Sensational Ronaldinho performance fires Milan to victory…An awe-inspiring Milan performance saw them crush Serie A new boys Lecce 4-0 and send out a warning to the rest of Serie A that they mean business this season.
The action on the field threatened to be overshadowed by Milan’s blockbusting new loan signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic – but even the Swede, who was watching from the stands, must’ve been mesmerised as Ronaldinho rolled back the years and put in a performance reminiscent of those he used to serve up in his Barcelona heyday.Alexandre Pato opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a fine angled drive, but it was his fellow Brazilian who stole the show.
The 30-year-old used his magic to conjure first half goals for Thiago Silva, who scrambled home a corner, and then Pato, who rounded the goalkeeper and rolled into an empty net for his second of the night after he was put through on goal by Ronaldinho’s exquisite slide-rule pass.
The ageless Filippo Inzaghi rounded off the victory when he fired through Antonio Rosati’s legs in the 90th minute.
There was a real fluency to Milan’s play in the first half as they cut Lecce open almost at will, with Ronaldinho’s incisive through balls and Pato’s electrifying pace particularly terrifying the Lecce rearguard.
The second half was a tamer affair, however.
With the match already won, Milan took their foot off the gas and looked content to pass the ball about rather than go for the jugular and run up a significant score line.
Milan had the ball in the Lecce net in the 60th minute but Marco Borriello’s crisp volley was ruled out for offside.
Then, just three minutes later, fleet-footed substitute Filippo Inzaghi raced on to another visionary pass by the masterful Ronaldinho, but his carefully placed lob hit the post and rebounded to safety.
Lecce, on the other hand, were much improved in the second 45. They saw more of the ball but lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
Their only real chance of note fell to substitute Javier Chevanton, but his curling effort was expertly saved by Christian Abbiati.
Inzaghi completed the scoring with seconds left on the clock to ensure that Massimiliano Allegri’s men would be topping the Serie A table tonight.
Both sides now face a two-week hiatus due to the upcoming international break in which the Azzurri travel to Estonia and then play the Faroe Islands at home.
Serie A action resumes on Sunday, September 12 when Milan will look to build on this win with another three points at Cesena, while the Salentini face an ominous away fixture versus Fiorentina on the same day.