The Swede made the difference as the hosts cruised at home...the Seahorses at the Giuseppe Meazza tonight. Maximiliano Pellegrino scored an own goal just before half-time and Zlatan Ibrahimovic added a second after the break to secure the three points for the Rossoneri.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors in the 17th minute when Luca Antonini made a horrible blunder, allowing Matias Schelotto to slip through on goal, but his finish from the right side of the box was parried by Abbiati at the near post.
Alessandro Nesta was forced to leave the pitch with a shoulder injury in the 23rd minute, but Milan slowly began to wake up from their sluggish start and were starting to look increasingly dangerous in attack with Robinho in particular very active in the final third.
The Brazilian had a decent shot saved by Francesco Antonioli in the 26th minute, following a good run through the middle. Four minutes later Zlatan Ibrahimovic was released through on goal by Antonio Cassano, but failed to finish past Cesena's No.1 in a one-on-one situation.
Alexander Merkel was presented with a great chance in the 37th minute when he found himself on the end of a cross just outside the six-yard box, controlled the ball, but panicked and lost the ball. Around the forty-minute mark Ibrahimovic saw a diving header saved at the near post after he was picked out on the left side of the box by Robinho after some skilful play.
The opener eventually came in the 45th minute when Cassano chipped a wonderful through-ball over Cesena's defence for the on-rushing Ibrahimovic, the striker controlled the ball, but defender Pellegrino put the final touch to the attack, taping the ball into his own goal.
Mario Yepes came close to doubling AC Milan's advantage just before half-time but Antonelli somehow managed to thwart the defender's run.
The second half saw Cesena pick up their game in attack, but still struggled to create chances in front of Abbiati. Milan, for their part, were happy to soak up the pressure and wait to hit on the counter.
The first real chance of the second half came as late as the 77th minute when Robinho failed to overcome Antonelli in a one-on-one. Robinho was again was the culprit in injury time as he wasted a wonderful chance to double the Rossoneri's lead.
Ibrahimovic, however, did not make this mistake moments later when he was released down the left and powered a finish from tight angle to seal the three points just before the final whistle.
Following tonight's result, Milan are first in the standings with 44 points, while Cesena are eighteenth with 19 points. The Seahorses' next league game is a visit to Lecce on the 30th January, while the Rossoneri visit Catania a day earlier.
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