. Bologna are lacking any fluency at the moment and are finding it hard to get control of the ball. Milan spreading the ball around nicely, buoyed by the first goal.
The visitors will undoubtedly look to Marco di Vaio, who has 19 goals this season and indeed the veteran has scored more goals than any other individual out there on the field of play today.
It is the twelfth goal that Bologna have conceded in the opening quarter and it is a strike, which will settle Milan's nerves. Magnificent individual quality from Flamini of all people, whose pace and industry exposed a flat footed Bologna rearguard. Bologna have not scored in their last three games but they need a goal today!
Goal Mathieu Flamini
GOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL MILAN!!! MATHIEU FLAMINI PUTS THE LEAGUE LEADERS AHEAD!!!!!!! Brilliant goal from the Frenchman!!!!!!! A terrific individual burst through the Bologna defence! His first shot was saved by Viviano, who was slow to come off his line but the rebound ricocheted to Flamini, who slid the ball home into the unguarded net!
Abate gallops forward before spreading the ball wide to Flamini. His cross is blocked before he receives the ball back. It is noticeable how wide Flamini is playing, he'll have some chalk on his boots come the end of this clash if this keeps up as the saying goes.
Ambrosini cuts a long ball forward out in the midfield but Milan are unable to make the most of the counter as Flamini sees his progress down the right halted by Cherubin, who has made a good start to this match.
Meggiorini is taken out down on the right hand side by Nesta as he looks to get to the by-line. It was a forceful sliding tackle from the side by the veteran centre-half who got nowhere near the ball however no foul is given.
Both sides are looking very committed so far with Meggiorini barging into Zambrotta. The home side have the best defence in Serie A despite missing Alessandro Nesta for large parts of the campaign.
Almost a defensive mix up as Bologna cede the ball in their own half allowing Cassano to thread the ball in behind looking for the run of Robinho. Viviano got there and cleared the ball away. Milan then win a corner through Robinho, which is taken short before being headed away at the near post. Good pressure from the hosts.
Good pressure from Flamini on Cherubin down Bologna's left but the Frenchman is a little too enthusiastic and commits a foul on Bologna's left-back.
We're underway in Milan on a bright, sunny day in the north of Italy. Bologna kick us off in white shirts and black shorts. Milan are in their signature red and black stripes.
Bologna: Viviano - Moras, Portanova, Britos, Cherubin - Mutarelli, Mudingayi - Meggiorini, Ekdal, Rubin - Di Vaio. Subs: Lupatelli, Morleo, Casarini, Della Rocca, Ramirez, Gimenez, Paponi
Milan: Abbiati - Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta - Flamini, Ambrosini, Seedorf - Boateng - Robinho, Cassano. Subs: Amelia, Bonera, Yepes, Strasser, Pirlo, Emanuelson, Beretta
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of the clash between AC Milan and Bologna. There may already be talk about signing the likes of Taye Taiwo and Philippe Mexes for next season but Milan still have a Scudetto to tie up and they will want to finish the season with a flourish. Bologna look to have just enough to escape the intense relegation battle but they will want to ensure the end of their season is no more difficult than necessary.
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