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April 28, 2013
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: D. Massa
• Attendance: 36335
M. Flamini 45'
G. Pazzini 74', 77'
M. Balotelli 90'+
N. Legrottaglie 30'
G. Bergessio 65'
That's it for tonight's action from Serie A. Don't forget to stick around for reaction and ratings from Milan's important victory on Goal.com. That's it from me, Harry Slavin, so until next time, goodbye!
FULL-TIME: MILAN 4-2 CATANIA. Fantastic entertainment from San Siro this evening as Milan leave it late to turn it around against their opponents. It took Pazzini's ability to find himself in the right place at the right time to turn this fixture around and the win ensure Milan remain in pole position for that final Champions League berth.
90' + 2'
Penalty Goal Mario Balotelli
GOOOAAALLL!!! BALOTELLI SCORES!!! Super Mario makes no mistake from the spot and he seals the win for Milan.
90' + 1'
PENALTY FOR MILAN!!! Balotelli is fouled and the man himself will step up to seal victory...
Bot teams make another change. Milan make their last, bringing on Niang for Boateng, while the visitors replace Lodi with Ciro Capuano. Not long for either to make an impact.
Yellow Card Giovanni Marchese
Milan may finally have the lead but they're not done. They win another free kick on a dangerous position after Marchese handles Abate's cross. He's booked but luckily there's no further punishment as the ball is cleared from the resulting set piece.
Catania haven't had to push in this match so far. They've done well to wait and take their chances on the break, but they'll have to push on now to get anything out of this fixture.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Substitutions from both sides. A rather disappointed looking El Shaarawy heads off to be replaced by Sulley Muntari while Catania bring on Biagianti for the final ten minutes.
Almost an instant response from the visitors! It's the same combination that brought about their second goal but this time Bergessio can't direct Barrientos' cross on target, his effort looping over as he connects with the ball at an awkward height.
Yellow Card Pablo Barrientos
Yellow Card Mathieu Flamini
Goal Giampaolo Pazzini
GOOAAALLL!!! TWO IN TWO MINUTES FOR PAZZINI!!! What a turnaround! Milan break swiftly yet again and El Shaarawy finds the target this time, only to be foiled by Frison. Once again though, the ball only falls as far as Pazzini and the striker lashes the rebound home, just missing Balotelli who jumps out the way of the ball on the line!
Goal Giampaolo Pazzini
GOOOAAALLL!!! PAZZINI LEVELS!! That is the better side to Balotelli's game. The striker makes space on the edge of the area and is allowed to shift the ball onto his right foot ad shoot. Firson is behind it but he can only palm it back into danger where substitute Pazzini is lurking and he taps home from 6-yards out.
Yellow Card Mario Balotelli
Milan need to be careful their frustration doesn't get the better of them here. Balotelli is in the book for his reaction after not getting a decision.
That is a finish devoid of all confidence. Milan break and a shot is deflected invitingly into the path of El Shaarawy. The striker takes a touch and tees himself up to smash it goalwards but he gets it horribly wrong and fires well wide. You never like to see that.
Catania have never beaten Milan in Serie A since returning to the top flight in 2006. They are only 20 minutes away from ending that jinx.
Allegri changes things up in response to going behind. The ineffective Nocerino leaves the field of play and on comes Giampaolo Pazzini to add more firepower to the front line.
Assist Pablo Barrientos
Goal Gustavo Rubén Bergessio
GOOOAAALLL!! BERGESSIO FIRES CATANIA BACK IN FRONT!! Incredible. They haven't had a sniff all half but one chance and the visitors are back in front. Milan are stretched by a swift move from the back and Pablo Barrientos finds Bergessio who dinks over the onrushing Amelia and into the net before a Daniele Bonera can keep it out. All to do for the hosts once more.
Are the Rossoneri running out of ideas here! They've just tried the same ball three times in two minutes, lobbing the ball over the back line for someone to run on. All three times it's rolled straight through to Frison. Wasted.
I said earlier that El Shaarawy was on a bit of goalscoring drought at the moment but the man on target for the home side tonight has been responsible for three of their last four goals in all competitions. Take a bow Matthieu Flamini!
half an hour to play and much like the first half there is only one side doing all the pressing. Milan have been camped in the opposition half for most of tonight's fixture. Now they need to make it count.
Catania weathered the early storm in the first half and it looks like they might have done it again this half. They currently have possession and are intent on keeping hold of it.
Another great save from Frison! Boateng swings in a corner that finds the near post run of Montolivo. The header is on target and the Catania shot-stopper has to react quickly to tip it behind for another corner kick.
El Shaarawy hasn't scored for Milan since the Milan derby back in February. He looks a little more threatening in the second half tonight but he's yet to see clear-cut chance to end that drought.
Shouts for a penalty ad El Shaarawy goes to ground in the box after a tussle with Legrottaglie. The Milan forward had certainly got the better of the centre-back but it looked like strength rather than foul play has been his undoing.
The second half is following an extremely similar pattern to the first. Milan have come out of the traps like a team possessed but cannot find a way past Frison. Balotelli, Montolivo and El Shaarawy have all had efforts on goal in the opening five minutes but to no avail.
Already Stephan El Shaarawy has been more productive in this half. He's taken on Izco a couple of times winning the first duel before losing out to the Catania captain as he tries to burst into the box.
Catania get us restarted and immediately put the ball into touch. I hope that's not more of their time-wasting tactics continuing from the opening half.
Milan will still be behind Fiorentina if they pick up a draw this evening. They'll be desparate to take all three points this evening. The teams are back out, we're about to see if they can find that cutting edge.
A pretty entertaining opening forty-five then, but what can we expect from the second period? As ever we want to here your thoughts and predictions so if you want to get involved you can either use that chat box in the match centre or, alternatively, you can tweet in to @harryslavin.
HALF-TIME: MILAN 1-1 CATANIA. Milan were the better side throughout the half but it took them until the dying seconds to finally find the back of the net. Unfortunately for the hosts, they'd already fallen behind to Legrottaglie's header before Flamini volleyed home in the 45th minute. All to play for in the second half.
Assist Kevin-Prince Boateng
Goal Mathieu Flamini
GOAALLLL!! FLAMINI PUTS THE BALL IN FOR MILAN!! Right on the stroke of half-time, Milan are level! Abate marauds down the right and his cross is laid off by Boateng into the path of Flamini who volleys into the far corner beyond a despairing Frison. All square.
What a save from Frison! Balotelli rifles his free kick beyond the wall and looks for all the world to have equalised before the Catania shot-stopper tips it round the post.
Yellow Card Nicola Legrottaglie
Referee Massa has his notebook out again. This time his yellow card is directed in the face of goalscorer Legrottaglie for a cynical trip on Boateng.
Chances at either end once more! Frison has to be more alert this time as he beats away Abate's fizzing cross to a lurking Balotelli, while Lucas Castro bends an effort wide for the visitors. Breathless stuff.
Yellow Card Alberto Frison
We are not even at the halfway point of tonight's action and already Catania keeper Alberto Frison has been booked for time wasting. Incredible.
Still they press but still they can't score. This time Milan do win a header at a corner as Boateng runs to the near post unmarked, but the former Portsmouth man can only send his header over.
Absolute chaos in the Catania area! Milan have stepped it up a gear to try and level things up quickly but they're thwarted by a wall of white shirts that block efforts from Flamini and Balotelli in a ding-dong of a six-yard box scrap!
A truly frantic couple of minutes after the goal as both teams threaten to score! Lodi almost gives the visitors a two-goal cushion but his low effort is kept out by Amelia and down the other end Boateng smacks the crossbar! This game has opened up a little now!
Assist Francesco Lodi
Goal Nicola Legrottaglie
GOOAAALLL!!! CATANIA LEAD!!! Milan have struggled in the air so far tonight and Catania exploit that at the other end. Francesco Lodi swings in a free kick and centre-back Nicola Legrottaglie rises highest to plant his header home. Advantage to the Sicilians.
Another cross from a free kick is cleared away by Catania. They're struggling to get anything in the box Milan against their giant opposition.
Yellow Card Gustavo Rubén Bergessio
Gonzalo Bergessio's frustration at the lack of action gets the better of him as he cuts down Abate from behind and is booked for his troubles.
The hosts are showing some brilliant movement, it's their final ball that is letting them down. De Sciglio is played in behind by a superb through-ball but he can't pick out either Boateng or Balotelli who are waiting in the middle.
Milan have had a number of corner already but are struggling to make them count. The latest is won by Abate down the right but once more the resulting set-piece is cleared.
Milan have struggled for in the absence of 'Super Mario' but they look a lot more threatening tonight with the former Man City star up top. They haven't scored yet tonight but you can't see that lasting if the hosts continue to dominate.
Catania are really struggling to get out of their own half. Gonzalo Bergessio, their centre forward, has yet to touch the ball as far as I'm aware!
Balotelli lets fly from outside the box once more but does exactly the same with his latest effort by dragging it wide. A slight outburst of frustration from the forward follows. I think he knows he should have done better.
Big chance for the Rossoneri! Boateng half volleys a stinging cross along the face of goal but Balotelli, fully stretched, can't get anything on the end of it.
It's been a promising start from the hosts. They know they need to win to keep European qualification in their own hands and so far they're going the right way about it.
Frison is forced into his first save of the game by Boateng as he fizzes in an effort from the edge of the area. He palms it away but only as far as Flamini, who luckily for Catania, is in an offside position.
Yellow Card Mattia De Sciglio
First booking of the game and it's Mattia De Sciglio in the book as he wipes out the Catania captain Izco.
Another effort on goal from Allegri's side. This time it's Balotelli who works some space on the edge of the area before getting his shot away, dragging it just wide of Alberto Frison's right-hand post.
First real effort on goal for the hosts and it's from Riccardo Montolivo. The ball breaks to the midfielder on the edge of the box but he can't keep his effort down. Strong start from Milan.
Big appeals from the home side for an early penalty! Kevin Prince Boateng tries to clip a cross into Balotelli but it's blocked by the flailing arm of Alexis Rolin. The referee waves away Milan's protests but they have a case.
We're off and already Milan have their visitors under pressure, creating some space for Ignazio Abate to swing in a cross from the right but it can't find a red and black jersey in the middle.
The teams are out at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium and Milan are about to get us underway.
The visitors meanwhile have made a number of changes to suspension-riddled back line, including a start between the post for second choice shot-stopper Alberto Frison. There is some good news for Rolando Maran however as captain Mariano Izco overcomes his injury in time to start.
Mario Balotelli leads the Milan line once more after his two-game suspension. His side have been struggling for goals without him, netting only once in those two Mario-less fixtures. Matthieu Flamini returns from suspension as well in midfield.
CATANIA: (4-2-3-1) Frison; Izco, Legrottaglie, Rolin, Marchese; Lodi, Almiron; Barrientos, Castro, Gomez; Bergessio.
MILAN: (4-3-3) Amelia; Abate, Bonera, Mexes, De Sciglio; Flamini, Montolivo, Nocerino; Boateng, Balotelli, El Shaarawy.
We are about 10 minutes from kick-off here in Milan so let's take a peek at how each side lines up, starting with the hosts.
Milan have slipped back to fourth place in the table after Fiorentina's 3-0 win over Sampdoria earlier this afternoon. Massimiliano Allegri's men will need to win tonight to reclaim that last Champions League berth.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's coverage from San Siro as Milan take on Catania in Serie A. The Sicilian side have yet to win against the Rossoneri since their return to the top flight in 2006. Can they stop the rot tonight? I'm Harry Slavin and I'll be here to take you through all the action.
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