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Italy - Serie A
April 13, 2014
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: A. De Marco
• Attendance: 33014
R. Montolivo 23'
That's it from me, Harry Slavin, as Montolivo's strike proves enough to settle matters at the San Siro. Be sure to tune in again for more Serie A action. Until next time, goodbye for now!
FULL-TIME: MILAN 1-0 CATANIA. It's not the prettiest of victories, but they all count. Catania's record in the road this season has been nothing short of atrocious but the Rossoneri made hard work of turning Serie A's basement side over here.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Fabián Monzón
90' + 1'
We are into three minutes of added time no at the San Siro.
BALOTELLI!!! Milan are finding a bit more space in these final few moments. The striker unleashes a thunderous effort from the edge of the area but it clears Andujar's crossbar.
Just a couple of minutes left. Montolivo leads a late attack for the hosts and he picks out Taarabt on the edge of the area. The Moroccan angles an effort towards the far corner but it flies high and wide.
Kaka comes off for the final stages and is replaced by Pazzini. Another average display from the Brazilian once considered the best in the world.
Milan have not had the greatest of seasons but their fans could probably have been forgiven for expecting a better performance against Serie A's basement side. The Rossoneri have been far from convincing.
Gustavo Rubén Bergessio
Another substitution for the visitors. They take of top scorer Bergessio and replace him with Boateng for the final few minutes. They obviously want a bit more pace up top to get in behind the Milan backline.
Any faint chances of a Catania comeback have surely been extinguished by that sending off. Rinaudo looked to have got the ball but you cannot dive in like that in this day and age.
Yellow/Red Fabián Rinaudo
RED CARD!!! It has been coming to be fair. Rinaudo has been launching himself into tackles all evening and the referee has finally had enough, producing a second yellow card after a lunge on Mexes.
Mariano Julio Izco
A change for both sides as we head into the final ten minutes here. Izco is on fro Catania while Emanuelson is on for Milan.
A clumsy challenge from Momtolivo sends Plasil tumbling to the floor. Monzon lines up the free kick from 25-yards out and it takes a tremendous stop from Abbiati to turn the ball behind for a corner!
Bergessio gets a low cross fired along the Milan box but it's behind Barrientos. Catania are showing small signs of a fightback.
A passage of play illustrates perfectly the problems Catania have had this evening - and indeed all season. They work the ball beautifully in the midfield, creating space on the flank for a cross, but when the ball comes in from Castro it's woefully overhit and miles over Barrientos' head. Chance gone.
Nothing screams a wasted free kick like hitting a one man wall but that is exactly what Lodi has just managed for Catania here. They are struggling to get the ball forward as it is and that is the last thing they needed.
A short corner for Milan is worked towards the edge of the area and presents De Jong with a shooting opportunity. He finds the target but Andujar gets right behind the effort to keep it out.
The visitors are just beginning to pick up a few more bookings now as frustration begins to really kick in. Neither side have created much but it's not easy to see where a Catania equaliser will come from, and I think the players know that themselves.
Yellow Card Philippe Mexes
Catania looked to apply some pressure on the Milan goal but Balotelli of all people is back to snuff out any danger, showing great composure to play the ball out of defence and set Milan on the attack themselves.
Yellow Card Fabián Rinaudo
Rinaudo goes into the book for holding back Kaka as he attempts to charge into the box. He probably needed to take that booking to prevent his side falling further behind.
Yellow Card Jaroslav Plasil
What an effort!!! We've seen Mexes do this before and he comes close to another spectacular overhead kick here. Balotelli picks him out completely free inside the Catania area but the acrobatic shot flies just over the bar. That hamstring looks all right now.
Rolin can consider himself lucky. The defender comes right through Taarabt in an attempt to get he ball and is rightly pulled up for it. He has already been booked but the referee doesn't deem it worthy of another caution.
A beautiful inswinging free kick from Lodi has the home side panicking a little, but the header at the back post from Spolli sails over the crossbar. If they can get a few more free kicks Catania, and few more deliveries like that, there still might be hope.
A couple of passes try to search out Taarabt one the left flank but first Balotelli and then Montolivo fail to find the Moroccan. Milan obviously see him as one of their best outlets as they look to put this game to bed.
Chance for Milan! A cross into the middlfe from Taarabt looks a dangerous one but Poli gets the slightest of touches that takes it off the head of Balotelli. A bit more communication and that could have been 2-0.
Mexes looks in a little bit of trouble for Milan. The central defender has been clutching his hamstring for the past few moments. Montolivo has gone back into defence to help out while the Frenchman decides if he can carry on or not.
Catania break but Constant covers well to ensure there is no chance for Leto at the far post. Catania have struggled for goals this season and with final balls like that, you can see why.
Th referee blows his whistle and we are back up and running at the San Siro.
The sides have emerged for the second period and we are about to get back underway in Milan!
That goal was only Montolivo's third of the season for Milan but his second against Catania after scoring in the reverse fixture back in December. His other goal this season came in the defeat to Sassuolo.
HALF-TIME: MILAN 1-0 CATANIA. The Rossoneri ahead at the break and they probably just about deserve it on the balance of play. Montolivo's strike was well struck and Seedorf will be looking for a couple more moments of inspiration from his men to make this one safe in the second half.
We are going to have one minute of stoppage time at the end of the first-half at the San Siro.
Just a couple of minutes to go until half-time then. Catania are trying to push for an equaliser at the end of the 45 but they need to be careful they don't expose themselves at the back.
A nasty fall for Spolli sees the game held up. The defender went up with De Jong but fell over one of his team-mates and landed awkwardly. The break also allows Seedorf to hold a mini conference with some of his players.
Balotelli finds the target from range but Andujar gets down well enough to hold the striker's effort. Barrientos has a fantastic chance at the other end but he fails to get his shot away from inside the area.
CLOSE!!! Balotelli manages to get his effort up and over the wall on this occasion but it flies just wide of the upright. Catania won't want to give that man too many more invitations to shoot.
Yellow Card Alexis Rolín
Another free kick! And this one is a lot closer as Rolin brings down Balotelli again. He's booked for it and the former Man City man will take aim once more.
Again Milan have a free kick in a central position but again he hits it into the wall. Maybe time for a change in free kick taker?
TAARABT!!! He's looked the most dangerous player in red and black this evening and he isn't far off here from doubling his side's lead. He cuts in onto his right foot and curls an effort just wide of the far post from outside the 'D' .
Tempers are just beginning to fray a little at the San Siro. Rinaudo, who was guilty of giving away the free kick that led to the goal and reacts angrily now to being fouled by Kaka. The referee just has to calm things down again.
Yellow Card Pablo Barrientos
The referee has a bit of job on his hands here. A string of set pieces for Milan has seen plenty of shoving and pushing inside the Catania area. In all of it, Barrientos is booked for a foul on Taarabt, for which he can have no complaints.
Rinaudo fouls Balotelli on the edge of the area and the striker picks himself up to take it. The ball is struck straight into the wall though and Milan now have a corner. A bit of waste from Super Mario.
Questions have to be asked of Andujar there. The Catania keeper was partially unsighted but he shouldn't be getting beaten from that range at his near post. Take nothing away from Montolivo though- it was a great strike.
Assist Mario Balotelli
Goal Riccardo Montolivo
GOOOAAALLL!!!! MONTOLIVO!!! A cracking strike from the midfielder but he made it look pretty simple. A free kick is rolled inside to him and after one touch, he smashes an effort from 30-yards out which beats Andujar at his near post. Advantage Milan!
Kaka rolls back the years by embarking on a mazy run down the left. The ball straddles the touchline as the Brazilian twists and turns his way into the box before shooting into the side-netting.
How does that not go in?! Kaka's free kick finds its way through a sea of bodies and Rami is there to get a touch at the back post. Somehow though, the Frenchman's touch, from no more than 3-yards out, takes the ball over the bar.
Poli is looking to force the issue for the hosts on the right but his desire to pick up the tempo of the game is resulting in some sloppy passes. He needs to calm things down.
A few groans coming from the home end as Kaka overhits a cross from a promising position. The chance started with another driving run from Taarabt. The Moroccan appears to be the only genuine threat in the Milan side so far.
Seedorf is already prowling the edge of his technical area. He hasn't been impressed by what he has seen in the opening minutes here. His side have yet to switch on.
BARRIENTOS!!! You cannot give any footballer this kind of time and space in the area. Milan fall asleep and Barrientos is able to pick up a short corner inside the box. He takes a touch before curling an effort towards the top corner, which Abbiati has to beat away.
Constant's low cross is deflected and Balotelli gets across his man at the near post to flick the ball goalwards. Andujar is alert in the Catania goal though and blocks the ball behind for a corner.
Barrientos fires in our first shot of the evening. It was strong forward play from Bergessio to hold the ball up for his team-mate but the shot is flashed wide of Abbiati's goal.
Taarabt breaks through the middle of the park for Milan but Rolin gets across to block his shot as the Moroccan winds up on the edge of the box.
There's a decent noise inside the San Siro from the home fans. It's not been the most memorable of seasons for the Rossoneri faithful but their support has been unwavering.
Any early chance for Milan to launch an attack down the left, but Poli's pass is too far ahead of Constant and the opportunity is gone.
The referee blows his whistle and Catania get us underway here!
Both sides are making their way out at the San Siro. We are moments away from kick off here!
Catania need to start picking up points, and quickly, if they are to avoid the drop to Serie B. They have never beaten Milan in Serie A in 15 attempts. Now is as good a time as any to break that trend.
CATANIA XI: (4-3-3) Andujar; Rolin, Spolli, Gyomber, Monzon; Plasil, Lodi, Rinaudo; Leto, Bergessio, Barrientos.
MILAN XI: (4-2-3-1) Abbiati; Bonera, Mexes, Rami, Constant; De Jong, Montolivo; Poli, Kaka, Taarabt; Balotelli.
We are around 15 minutes from kick off so let's get some team news. We'll start with the hosts.
Clarence Seedorf has seen his side hit what could be described as a mini revival in recent matches. The Rossoneri have won their last three games on the bounce and fourth today could see them leap up to seventh in the table.
Both these sides have had pretty woeful seasons by their own standards. Once a powerhouse of Italian football, Milan are currently drifting in midtable, while Catania are five-points adrift at the bottom of the league. To make any success of this campaign, a win tonight is a must for both teams.
Good evening and a warm welcome to all of you joining me for Serie A action as Milan take on Catania. I'm Harry Slavin and I'll be here to take you through the whole game, minute-by-minute. Let's get cracking!
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