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Italy - Serie A
April 19, 2014
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: M. Irrati
• Attendance: 38903
M. Balotelli 43'
A. Taarabt 51'
G. Pazzini 83'
I'm Alex Moretto and I'd like to thank you all for joining me here today. I hope you enjoyed the action! Good bye.
FULL-TIME: MILAN 3-0 LIVORNO. Goals from Mario Balotelli, Adel Taarabt and Giampaolo Pazzino give the hosts a valuable three points as they search for a spot in Europe next season.
90' + 2'
The referee blows his whistle and we've reached full-time at the San Siro! Milan extend their winning streak to five games, while Livorno inch ever closer to the drop.
Two minutes to be added on here...
The first sign of life we've seen from the visitors in a long time, as a shot from distance takes a deflection and they win themselves a corner. It's originally cleared, but played back into the box. Belfodil sidesteps Mexes, but the Frenchman recovers to get a block in.
Livorno players look deflated out on the pitch, as they inch ever closer to sealing their fate. They have four games left to salvage an unlikely stay in the Serie A for next season.
STAT ATTACK: Milan are about to win their fifth consecutive league match for the first time since 2011, a silver lining in what has been a dismal season to date for the Rossoneri.
Assist Mario Balotelli
Goal Giampaolo Pazzini
GOOOOOOOOOAL! Game. Set. Match. Giampaolo Pazzini takes a lovely pass from Mario Balotelli, shows his skill with a nice first touch to get to the right of the keeper and slots home confidently. Milan have finally put this game to bed.
STUNNING MISS FROM PAZZINI! The substitute beats the offside trap and is played in behind the defence and has time and space to find a third goal for Milan, but tries to chip the keeper instead. He puts far too much power behind it, and the ball is always rising, flying way over the bar.
MONTOLIVO! Milan win a free kick along the right but opt to play it short. Some sharp passes end up playing Montolivo inside the box, with options in the middle, but Castellini makes a nice recovery to block the cross.
Milan are doing such an excellent job with their transition play. They win the ball in defence and get up the pitch with such incredible pace and crisp passing. It's just breaking down in the final third a bit too often, but Livorno really aren't sure how to deal with it.
Emeghara comes off for Livorno after a very disappointing performance from the Swiss striker. Meanwhile, Milan bring off Kaka to a thunderous applause from the home fans. The clock quickly dwindling down now as Milan look to close out the final 15 minutes.
STAT ATTACK: Livorno have lost all eight of their matches away to current top half of the table teams, managing just one goal while conceding 19.
Yellow Card Adil Rami
BALOTELLI! The forward is never afraid to have a go, as he gets on the end of a pass from 25 yards out and lets fly! His shot takes a big deflection off a defender, and Livorno break on a counter, forcing Rami into a tackle that sees him into the referee's book.
Another counter for Milan goes begging! The Rossoneri have four men forward against three Livorno defenders, but Kaka's pass for Balotelli is a bit behind him, slowing the move down, before an errant return pass ends the attack altogether.
Sulley Muntari comes on for Nigel De Jong. Smart change from Seedorf who knows the aggressive nature of his countryman and former teammate, and won't risk going down to 10-men with De Jong already on a yellow.
Nigel De Jong
GREAT SAVE BARDI! Another promising move from Milan as they outnumber Livorno in attack. Balotelli makes himself available in the middle, and Kaka tries to pick him out with a low cross across the face of goal. Bardi sees it coming, and dives out to get a piece of the cross to prevent a third goal.
Livorno, trailing by two goals, are lacking any sort of urgency at the moment. Milan are having an easy go of things in defence, and look much more likely to add a third.
JUST TOO FAR FOR BALOTELLI! Milan break on a counter, and Balotelli gets himself into acres of space on the right, but the pass forward is just too long, forcing him to a bad angle. He tries to cross it in for Kaka but it's too high and eventually kicked behind for a corner.
Taarabt matches him stride for stride! The Moroccan showing his skill, skipping away from challenges, and eluding defenders with a few step-overs before finally winning a corner kick.
WHERE'S THE SUPPORT?!? Greco picks up the ball along the left and makes a lovely run, beating Abate, Taarabt and Rami before seeing he has no one around him making a run, and Montolivo is able to lunge in and sniff out the danger.
Where has the pace gone? The second goal has really taken the life out of the game at the moment. It will be up to Livorno to pick it up, with their lives in Italy's top flight on the line with five games left.
STAT ATTACK: Milan have won four straight league matches for the first time this season, and are unbeaten in their last five.
Goal Adel Taarabt
GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAL! Adel Taarabt doubles Milan's lead, and it's really been coming early on in this second half! The QPR loan takes a pass at the top of the box, cuts inside around some suspect defending, and slots home past a livid Bardi between the posts.
NEARLY A SECOND! The free kick is sent into the area and met by Balotelli with a venomous volley, but sent over the bar.
Great strength and technical ability shown by Balotelli as he dances around the right edge of the area and fends off two defenders before finally winning a free-kick after Mesbah lunges in with a tackle.
MONTOLIVO! What a start to the second half that would have been! Milan kick-off and immediately get up the pitch. Balotelli breaks into the box and cuts it back for Montolivo who sees his swerving shot just palmed away by Bardi.
STAT ATTACK: Christian Abbiati and Ignazio Abate are the only two current Milan players who were in the team when Livorno last visited the San Siro.
HALF-TIME: MILAN 1-0 LIVORNO. A Mario Balotelli goal has the hosts deservedly in front at the break. The Rossoneri have looked dangerous in attack, especially through the link-up play of Robinho and Kaka. Livorno are defending admirably, but really need to find a way to trouble the Milan defence in the second half.
Interestingly enough, referee Massimiliano Irrati decides not to add on any time at the end of the first half, as the whistle sounds and the teams head to their change rooms for the break.
STAT ATTACK: Milan have now scored a first half goal in each of their last six games.
Assist Kevin Constant
Goal Mario Balotelli
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAL! The pressure finally pays off as Mario Balotelli gets on the end of a Kevin Constant cross to head home past a helpless Bardi. Milan have there lead just before the stroke of half-time!
Milan putting some great pressure on here. Livorno can't get the ball away from them as they patiently build-up and pass it around just outside the Livorno box.
Great tackle by Rinaudo, who slides in to dispossess the shifty Taaraby at the top of the box to break up a Milan move. It was important for him to get that right, as he's already on a yellow card. There has been a lovely pace to this game with both teams eager to find the back of the net. Back and forth they go as we approach the break.
STAT ATTACK: Mario Balotelli scored a brace for the Rossoneri in a 2-2 draw in this season's reverse fixture.
ABATE LUCKY NOT TO CONCEDE A PENALTY! Mesbah completely blows by the speedy Abata, and the right-back lunges in for a challenge, but the referee deemed the contact to have come just outside the box. Milan escape with one there, as the ensuing free kick is send miles over the bar.
Yellow Card Ignazio Abate
VITAL DEFENDING BY RINAUDO! Robinho is sent in and looks to be clear of the defence, but a great recovery from the centre-back allows him to get a piece of the Robinho shot, deflecting it just wide at the near post with Bardi beaten.
Yellow Card Leandro Rinaudo
Nasty challenge by Rinaudo, who is the latest player to find himself in the book. He makes hard contact with the back of Balotelli's head, and the Milan striker is none too pleased.
KAKA NEARLY OPENS THE SCORING! Robinho holds the ball up just inside the left of the box. He takes on two defenders, but a strong challenge sees the ball roll behind him, where Kaka is there to follow up, smacking his first time shot just inches wide of the far post!
Corner kick awarded now to Milan as they begin to amp up the pressure. Balotelli does what he does so often, taking on seemingly everyone back in defence for Livorno, and does an excellent job to get his shot off, which takes a deflection and just flies wide of the far post.
BRILLIANT MOVE FROM THE HOSTS! Milan work the ball around outside the box. Robinho picks out Balotelli, who finds the run of Constant in behind the defence, but the left-back cant beat Bardi who charges out to make a superb save!
Yellow Card Nigel De Jong
Cards being shown at a rapid pace now. Milan's high pressing and insistence to win back the ball sees Nigel De Jong lunge in at the feet of former teammate Mesbah. Much to his own dismay, he's shown a yellow card and concedes the free kick.
Yellow Card Joseph Duncan
Duncan is the first man to be booked today as his challenge on Taarabt earns him a yellow. It looked to be a bit of a poor decision by the referee, who was fooled by the Moroccan's theatrical fall to ground.
SHOUTS FOR A PENALTY! Piccini makes a nice run, beating Constant and breaking into the box. He tries to sidestep Mexes, but is caught by the back-tracking De Jong before Mexes can dispossess him. No foul is given.
Selfish play by Greco! The midfielder runs at the Milan defence, with Paulinho and Emeghara making runs on either side, but he opts to have a go from distance, failing to put his shot on target and trouble Abbiati.
Play is blown dead as Montolivo lunges in with a harsh challenge on Benassi in midfield. The ensuing free kick is sent towards the area, but dealt with easily by Milan. Livorno are failing to really threaten the Rossoneri defence early on.
OFF THE BAR! Milan win a free kick just inside the attacking half, and the ball is lofted into the box from long range. Rami beats his defender and send a looping header over the helpless Bardi, but off the woodwork! Milan inching ever closer to an opener!
STAT ATTACK: Livorno have just one point from their past five league matches.
VITAL BLOCK IN THERE! Robino is found with acres of space along the left, no defenders within 20 feet of him. He charges forward into the box and lays it off for the overlapping run of Kaka. The Brazilian gets into a clear shooting position, but Rinaudo lunges over to block the shot at the crucial moment.
The hosts are attempting to slow the play after a relatively quick start from both teams. They pass it around in their own half for a while before sending Kaka on a run down the right. The Brazilian works it into the centre for his countryman Robinho, but his shot is blocked and Livorno clear the danger.
RAMI WITH A NEAR SLIP! Back the other way come Livorno. Emeghara does some great work alone in attack, cutting in from the left and seeing his shot blocked behind for a corner. The ball is eventually played into the box and Rami mishits it, allowing it to roll into the heart of the box, but Mexes is there to back up his defence partner.
Milan win an early corner kick through a quick attacking move. Mexes starts up Taarabt who charges at the heart of the Livorno defence. He tries to play in Robinho along the left but it's just cleared by Valentini.
Livorno kick-off and we're underway at the San Siro! The visitors are sporting their white tops with burgundy shorts, moving left to right. Milan are in their classic red and black home kits.
STAT ATTACK: The last time the two teams met at the San Siro, current Milan coach Clarence Seedorf started for the Rossoneri in midfield, alongside David Beckham and Ronaldinho.
Milan are institutting two changes to the team that scraped by Catania last week, with Ignazio Abate and Robinho's inclusion to the starting XI at the expense of Daniele Bonera and Andrea Poli. Meanwhile, for Livorno, Innocent Emeghara returns to the line-up with Luca Siligardi slotting to the bench.
LIVORNO SUBS: Mosquera, Bartolini, Belfodil, Anania, Emerson, Siligardi, Borja, Aldegani, Coda, Tiritiello.
MILAN SUBS: Amelia, De Sciglio, Muntari, Saponara, Pazzini, Poli, Zapata, Bonera, Silvestre, Emanuelson, Gabriel, Zaccardo.
LIVORNO XI (3-4-3): Bardi; Valentini, Rinaudo, Castellini; Piccini, Benassi, Duncan, Mesbah; Greco, Paulinho, Emeghara.
MILAN XI (4-2-3-1): Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Rami, Constant; De Jong, Montolivo; Taarabt, Kaka, Robinho; Balotelli.
The teams have been announced, so let us have ourselves a look at today's starting line-ups:
Livorno are in a different sort of battle at the other end of the table. Domenico Di Carlo's men sit in the final relegation spot, trailing Bologna by three points with five matches remaining. It's hardly an insurmountable deficit to overcome, but with matches still to play against Milan, Lazio, Udinese, Fiorentina and Parma, they will have to be at their best if they want to continue their stay in Italy's top flight.
Milan are trying to salvage something of their season under new manager Clarence Seedorf, and have experienced somewhat of a revival in the past few weeks. They sit five points back of rivals Inter for the final Europa League spot with five matches remaining, their only hope of playing European football next season as they are set to miss out on the Champions League for the first time since 2008.
Good evening Serie A fans around the world, and welcome to today's match between table Milan and relegation candidates Livorno at the San Siro. I'm Alex Moretto and I'll be your in-game host, guiding you through the match LIVE as it happens!
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