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Italy - Serie A
November 23, 2013
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: A. Gervasoni
• Attendance: 34848
A. Gilardino 9'
A defeat to Celtic in Milan's crucial Champions League group stage match on Tuesday would surely see the end of Massimiliano Allegri's reign at the Rossoneri now. Milan return to Serie A action next weekend when they travel to lowly Catania whilst Genoa host Torino. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on this live commentary. Until next time, goodbye.
One win in ten games and 27 shots on goal tonight but Milan could not find a way to beat a Genoa side who continue to impress under Gian Piero Gasperini. The Grifone remain in seventh position in Serie A.
The pressure grows on Massimiliano Allegri as the Grifone hold on for a remarkable point despite being reduced to ten men in the 36th minute. Mario Balotelli proved the villain as his penalty was saved by Mattia Perin after Alberto Gilardino had cancelled out Kaka's opener. Milan's worst start to a Serie A season in 30 years continues and they now have only 14 points from 13 matches.
FULL TIME: MILAN 1-1 GENOA.
90' + 4'
WHAT A CHANCE FOR MILAN TO WIN IT! Genoa clear the corner to the edge of the box and Robinho's shot is hacked away by Antonini before Zapata somehow scuffs the ball wide from six yards out. You can see the pain etched on Allegri's face...how have Milan not scored in this second half?
90' + 4'
Milan have a corner...
90' + 3'
Gilardino has been brilliant on the ball today and he runs the clock down with some impressive hold-up play once again before receiving support from Cofie. Will Milan get one more chance?
90' + 2'
SO CLOSE FOR MILAN! Milan are getting desperate now and Emanuelson sees his angled drive well blocked by Vrsaljko before Marchese gets a crucial foot on the ball to prevent Balotelli from poking the ball home from close range. Time is running out.
Yellow Card Sime Vrsaljko
GOOD CHANCE FOR ROBINHO! The Brazilian has struggled to make an impact since coming off the bench but he receives the ball inside the box but cannot get good contact on his volley and witnesses his shot well saved by Perin. It seems the Genoa goalkeeper may prove to be the hero today.
Yellow Card Daniele Bonera
Daniele Bonera picks up a booking for a mistimed challenge on Vrsaljko.
WHAT A MISS FROM BIRSA! Milan enjoy a patient build-up and Emanuelson produces an inch-perfect cross towards the back post but Birsa can only head the ball wide from a few yards out. Abbiati has his head in his hands, he cannot believe it!
Milan continue to pour forward in numbers but Vrsaljko and Antonini stand firm to prevent Kaka from delivering a cross from the left. Five minutes remaining for Milan to find a winner.
The boos and whistles ring out around the Giuseppe Meazza as Balotelli chips a cross out of play. For all their possession, Milan just cannot find a way past Perin in this second half.
BIRSA GOES CLOSE! The Slovenian produces a brilliant piece of skill to get away from Bertolacci but his drilled low shot is tipped around the post by Perin. Moments later, Kaka fires an effort over the top. Is it going to be another of those days for Milan?
The chances continue to go begging for Milan as Emanuelson slices a shot high and wide of the target. A few whistles from the crowd are audible now.
Genoa have hardly set foot in the Milan half since going down to ten men but they have defended resolutely and as a unit. What a difference Gasperini's return has made!
Gasperini opts to make his final change in a bid to preserve the point, introducing Isaac Cofie in place of Davide Biondini. Just over ten minutes remaining in Milan.
Balotelli is growing increasingly frustrated as he witnesses his shot from the edge of the box well blocked by Marchese after good work from Kaka and Birsa. Time is slowly running out for Allegri's side to find a winner.
Balotelli is causing the Genoa defence problems from set pieces and he rises above his marker again but can only glance a header wide of the post from Birsa's delivery.
Allegri opts to make a second change and Robinho comes on to replace Poli. What Robinho will we see tonight? The flairy, tricky one or the frustrating, wasteful one?
Emanuelson continues to get himself on the ball and he cuts inside dangerously from the left but slices his right-footed shot wide of the far post.
Emanuelson is getting further forward now as Milan continue to crank up the pressure. The Dutchman lays the ball off for Birsa on the edge of the box but his finessed effort curls wide of the upright.
Emanuelson produces some excellent trickery to get clear down the left and he crosses the ball into the box but Balotelli's header is comfortably saved by Perin.
Balotelli steps up to take the free kick but can only blast the ball straight into the wall. He's looked rather dejected since that penalty miss.
Milan win a free kick in a promising position when Kaka is fouled by Antonini just outside the box. Can Balotelli atone for his penalty miss?
Yellow Card Davide Biondini
Davide Biondini picks a booking after a cynical tug on Balotelli's shirt, denying Milan a counterattack. A tactical booking, that.
GOOD CHANCE FOR MATRI! Balotelli uses his strength again to hold up the ball and he tees it up nicely for Matri who can only volley narrowly over the top. How many more chances do Milan need?
Kaka has shown glimpses of his very best today and he penetrates the Genoa defence with a glorious reverse pass but Matri is adjudged marginally offside. To be fair to Matri, he has not stopped running tonight.
Genoa have an injury concern here as Bertolacci goes down under a challenge from Abate and is in clear discomfort. That looked a nasty one although there is no card shown to the Milan defender.
This is a good spell for Milan and Birsa looks to score against his former employers but his dipping volley flashes narrowly over the top.
TWO GREAT CHANCES FOR MILAN! Kaka finds himself in space at the near post but his header from Birsa's corner is well parried by Perin. Moments later, Emanuelson delivers a cross into the box but Balotelli can only nod his effort over the bar. Milan are getting closer!
GREAT SAVE FROM PERIN! Matri makes a super run to meet Balotelli's cross from the left and his bullet header is tipped over the bar expertly by the young Genoa goalkeeper.
Genoa continue to sit back and De Jong is invited forward but can only fire his effort straight at Perin from the edge of the box.
Milan continue to apply the attacking pressure but they cannot find a way through as Kaka's cross deflects off Antonelli and into the grateful gloves of Perin.
BALOTELLI FINDS ROW Z! He's looked lively today but the goal continues to deceive him as he leans back and ballons an effort high into the stands.
Milan are trying to walk the ball into the net at the moment and the fans voice their first signs of frustration as Matri cannot find a way through. He's had a rough time at the Giuseppe Meazza since his big-money move from Juventus.
Balotelli produces a neat turn to get away from his marker outside the box but Marchese makes an immediate impact by outfoxing the striker and stealing the ball to safety. Can Genoa continue their good form and heap the pressure on under-fire Allegri?
It's been a rather slow start to the second half with Genoa just looking to sit back a little in the hope of preserving a point. I'm not too sure they will continue with such a high defensive line for the remainder of this one.
Milan get the ball rolling for the second half and there have been three substitutions at the break. Valter Birsa replaces the injured Sulley Muntari for the hosts while Andrea Bertolacci and Giovanni Marchese replace Ioannis Fetfatzidis and Mario Sampirisi for the Grifone.
HALF TIME: MILAN 1-1 GENOA. What a fantastic first half of football at the Giuseppe Meazza! Kaka's fine goal gave Milan the dream start on four minutes but their joy was short-lived as Urby Emanuelson's foul allowed Alberto Gilardino to level from the spot. Thomas Manfredini had frustrated Mario Balotelli on several occasions but he was sent off in the 36th minute after hauling the striker down in the box, only for the Milan striker to see his penalty saved by Mattia Perin. Can the Rossoneri make the extra man count in the second half or will Allegri's misery continue?
45' + 1'
Abate, who scored for Italy over the international break, produces a brilliant burst of acceleration to surge beyond two Genoa defenders but there is no red and black jersey to meet his teasing whipped cross into the middle.
There is a injury concern for Milan here as Sulley Muntari goes down and requires treatment. 10 v 10 for the moment.
The Genoa players will just be hoping to hang onto the half-time whistle so that Gasperini can regroup. Manfredini's challenge was hardly malicious but he can have no arguments for his red card after denying Balotelli a clear goalscoring opportunity.
MATRI SHOULD SCORE! Moments after Matri is denied a shot on goal by Antonini's brilliant challenge, the striker finds himself unmarked inside the penalty box but can only nod narrowly wide of the post from a corner. The Milan fans have their heads in their hands.
GOOD SAVE FROM PERIN! The Genoa goalkeeper has looked solid since that early Muntari fumble and he produces an athletic stop to deny Matri's flicked effort. Can Milan take advantage with the extra man?
Perin becomes only the second goalkeeper to save a Mario Balotelli penalty after Jose Reina in Milan's match against Napoli earlier in the season.
Penalty save Mattia Perin
Missed Penalty Mario Balotelli
BALOTELLI MISSES FROM THE SPOT! Perin refuses to be fooled by the striker's cool run-up and stands his ground to make a decent stop down the middle before Antonini heads the ball behind for a corner. For Balotelli's standards, that was a woeful penalty.
Red Card Thomas Manfredini
MANFREDINI SENT OFF! Balotelli has the ultimate laugh as he collects Kaka's cross brilliantly and just as he is set to score, he is hauled to the floor by the centre-back. The referee duly brandishes the red card and Balotelli picks himself up to take the spot kick...
Manfredini continues to deny Balotelli as he produces a fine block to stop the striker's fierce low free kick from testing Perin. You can guarantee that there are more chances in this game for Mario.
GILARDINO THREATENS DOWN THE OTHER END! Alberto Gilardino is proving equally as difficult to contain down the other end and he gets the wrong side of Zapata before going down, rather softly, under a challenge from Bonera. However, the referee decides not to award a second penalty.
BALOTELLI IS GETTING CLOSER! The enigmatic striker looks in the mood this evening and he collects Kaka's incise pass before fizzing a shot between a defender's legs and agonisingly past the post. The referee signals for a goal kick but it seems that Perin got his fingertips to that.
Milan are on top at the moment and Balotelli shows brilliant strength to hold off his marker once again but Manfredini gets across to make a super block.
Kaka has already exploited Genoa's high defensive line once and his chipped ball sends Matri through down the left but the summer signing cannot get his curling effort on target.
GREAT EFFORT FROM BALOTELLI! The Italy international cushions a chipped pass on his chest expertly but his overhead kick is straight at Perin. An inch either side and that would have been one of the goals of the season.
Gilardino is showing some excellent hold up play here and it is no wonder that so many people have touted him as a potential striker for Italy's 2014 World Cup squad. Zapata must make sure he doesn't make a silly foul after that early booking.
Balotelli shows fantastic strength and footwork to hold off two defenders on the byline but Vrsaljko anticipates the danger and is in the perfect place to intercept his cutback.
After that frantic start, the tempo has quietened down a little here although both sides are keen to push forward and attack. Manfredini produces a crucial header to deny Matri latching onto Balotelli's chipped pass.
Alessandro Matri will be hoping to add to his sole strike for Milan against Parma and he does well to win a corner down the left. However, Perin shakes off his early jitters to punch the ball clear excellently.
Yellow Card Cristian Zapata
Cristian Zapata joins Emanuelson in the referee's notebook after obstructing the run of Antonelli. The Colombian will now be suspended for next week's encounter against Catania.
Yellow Card Urby Emanuelson
Milan look to respond immediately but Balotelli's shot from the edge of the box is well charged down by Manfredini. Emanuelson's evening goes from bad to worse as he picks up a booking for a mistimed tackle on Fetfatzidis.
Penalty Goal Alberto Gilardino
GILARDINO MAKES IT 1-1! The former Milan striker shows no sympathy as he smashes the ball straight down the middle before heading off to celebrate. That's his sixth league goal of the season.
PENALTY FOR GENOA! Emanuelson is the culprit as he trips Vrsaljko inside the box after getting caught the wrong side. Ex-Rossoneri striker Alberto Gilardino will take it...
Genoa have not won in their last 22 league matches against Milan at the Giuseppe Meazza with their last victory coming here in May 1958. Hardly the ideal start today.
Assist Nigel De Jong
GOOOALLLL KAKA! It's the perfect start for Milan and Allegri as Kaka makes a superbly-timed run to latch onto Nigel De Jong's long pass, controlling the ball exquisitely and firing beyond Perin. What a way to mark his 200th Serie A appearance, 1-0 Milan!
MILAN NEARLY TAKE THE LEAD! Perin has kept three consecutive clean sheets in Serie A but he nearly gifts the Rossoneri the lead when he fumbles Muntari's fierce shot around the post.
Genoa attack straight from the kick-off and Vrsaljko has the first shot on target when his tame shot from distance is comfortably stopped by Abbiati. The young Croatian has made quite the impact since joining from Dinamo Zagreb in the summer.
Andrea Gervasoni blows his whistle and Genoa get the match underway. Can Milan improve on their worst league start for 30 years with a win this evening? Let's find out...
There has been a late change to the Milan lineup as Philippe Mexes has suffered a knock and he is replaced by Daniele Bonera. There is a minute's silence for the victims of the Sardinia flood.
The two sides emerge from the tunnel and onto the pristine Giuseppe Meazza playing surface. There is a huge roar from the home support who have clearly not given up hope on their side just yet. Kick-off is minutes away...
A solitary strike from Stephan El Shaarawy was enough to secure a 1-0 win for Milan against Genoa in this fixture last season.
Genoa make two changes to the side which defeated Verona 2-0 a fortnight ago. Davide Biondini and Mario Sampirisi come into the side with Isaac Cofie and the injured Juraj Kucka dropping out. Ex-Rossoneri players Luca Antonelli and Alberto Gilardino are both handed starts against their former teammates.
Milan welcome back Mario Balotelli to the starting line-up after he missed the 0-0 draw against Chievo through suspension. He comes in to replace the suspended Riccardo Montolivo as the Rossoneri's sole change. Kaka starts in the hole but Stephan El Shaarawy and Antonio Nocerino are still a week or two away from returning.
GENOA (3-4-3): Perin; Antonini, Portanova, Manfredini; Vrsaljko, Matuzalem, Biondini, Sampirisi; Fetfatzidis, Gilardino, Antonelli.
MILAN (4-3-1-2): Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Emanuelson; Poli, De Jong, Muntari; Kaka; Balotelli, Matri.
Without further ado, here are the lineups...
It is hardly coincidental that Genoa's upturn in form has coincided with the return of Gian Piero Gasperini and the seventh-placed Grifone have not conceded in their last three league matches. It certainly is a case of the out-of-form hosts against the in-form visitors at the Giuseppe Meazza today.
How good does it feel to be back with domestic football after the international break? Milan certainly needed that two-week rest after a series of disappointing results and Max Allegri has admitted that the next month is "crucial" whilst admitting that his future at the Rossoneri is anything but "eternal". However, Milan have a good record against Genoa, winning five of the last six encounters and Allegri will be hoping to continue that good streak this evening.
Six games without a win in all competitions and 19 points off leaders Roma, the pressure is really on Massimiliano Allegri now. Milan sit in 10th place in Serie A and with games coming thicking and fast until the winter break, the Rossoneri can ill-afford any more slip-ups. Today, they host a resurgent Genoa side who are searching for their fifth victory in six league games. Will the Grifone heap more misery on Milan? Bringing you all the action from the Giuseppe Meazza, my name is Max Bentley.
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