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September 22, 2013
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: L. Banti
• Attendance: 51384
M. Balotelli 90'+
M. Britos 6'
G. Higuaín 54'
That is it from me, Tom Webber, for this evening. Thanks a lot for joining me and I hope you enjoyed that match just as much as I did. Have a great night.
FULL TIME - Milan 1-2 Napoli: Balotelli's late strike is not enough for the Rossoneri as they are beaten by goals in either half from Britos and Higuain. The former Manchester City man missed from the spot in the second half, and so the Partenopei pick up their first win in Milan since 1986!
90' + 4'
Yellow/Red Mario Balotelli
90' + 4'
The final whistle goes!
90' + 3'
Napoli are clinging on here now! Milan attempting to pump ball after ball into the area. Can they complete another miraculous comeback?
90' + 1'
Assist M'Baye Niang
90' + 1'
Goal Mario Balotelli
STUNNING GOAL!! Balotelli finally gets his goal! The striker pulls into space 20 yards from goal and after receiving the pass from Niang he curls an exquisite effort into the far corner.
90' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional three minutes.
ALMOST A THIRD FOR NAPOLI! Dzemaili charges forward and wins the ball. It falls to Pandev who plays it back to him but his shot is parried by Abbiati. The Macedonian follows it in but smashes his follow up effort into the side netting.
Muntari gives the ball away in a dangerous area but Napoli are unable to take full advantage as the cross into the box does not find a blue shirt.
Balotelli misses the target! It has not been his night tonight, has it? He has worked his socks off but things have not gone his way in front of goal.
Yellow Card Miguel Angel Britos
That is a cynical challenge from Britos as he brings down Balotelli 25 yards from goal. Maybe the third free kick will prove lucky for the striker tonight.
That is just Milan's luck! Robinho takes a quick corner and Zapata nods it back into the danger area from the back post. The ball falls for Niang, who volleys it at goal but Matri gets in the way of the shot.
Penalty claim for Milan! Balotelli beats Mesto on the left and gets into the area. It looks as though he is clipped by the defender but perhaps Super Mario's dramatic fall sways the referee against awarding the penalty.
Abate has been relentless up and down the right flank this evening and he has been withdrawn for Nocerino. His work-rate has been brilliant having only recently recovered from injury.
GREAT SAVE!! Balotelli is again the source of danger, bending an effort from outside the box at the Napoli goal. He puts it straight down the middle but Reina is forced to leap up and tip the ball over the bar.
Vital interception from Zapata! Callejon looks to force his way into the area with a one-two with Higuain. The Argentine lifts the return pass over the defece but Zapata spins and hooks the ball away before Callejon can fire it at goal.
Milan came back from two behind late on in their previous Serie A outing against Torino. Can they do the same tonight? With all due respect it will be much tougher against higher quality opposition.
OFF THE BAR!! That is better from Balotelli! He picks up the ball in midfield and passes it into Matri before continuing his run. Matri holds onto it before threading the ball into the striker's path. He takes a touch to get it into position for a shot which beats Reina but comes back off the bar.
Balotelli has been carrying Milan tonight, that is why it came as such a shock that he missed that penalty. Since then he has begun to show signs of a lack of interest in the game. He needs to get over the penalty and move on.
Yellow Card Nigel De Jong
Great strike form Balotelli with his right foot! It bounces just in front of Reina but the keeper manages to hold onto it.
Matri must do more there! Balotelli drops deep and clips a great ball over the top of the defence for his strike partner. Reina comes out and wins the 50-50 as Matri only dangles a limp leg towards the ball.
Zapata takes a huge risk by trying to dribble out from the back and he is caught by Insigne. Napoli think they have a great chance to make it three but the referee blows for a free kick.
Napoli take a quick free kick and Hamsik lashes the ball into the goal. There is a roar from a section of the crowd but the referee is not happy and pulls play back for the set play to be retaken.
Yellow Card Andrea Poli
Penalty save Pepe Reina
SAVED BY REINA!! Balotelli nonchalantly steps up and puts the ball to the keeper's right, but it is close enough for Reina to get a hand on it and parry it aside.
Missed Penalty Mario Balotelli
PENALTY FOR MILAN!! Balotelli goes down inside the area as Albiol runs through the back of him. Clumsy from the Spaniard.
The previous three games between these two sides have ended in draws, but it will take something special from the Rossoneri to maintain that streak tonight.
Yellow Card Mario Balotelli
Well Milan may have had the run of the play but Napoli have been far more clinical inside the final third. Higuain's movement has been excellent tonight and he span De Jong so easily before unleashing the shot for the goal.
Assist Camilo Zúñiga
Goal Gonzalo Higuaín
GOOOOAALL!! NAPOLI GO 2-0 UP! Fantastic finish from Higuain as he thunders a low shot past Abbiati at his near post. The keeper cannot believe he has let that past him but it was a good effort from the Argentine.
The second half has picked up where the first left off: with Milan looking the more likely to find the net. Napoli have been unable to get their front four interlinking and in the game.
WHAT A CHANCE!! Reina fails to claim a cross into the area but Mexes is uanble to make the proper contact to divert the ball into the back of the net. He cannot believe it!
Balotelli takes it... straight into the wall! That is a waste from the striker as his effort fails to get past the line of Napoli defenders.
Balotelli shows great technique to bring Mexes pass under control on the turn and then run at the defence. He beats Britos for pace but the centre-back drags him down to concede the free kick 25 yards from goal.
Here we go, the second half is under way.
Welcome back! The teams are back out on the pitch so the second half will begin in a few moments.
HALF TIME - Milan 0-1 Napoli: The Partenopei came bursting out the blocks and took the lead with just six minutes on the clock through Britos. The Rossoneri eventually worked their way back into the game, with Balotelli at the heart of everything positive they created. However, they remain behind at the break. Join me for the second half in 15 minutes to see if they can find a route back.
45' + 3'
Higuain and Hamsik are unable to get the ball through the Milan defence and it proves to be the last attack of the half as the whistle goes for half time.
45' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional two minutes.
You can breath, Milan fans, Balotelli is back on the pitch!
Balotelli is down, holding his right knee. There was no challenge there so it suggests it could be a bad one. Milan fans will be desperate that the striker does not join the already length injury list.
The delivery is good and Hamsik gets up to meet it, but he fails to divert it on target. Napoli have gone off the boil since they scored that opening goal and are in danger of inviting the hosts back into this match.
Napoli are awarded a free kick in excess of 30 yards from goal after Muntari commits a foul. Callejon will swing this one into the area.
Albiol is down in his own box after taking a foot to the face as Balotelli attempted to connect with a corner with an overhead kick. There will be a short break in play here while the Spaniard receives treatment.
Penalty claim for Milan! Zuniga bundles over Poli down by the byeline, literally falling into the midfielder. The official behind the goal is standing over it but does not signal for anything. It could well have been given.
What a chance... but Muntari is offside! The Ghanaian is caught by the offside trap, which will come as slight relief as his control from Balotelli's cross was rather poor.
Napoli are struggling to pick up Balotelli as he continues to pop up in all areas of the pitch. This time he gains possession out on the left and chips a cross to the near post, but Matri makes his run too late to get onto the end of it.
BALOTELLI MISSES! The resultant corner is pinged to Balotelli, who peels his marker to find space at the back post. He takes the shot on the volley but is unable to control it and guide it on target.
Mexes pushes forward to support the attack and he passes the ball to Abate down by the byeline. The right-back chips a cross into the danger area and Reina is forced to turn it over the top of the bar.
Milan have won 11 of their last 13 home games in Serie A, but Napoli have been victorious on their travels eight times in their previous nine away fixtures. That has perhaps been reflected in this game, which is now looking fairly even.
Milan just slowing the tempo of the game down a bit now with a few passes along the back before pushing forward. Napoli's front four are unable to replicate the liquid link-up play that they showed during the early moments of this game.
Awful from Muntari! The Ghanaian receives a pass from Emanuelson and attempts to roll it back to his team-mate on the left. However, he plays a dreadful ball which goes straight out of play!
Another save from Reina! Birsa's clipped cross is headed at goal from 15 yards by Matri but he fails to get enough power on it to put it past the keeper.
Hamsik gives the ball away and Milan break. A cross into the box is dummied by Matri, but there is no one coming in behind to add a finish!
BIRSA! The Slovenian picks up the ball at the top of the box and looses and effort on goal. He fails to keep it down, though, and it goes over the top. He has had a few bright moments in this first half now.
Balotelli drops deep to pick up the ball and tries to find a way through the Napoli defence by playing a give-and-go with Muntari. The striker would have been in on goal had it not been for a crucial interception there.
Higuain is dispossessed inside the centre circle and Poli and Matri work the ball to Muntari. He opts to shoot for goal from distance but he sends it well over the top. That one was never going in.
That is poor control from Matri as he fails to bring Abate's cross down inside the box. The right-back has been a constant threat for the hosts and is enjoying a lot of space on that flank.
A long ball over the top almost falls for Birsa inside the box but Britos dives to get his head on it and sends it back to Reina. Good defending from the centre-back there.
SO CLOSE!! Napoli are spreading the play excellently and a cross from the right by Callejon is met by Hamsik inside the area. His header goes wide of the target but it looks to have got a touch off of Zapata, and a corner is awarded.
This is better from Milan! Abate's cross is flicked on to Balotelli at the back post by Matri. He brings the ball back inside but sends a rather tame effort at Reina's goal and the Spaniard holds it comfortably.
JUST WIDE!! Balotelli does strike it, but it lacks the whip to bring it back inside the post after going around the wall. Reina seemed to know that would be the outcome as he left that one alone.
Britos brings down Birsa in a central position, just shy of 30 yards from goal. I am sure Balotelli is going to want to hit this one.
GREAT SAVE FROM REINA!! Milan take a quick throw and Birsa lays the ball of to Balotelli with a backheel. The striker thumps a shot towards the bottom corner but the keeper gets down to it and manages to keep it out. Birsa is unable to find the net with the follow up.
Great challenge from Emanuelson! Napoli break through Insigne and he plays the ball to Callejon. A quick give-and-go puts the Spaniard through on goal but Emanuelson sticks with him and blocks his shot. The Rossoneri defence are all over the place at the moment.
Assist Raúl Albiol
Goal Miguel Angel Britos
GOOOOOAALL!! Napoli take the lead! Callejon's free kick is met by Albiol at the back post and he puts it back into the danger area where Britos nods home with a free header.
JUST WIDE!! Great build-up play from Napoli creates a chance for Higuain to have a goal at goal. He looks to pull his shot back across Abbiati but he sends it just the wrong side of the post.
WHAT A CHANCE!! Behrami wins the ball in midfield and races forward before passing to Insigne to his left. He continues his run and is not picked up by Emanuelson as he gets on the end of the return pass. He has the whole goal to aim at but he volleys over the top!
An electric start to the game so far! Lets hope that both sides can maintain this tempo as it will make for a thoroughly enjoyable 90 minutes.
OVER THE TOP! Abate swings a cross into the area from the right which reaches no one and Napoli counter through Callejon. He feeds Higuain who beats a man before passing to Hamsik. He makes a great run into space but the Slovakian goes for goal instead and shoots off target.
We are off at the San Siro!
The teams are making their way out onto the pitch now so kick off will be upon us shortly.
Hamsik is currently the joint-highest scorer in this Serie A season with Fiorentina's Giuseppe Rossi on four goals. Will he be able to add to his tally at the San Siro this evening?
Victory tonight would see Napoli join Roma, who defeated arch-rivals Lazio 2-0 earlier today, at the top of the league. Milan, meanwhile, need at least a point to get out of the bottom half of the table. Should they fail to do so, Allegri could be in real trouble.
Milan may be weakened by injuries this evening, but their home record against Napoli is quite impressive. The Partenopei last won away to the Rossoneri in April 1986, when an own goal from teenager Paolo Maldini was added to by Diego Maradona for a 2-1 victory.
Napoli bench: Rafael, Maggio, Fernandez, Cannavaro, Armero, Colombo, Inler, Pandev, Mertens, Zapata.
Napoli (4-2-3-1): Reina; Mesto, Albiol, Britos, Zuniga; Dzemaili, Behrami; Callejon, Hamsik, Insigne; Higuain.
Milan bench: Amelia, Constant, Zaccardo, Cristante, Nocerino, Vergara, Coppola, Niang, Robinho.
Milan (4-3-1-2): Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Emanuelson; Poli, De Jong, Muntari; Birsa; Matri, Balotelli.
Abate and Niang return to the squad for the Rossoneri, but their injury list is still lengthy. Kaka, Montolivo, El Shaarawy, Pazzini, De Sciglio, Silverstre and Bonera are all unfit for action. Napoli will be hoping to take advantage of a weakened Rossoneri outfit this evening and maintain their perfect start to life under Benitez.
Hello and welcome to this evening's LIVE text commentary on the tantalising Serie A meeting between AC Milan and Napoli at the San Siro. The two sides have had starkly contrasting starts to the season. Massimiliano Allegri is desperate for victory having won just one of his three opening Serie A games, while Rafa Benitez has guided the Partenopei to three wins from three league games. My name is Tom Webber and I will be guiding you through all the action tonight.
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