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March 2, 2013
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: N. Rizzoli
• Attendance: 44567
G. Pazzini 40', 60'
K. Boateng 44'
Can Milan realistically emerge as outside Scudetto contenders? Allegri's side trail leaders Juventus by 11 points with 11 games to play. The Rossoneri look to continue their unbeaten start to 2013 when they travel to Genoa next Friday evening. Lazio look to put their domestic troubles behind them when they travel to Germany on Thursday night to face Stuttgart in the Europa League. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on what has been another sensational Milan display. Make sure to check out goal.com's match report, player ratings and reaction. Until next time folks, goodbye!
FULL TIME: MILAN 3 - 0 LAZIO. Massimiliano Allegri's outfit continue their push up the Serie A table with an emphatic victory over the Biancocelesti and carry on their unbeaten start to 2013. Lazio's cause was certainly not helped by Antonio Candreva's first half red card and they were made to pay with a double from Giampaolo Pazzini and one from Kevin Prince Boateng. Milan leapfrog their opponents and go up to third!
90' + 1'
Louis Saha is handed the responsibility of the freekick and his well-struck effort is well held by the pink gloves of Christian Abbiati. Milan's clean sheet seems certain now.
Yellow Card Mario Yepes
Mario Yepes is shown a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Ederson on the edge of the box. Good opportunity for Lazio to snatch a consolation here.
Montolivo goes down under a challenge and receives a spot of treatment. Is there a better in-form side in Europe than Milan at the moment? I certainly can't think of many...
NIANG'S WAIT FOR A FIRST SERIE A GOAL CONTINUES! Milan launch a counterattack from a Lazio corner and Niang exchanges passes with El Shaarawy on the edge of the box but his placed effort clips the top of the crossbar and goes over. Should really have done better from there.
Cristian Ledesma delivers a teasing cross towards the back post and De Sciglio produces a splendid header under pressure to prevent Cana from nodding in a consolation.
M'Baye Niang looks to latch onto Robinho's lofted cross but he is shielded off the ball excellently by Stefan Radu. Lazio need to start picking up points quickly if they are to re-ignite their Scudetto charge.
Allegri deserves huge credit for the way he has turned this Milan side around. Criticised by many earlier in the season but now challenging for the Champions League places and have a 2-0 lead over Spanish giants Barcelona. How times change!
Milan just looking to close this game out now with some sustained possession.
Stefan Radu scored an absolute screamer last week but he cannot replicate that effort as his right-footed piledriver slices well wide of Abbiati's goal.
Former-Manchester United striker Louis Saha is given a rare run-out for Petkovic's side. Floccari is the man sacrificed, possibly with a view to the Europa League contest against Stuttgart on Thursday.
Niang does well again down the right to whip in a cross and Dias needs to stay alert to prevent Robinho from sneaking in at the near post. Milan cannot capitalise from the resulting corner.
Allegri makes his final change of the game, replacing Boateng with the forgotten man Robinho. No respite for the Lazio defence then.
Stephan El Shaarawy cuts inside from the left flank once again and is sent sprawling under a challenge from Biava. However, Nicola Rizzoli refuses to award the freekick and waves play on. El Shaarawy certainly seemed to look for the contact there.
Lazio will look back at that red card as the turning point in this game but the Biancocelesti have had no response to Milan tonight and have certainly looked suspect at the back. Milan set to make it seven consecutive wins at home.
Lazio make a change, throwing on Ederson for Hernanes.
IT SHOULD BE 4-0! El Shaarawy springs the Lazio offside trap with a fantastic run and one-on-one you expect the 20-year-old to score but his finessed effort bends just wide of Marchetti's far post.
Niang almost makes an instant impact when he bursts down the right flank and delivers a delicious cross into the box and Gonzalez is fortunate to watch his clearance miscued by Boateng.
Giampaolo Pazzini will not take the matchball home tonight as the Italian striker is replaced by young French hotshot M'Baye Niang.
THAT WAS THE CHANCE FOR THE HATTRICK! El Shaarawy plays an inch-perfect cross over the head of Radu but Pazzini cannot make good contact with the volley and slices wide of Marchetti's goal. Milan are looking for more goals here.
El Shaarawy spreads the ball out wide for De Sciglio and the left-back's cross is headed out by Dias into the path of Boateng but the Ghanaian international cannot adjust to the bounce and watches his acrobatic effort flash wide.
Lazio are finally beginning to throw some numbers forward and Hernanes sees his scuffed effort dribble wide of Abbiati's goal. Can the Biancocelesti score a consolation? Can Pazzini seal his hattrick? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @MaxBentley1.
Lazio look to pull one back immediately when Gonzalez chips a cross into Floccari, but the 31-year-old can only glance a header narrowly over Abbiati's crossbar.
Goal Giampaolo Pazzini
WHAT A STRIKE FROM PAZZINI! The 28-year-old seizes on a sloppy clearance from Radu 20 yards from goal before firing a brilliant low effort which bounces in front of Marchetti and into the bottom corner. 3-0 Milan, three points for Milan and third place for Milan!
Yellow Card Stefan Radu
Yellow Card Kevin-Prince Boateng
Boateng and Radu have been at it all game and the Romanian defender shoves the Ghanaian after his shorts are comically pulled down. Nicola Rizzoli decides enough is enough and books the pair of them.
GOOD CHANCE FOR LAZIO! Hernanes swings the resulting corner into the box and Biava meets the ball unmarked, but his header bobbles wide of the goal.
Hernanes is given a second chance to execute a freekick from the edge of the box after some pushing in the Milan box and the Brazilian's curling effort is tipped over the crossbar by Abbiati.
Stefan Radu is fortunate not to pick up a caution for a foul through the back of Boateng. From the resulting set-piece, Zaccardo skews an effort just wide of Marchetti's right-hand post.
Abate looks to clip a neat pass over the Lazio defence for El Shaarawy but the Rossoneri top goalscorer is adjudged marginally offside despite Pazzini's shot being well saved by Marchetti.
Ambrosini doesn't quite have his shooting boots on today and he produces a complete miscue from Montolivo's lay-off on the edge of the box. It actually turned out to be a decent pass from the holding midfielder.
Slow start to the second half with both sides looking to find their rhythm early on. Can Petkovic's side find an early goal and put this Milan side under pressure?
Yellow Card Giuseppe Biava
Early caution in the second half for Giuseppe Biava as he obstructs Stephan El Shaarawy down the left touchline. Il Faraone is proving a real handful this evening.
A change apiece at the break as Milan introduce Cristian Zaccardo in place of Christian Zapata. Lazio introduce holding midfielder Lorik Cana for Bruno Pereirinha.
Milan certainly don't seem to be missing Mario Balotelli with that first-half performance. His replacement, Giampaolo Pazzini, has enjoyed a brilliant 45 minutes with a hand in both goals.
So, Milan's unbeaten start to 2013 looks set to continue bar a Lazio miracle. What were your thoughts on that first half? Let me know via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
HALF TIME: MILAN 2 -0 LAZIO. What a splendid first half of football that was! Both sides looked dangerous coming forward in the early stages and it took a wonderful piece of play from El Shaarawy to force Antonio Candreva into a last-man foul which consequently saw the Italian midfielder receive his marching orders. Milan have made the extra man count and goals just before the break from Giampaolo Pazzini and Kevin Prince Boateng have all but sealed the points for Massimiliano Allegri's side.
Goal Kevin-Prince Boateng
BOATENG EXTENDS MILAN'S LEAD! It's nearly mission impossible for Lazio now. Montolivo's corner is met by a thumping header from Pazzini which draws a wonderful reflex save from Marchetti but Boateng reacts quickest to smash home the rebound from a few yards out. Harsh on the Lazio goalkeeper but Milan will not care. 2-0!
Boateng plays a wonderful ball around the corner for Abate and the right-back looks to play the ball back across the box for the Ghanaian but watches Andre Dias nervously slice the ball behind for a corner. Milan really on top now!
It's a big mountain for Lazio to climb now and it seems as though the Biancocelesti could be set to surrender their third position. Can Petkovic's side respond?
Assist Stephan El Shaarawy
Goal Giampaolo Pazzini
PAZZINI GIVES MILAN THE LEAD! Abate does brilliantly to bulldoze his way into the box and his strike across goal forces Marchetti to parry the ball. Pereirinha does brilliantly to prevent El Shaarawy from sweeping in the rebound but he can do nothing to deny Pazzini from tapping in from a few yards out. The Giuseppe Meazza erupts, 1-0 Milan!
PAZZINI GOES CLOSE! De Sciglio once again gets forward excellently from left-back to whip in a cross, which is controlled superbly by Pazzini before his shot on the turn flashes over the crossbar.
Mathieu Flamini looks to break the scoring with a speculative effort from distance, but the Frenchman's drive flashes wide of Marchetti's left-hand post.
Few signs of complacency from Milan as Boateng balloons an effort over the bar from the edge of the box. Allegri will be keen for his players to open the scoring before the break.
Sergio Floccari's hold-up play needs to improve if Lazio are to snatch anything from this match. The 31-year-old just cannot hold possession of the ball for the visitors at the moment and Milan continue to come forward in numbers.
Yellow Card Giampaolo Pazzini
Giampaolo Pazzini is the first Milan player to be cautioned when he goes down easily under a challenge from Radu when trying to control Montolivo's cross. Nicola Rizzoli waves his penalty appeals away and brandishes the yellow card for simulation.
Lazio have hardly ventured into the Milan half since going down to ten men. Can Allegri's side make the presure count before the break? Let me know your thoughts on the match via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
El Shaarawy is causing real problems when cutting in from the left and he dashes past Perreirinha with ease before his teasing cross is excellently headed clear by Andre Dias. The 20-year-old looks hungry to add to his 16-goal Serie A tally this evening.
SO CLOSE FOR MILAN! De Sciglio gets forward excellently from left-back and delivers a peach of a cross with his right foot which somehow evades both Pazzini and Boateng before shaving the outside of the post. It only needed a touch! Lazio hanging on a little here.
Milan's attacking trident of Boateng, El Shaarawy and Pazzini produce some fantastic passing and movement but the Ghanaian international cannot get his strike away on the edge of the box. Moments later, Montolivo finds space 25 yards out but he can only slice an effort high and wide of Marchetti's goal.
No signs of a change from Vladimir Petkovic as Lazio regroup after Candreva's dismissal. They seem to be looking to release Floccari with early balls over the top of Zapata and Yepes but no luck so far.
Milan have their tails in the air now and Pereirinha makes a crucial interception to divert Abate's cross over his own crossbar. From the resulting corner, Boateng rises above Floccari but can only nod his header over the crossbar.
Kevin Prince Boateng lays the ball off for Montolivo on the edge of the box and the midfielder's low drive flashes just past Marchetti's right-hand post. The Lazio players are still protesting with Rizzoli but in the laws of the game, it seems he made the right decision.
Red Card Antonio Candreva
CANDREVA SENT OFF! Nicola Rizzoli clearly feels that the Lazio man prevented El Shaarawy a goalscoring opportunity and Candreva is dismissed. Milan have a freekick right on the edge of the Lazio penalty box. Can they compound Lazio's misery with a goal?
All eyes on Nicola Rizzoli as Stephan El Shaarawy jinks inside Giuseppe Biava before being brought down on the very edge of the box by Candreva. What will the official give?
Senad Lulic embarks on a run down the left wing and his deflected cross finds its way to Hernanes on the edge of the box, but the Brazilian's effort is well blocked by Montolivo.
Montolivo delivers a teasing corner into the Lazio box but Kevin Prince Boateng's header flashes over the crossbar. Milan in the ascendency after that early Lazio spell.
EL SHAARAWY GOES CLOSE! Pazzini does fantastically to twist and turn his way past Biava down the right touchline and his inch-perfect cross picks out El Shaarawy in the middle, but the in-form striker can only head over the bar under pressure from Pereirinha. Maybe should have hit the target there.
Riccardo Montolivo has hardly put a pass astray so far and the Italian international midfielder is looking to pull the strings in the midfield early on. Not seen too much of the Lazio playmaker Hernanes so far.
Milan work the ball well around the Lazio box with El Shaarawy continuing his bright start to the match but Massimo Ambrosini cannot make good contact with his strike and his sliced effort is cleared by the Biancocelesti defence.
LAZIO SHOULD SCORE! Candreva does fantastically to latch onto a long ball and get in behind De Sciglio and Yepes down the right and he cuts the ball back perfectly for Floccari but the striker wastefully scuffs his effort straight at Abbiati when the net should really have been bulging.
MILAN GO CLOSE AGAIN! El Shaarawy feels he should have a penalty when he rounds Marchetti but the Lazio goalkeeper manages to get a slight touch on the ball and Boateng's rebound is blocked off the line excellently by Biava. Brilliant start to this match!
GOOD SAVE FROM MARCHETTI! Bruno Pereirinha almost gifts Stephan El Shaarawy a goal when his sloppy pass is intercepted by the 20-year-old but Federico Marchetti stands his ground excellently to make a brilliant block.
Bright start from Petkovic's side who are enjoying the lion's share of the possession early on. Candreva causing early problems down the right wing.
Lazio force a corner after 22 seconds of play and Antonio Candreva's delivery is headed wide of the goal by Senad Lulic at the near post.
Rizzoli blows his whistle and Lazio get the game underway!
Nicola Rizzoli is tonight's official and he leads the sides onto the field. Good atmosphere as ever at the Giuseppe Meazza. Prepare for kickoff!
Milan are undefeated in 10 of their last 11 home matches against Lazio in all competitions. Can they continue that good run tonight? Kickoff is under ten minutes away...
Lazio are on an indifferent run of form, having lost three, drawn two and won one of their last six Serie A games. However, Vladimir Petkovic's side ran out 3-2 winners at the Stadio Olimpico in the reverse fixture between the two sides back in October.
With Edinson Cavani struggling for form, Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy stands a real chance of winning the Capocannoniere this season. With 16 Serie A goals already, it's been has truly brilliant season for a player who only turned 20 in October. Can Il Faraone celebrate signing his new contract in style this evening?
Vladimir Petkovic makes two changes to the side which eased past Pescara 2-0 last weekend. Bruno Pereirinha makes his first Serie A start on his 25th birthday, replacing Abdoulay Konko whilst Giuseppe Biava is recalled into the heart of the Biancocelesti defence at the expense of Lorik Cana. Sergio Floccari has recovered from a knee problem to lead the attack.
Massimiliano Allegri makes four changes to the side which drew the Derby della Madonnina last weekend. Colombian defender Mario Yepes comes in for the suspended Philippe Mexes whilst midfield duo Antonio Nocerino and Sulley Muntari make way for Mathieu Flamini and Massimo Ambrosini. Mario Balotelli has not recovered from a shin problem sustained in a challenge against Samir Handanovic and is replaced by Giampaolo Pazzini.
LAZIO (4-4-1-1): Marchetti; Pereirinha, Biava, Dias, Radu; Ledesma; Candreva, Gonzalez, Hernanes, Lulic; Floccari.
MILAN (4-3-3): Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Yepes, De Sciglio; Flamini, Ambrosini, Montolivo; Boateng, Pazzini, El Shaarawy.
Here are tonight's lineups, starting with the Rossoneri...
Lazio have a poor record at the Giuseppe Meazza, only managing nine wins, 21 draws and 39 defeats in Serie A. However, their last three visits here have ended in draws.
Milan look to continue their impressive unbeaten start to 2013 tonight but they face a stern test against a Lazio side who sit two points above them in the final UEFA Champions League spot. Massimiliano Allegri's side have won each of their last six matches at the Giuseppe Meazza, can they continue their good form tonight? Bringing you all the live action from this Serie A evening kickoff, my name is Max Bentley. Feel free to let me know your thoughts and predictions on the match via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
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