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Italy - Serie A
March 29, 2014
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: P. Giacomelli
• Attendance: 34989
M. Balotelli 4'
Kaká 27', 54'
Milan will look to make it three wins on the bounce when they travel to Genoa next Sunday while Chievo will hope to ease their relegation fears when they host fierce rivals Verona on Saturday. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on this live commentary. Until next time, goodbye.
It's going to be a nervy finale to the season for Chievo who are just three points above the relegation zone with seven games remaining. They will need to perform much better than today though if they want to consolidate their top-flight status.
FT: Milan 3-0 Chievo. Clarence Seedorf's side improve their European prospects thanks to Mario Balotelli's opener and a double from Kaka on his 300th Rossoneri appearance. Christian Abbiati was rarely troubled in the Milan net though was perhaps fortunate to keep a clean sheet as Cyril Thereau thumped an injury-time penalty against the underside of the crossbar. The Flying Donkeys are now winless against Milan in their last 15 encounters.
90' + 2'
Missed Penalty Cyril Thereau
THEREAU HITS THE BAR! It just is not Chievo's day and Thereau sums up their woes as he thumps his spot kick against the underside of the bar.
90' + 1'
PENALTY FOR CHIEVO! Zaccardo has deputised excellently in Mexes' absence this evening but he gives Chievo the chance to snatch a late consolation when he carelessly trips Thereau. The French striker will take it himself.
RADOVANOVIC GOES CLOSE! The Serbian goes desperately close to scoring a late consolation as he receives a pass on the edge of the box before fizzing a low effort just past the post. That certainly had Abbiati scrambling.
Robinho looks to get in on the act as he surges forward from midfield. However, the Brazilian fails to get his name on the scoresheet as his shot balloons high over the crossbar.
Taarabt is screaming for a penalty as his goalbound effort appears to strike the arm of Dainelli which prevents it from going on target. However, the referee does not deem that it was a foul and waves play on. The Chievo defender can count himself lucky there.
Taarabt has the Milan fans on their feet as he produces a silky piece of skill before threading the ball between Paloschi's legs. However, Guarente is not amused with the Moroccan's showboating and catches him with a crunching challenge which somehow escapes a yellow card.
CESAR TO THE RESCUE! Essien's block on Bentivoglio sets up a counter attack for Milan and Robinho slips a pass into Balotelli's feet on the right corner of the box. The Azzurri international looks to pick his spot but Cesar races across the goalmouth to make a brave, last-ditch block.
This game has begun to fizzle out now as Milan continue to sit back and absorb the Chievo pressure. I think Chievo could play all night and they still wouldn't score.
Chievo are going to need to make their home form count in the closing stages of this Serie A campaign if they are to ensure their top-flight status. Eugenio Corini's side have struggled to find the net on the road and have not yet reached the double figure mark.
Eugenio Corini decides to make his final change as Tiberio Guarente replaces Perparim Hetemaj. Can he conjure up something special for the Flying Donkeys?
CHANCE FOR EMANUELSON! Robinho's inch-perfect diagonal pass sends Balotelli clear down the left and he lays the ball back for Emanuelson, who leans back and blasts his effort high over the bar.
Kaka will not mark his 300th Rossoneri appearance with a hat trick as he is replaced by his international compatriot Robinho for the final 16 minutes. A substitution made in Brazil.
Milan are happy to hold on to their three-goal advantage here and they are sitting back a little deeper now and soaking up the Chievo pressure. Can the visitors spoil the Rossoneri clean sheet?
Bonera looks to get on the scoresheet as he gets the wrong side of Frey before his mazy dribble is halted by the challenge of Dainelli. Emanuelson then tries his luck from range, only to see his effort rise high over the crossbar.
Another change for Chievo now as Bostjan Cesar replaces Boukary Drame.
Milan enjoy a sustained spell of possession as they look to take the sting out of the Chievo attack. Kaka has 23 minutes remaining to find the goal to complete his hat trick.
Sardo has shown plenty of stamina to get up and down the right wing but his crossing has not been good enough and on this occasion, his delivery to the back post eludes the onrushing Drame.
Eugenio Corini opts to make his first change of the game as Cyril Thereau replaces the ineffective Victor Obinna.
CHIEVO HIT THE POST! It's almost a bizarre goal from the visitors as Bentivoglio delivers a low corner from the left which almost embarrasses Abbiati as it strikes the foot of the post.
Nigel De Jong
Clarence Seedorf decides to make his second change of the game as Andrea Poli replaces Nigel De Jong. That seems to be a tactical decision from the Rossoneri coach as the Dutchman shows no sign of discomfort on leaving the field.
Chievo hope to pull one back but Bentivoglio's shot from the edge of the box is well closed down by Zaccardo who deflects the ball behind. Milan are readying Poli on the touchline.
Milan are hungry for more goals now and Essien dances his way into the Chievo box before blazing a shot high over the bar. Chievo are going to need to perform much better in their remaining seven games if they are to stand any chance of Serie A survival.
Chievo look to mount an immediate response but Zaccardo backpedals quickly to prevent Paloschi meeting Sardo's cross from the right. Abbiati has been a mere spectator in this second half.
Assist Urby Emanuelson
KAKA MAKES IT 3-0! The Brazilian rolls back the years as he collects a loose ball on the left corner of the box before curling an effort beyond the stranded Agazzi and into the top corner. Moments before that, Honda went close to scoring his first Serie A goal, only to see his close-range header expertly stopped by the quick reactions of Agazzi.
Milan have a chance to wrap up the win when Kaka's clever pass picks out Taarabt on the right corner of the box. However, the self-proclaimed Moroccan Balotelli dallies on the ball too long and loses the opportunity to get his shot away.
It's been a slow start to the second half with both sides lacking penetration in the final third. Chievo will need to strike soon if they are going to salvage anything from this game.
Frey is a lucky boy! The Chievo centre-back challenges Balotelli in the air and as the pair fall to the turf, Frey aims a kick at the Italy striker which catches him on the backside. If the referee had seen that, he may well have dished out a yellow or red card there.
The two teams re-emerge from the tunnel and Milan, on course to edge closer to the European places, get the game back underway. There have been no further substitutions at the break.
HT: Milan 2-0 Chievo. Goals from Mario Balotelli and Kaka, on his 300th Rossoneri appearance, give Milan a deserved lead at the break. The Flying Donkeys have struggled to test Christian Abbiati in the Milan net and it looks as though their nine-year hoodoo is set to continue.
Clarence Seedorf is forced to make the first change of the game and it is a like-for-like swap as Michael Essien replaces Sulley Muntari.
There is an injury concern for Milan here as Muntari goes down clutching his ankle. The stretcher is on the field and it does not look as though he will be able to continue. Essien is being prepared on the touchline.
Chievo win another corner but once again, Milan defend astutely to head the ball away to safety. Can the Flying Donkeys snatch a goal before the half-time whistle?
Chievo have struggled to get back into the game following Milan's second goal and the visitors' net is beginning to come under siege from the Rossoneri attack. Balotelli floats an inviting cross into the box but Frey backpedals brilliantly to prevent Kaka from nodding in from close range.
WHAT A MISS FROM HONDA! It's a wonderful team move from Milan as Taarabt's perfectly-weighted pass sends Balotelli towards goal. The Azzurri international has the opportunity to shoot but he unselfishly squares the ball for Honda who somehow blasts over from a few yards out when the net should have been bulging. Terrible miss from the Japan international.
Chievo have the chance to trouble Abbiati when they win a free kick outside the Milan box. However, Bentivoglio's shot lacks accuracy and the Rossoneri goalkeeper watches the ball go harmlessly wide of the target.
Taarabt takes advantage of a slip from Sardo to drive his way towards the Chievo box. However, with options left and right, the Moroccan appears to get caught in two minds and plays a pass wastefully out of play.
Milan have their tails up after that second goal and Emanuelson marauds down the left wing before his teasing cross just evades the outstretched boot of Balotelli at the front post. The Rossoneri are firmly in control again now.
Milan seem to be enjoying their football at the moment and De Jong's crunching challenge on Hetemaj allows Balotelli to unleash an effort from distance which is well blocked by Frey.
Assist Keisuke Honda
KAKA MAKES IT 2-0! The Milan captain marks his 300th Rossoneri appearance with a goal as he breaks the offside trap to control Honda's exquisite chipped pass before rolling the ball beyond Agazzi. That's a fine assist from the Japan international and an equally cool finish from Kaka.
A win for Milan today would take them just five points off the European places with seven games remaining.
Paloschi looks to get on the scoresheet against his former club as he meets Sardo's cross from the right. However, he cannot wrap his foot around the ball and his ambitious effort goes over the bar. The Chievo striker already has 10 league goals to his name this season.
Milan break quickly from a Chievo corner and Kaka attempts to tee up Bonera with a neat backheel. However, Drame reacts quickly to get his body in the way and prevents the defender from getting his shot on goal.
After a blistering start, Milan have put the handbrake on a little here and they are sitting back and inviting the Chievo pressure onto them. Seedorf urges his team to push forward in search of a second goal.
Both coaches are up from the dugout and barking orders to their respective players. Radovanovic wins a corner for Chievo but it is headed over the top by Dainelli.
CHANCE FOR CHIEVO! The visitors are starting to stamp their authority on this game now and Bentivoglio calls Abbiati into action for the first time after a miskicked clearance from Emanuelson.
Chievo are now trying to push further up the field and they enjoy a sustained spell of possession in the Milan half. Encouraging signs but can they find an equaliser?
Chievo nearly fashion an opening when Obinna chases down a long punt forward from defence. However, Abbiati just about manages to get to the ball in time and prevents the pacey striker from restoring parity. Obinna will be particularly keen to get on the scoresheet tonight, having played for Milan's great rivals Inter.
Chievo are struggling to get out of their own half at the moment but Radovanovic climbs highest to prevent a Milan head from nodding in Balotelli's swinging free kick. Corini is up from the bench with a look of panic etched on his face.
Milan are firmly in control of this contest and they continue to come forward at will, pegging back the Chievo defence. Corini will be hoping that his side can keep it tight for the next ten minutes or so.
TAARABT GOES CLOSE! You can sense the confidence in this Milan side after that early goal and Taarabt stings the fingertips of Agazzi as he dances beyond several yellow shirts before unleashing a right-footed shot on goal. It's a worrying start for Eugenio Corini's side.
Assist Adil Rami
Goal Mario Balotelli
BALOTELLI GIVES MILAN THE LEAD! It's the perfect start for Clarence Seedorf's side as Balotelli drifts in between Dainelli and Radovanovic to convert Rami's teasing cross from the right. The Azzurri international has faced criticism in recent weeks but he has a smile on his face after scoring that one.
Balotelli has the first effort of the game as his free kick deflects off the wall and behind for a corner. Can Milan find an early goal?
Chievo have started with a high intensity here, not allowing Milan time or space to settle on the ball. Both sides have conceded 43 goals in Serie A this season.
The referee blows his whistle and Chievo, in their familiar yellow jerseys, get the game underway. The Flying Donkeys have never beaten Milan at the Giuseppe Meazza.
The two teams emerge from the tunnel led by respective captains Kaka and Simone Bentivoglio. Can the Milan skipper impress on his 300th Rossoneri appearance?
The last time that Chievo tasted success over Milan was a 2-1 league win back in December 2005. Can they end their nine-year hoodoo today? Kick-off is minutes away...
When these two sides met in the reverse fixture back in November, Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo and Chievo striker Sergio Pellissier both saw red in a 0-0 bore draw. Let's hope for a more exciting affair this evening.
Chievo subs: Puggioni, Squizzi, Do Santos, Canini, Kupisz, Lazarevic, Cesar, Paredes, Guarente, Stojan, Pellissier, Thereau.
CHIEVO (5-3-2): Agazzi; Sardo, Drame, Frey, Dainelli, Bernardini; Radovanovic, Bentivoglio, Hetemaj; Obinna, Paloschi.
Milan subs: Gabriel, Coppola, Silvestre, Zapata, Essien, Birsa, Poli, Saponara, Robinho, Pazzini.
MILAN (4-2-3-1): Abbiati; Zaccardo, Bonera, Rami, Emanuelson; De Jong, Muntari; Honda, Kaka, Taarabt; Balotelli.
CHIEVO TEAM NEWS: Eugenio Corini makes four changes to the side which defeated Bologna 3-0 as Gennaro Sardo, Boukary Drame, Alessandro Bernardini and Simone Bentivoglio replace Matteo Rubin, Bostjan Cesar, Tiberio Guarente and the suspended Luca Rigoni. Milan transfer target Michael Agazzi starts in goal with former Rossoneri graduate Alberto Paloschi partnering former Inter striker Victor Obinna up front.
MILAN TEAM NEWS: Clarence Seedorf is without the services of the suspended Philippe Mexes and Kevin Constant, meaning Cristian Zaccardo and Urby Emanuelson are drafted into the defence. Mario Balotelli scored a stunning free kick against Fiorentina last time out and he leads the line once again, with Keisuke Honda, Kaka and Adel Taarabt in behind.
Eugenio Corini's side earned a valuable three points with a 3-0 victory over Bologna on Wednesday and they sit just three points above the drop zone with eight games remaining. However, history does not bode well for the Flying Donkeys who are winless in their last 14 matches against Milan.
Hello and welcome to this live Serie A commentary between Milan and Chievo. Clarence Seedorf's men achieved a morale-boosting 2-0 win at Champions League chasing Fiorentina in midweek and they are looking for rare back-to-back wins against a relegation-threatened Chievo in a bid to boost their slim European ambitions.
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