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Italy - Serie A
February 15, 2013
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: D. Massa
• Attendance: 33077
G. Paletta 39' (own goal)
M. Balotelli 78'
N. Sansone 90'+
So Milan secure their sixth straight home win in Serie A against Roberto Donadoni's men, with Paletta's own goal and a sublime free kick from Balotelli enough to seal the points despite Sansone's consolation at the death. Allegri will largely have been pleased with his side's all-round commitment in their peformance, particularly given the daunting prospect of Barcelona looming large on the horizon. Parma, in truth, didn't offer enough in attack, although they can point to an unfortunate own goal and a moment of individual brilliance as the deciding factors on the day. That's everything from San Siro for tonight, but stay with Goal.com for all the reaction to the match!
90' + 4'
No, is the answer to that! Sansone's finish is pretty much the last touch of the game as the referee draws proceedings to an end. It's finished AC Milan 2-1 Parma.
90' + 3'
Assist Jonathan Biabiany
90' + 3'
Goal Nicola Sansone
WAIT - GOLAZZZOOOO!!! Parma have one back! With scarcely a minute on the clock, Biabiany is picked out down the right and drills a low cross into the path of Belfodil, whose effort is blocked on the line by Abbiati allowing Sansone to tuck the ball home! Is there time for a comeback?
Three minutes of stoppage time to play, though it looks to be pretty academic now.
Fine challenge from Muntari on Biabiany, and he launches it towards Balotelli, who bustles Paletta out of the way before falling to the floor to win a free kick. Montolivo tries his luck from distance but is denied.
Final change for AC Milan as Niang makes way for Traore. He's been lively tonight but has struggled to find an end product, but at least he'll now earn a few extra minutes' rest ahead of next week.
Massimiliano Allegri can be pleased with his midfield tonight. The returing Montolivo and Nocerino have worked very hard to keep on top of their opponents, which bodes well for the daunting task of containing Barcelona's middle men next week. Biabiany drives down filed and Montolivo, once more, comes across to cover and the danger is cleared.
Constant gets on the attacking foot this time, running at Mesbah into the area, but his cross is deflected back onto him and behind for a goal kick.
Mario's in the mood now: Bojan robs Valdes and Balotelli flicks it over the top to Niang but Pavarini is out sharply to claim the ball. San Siro might be half empty tonight, but it's in full voice now!
Goal Mario Balotelli
GOOOLLLAAAZZZOOOOO!!!! BELISSSSIIIMAAA BALOTELLI!! Paletta slammed into the striker to concede a free kick just 20 yards out. He wasted two earlier strikes from distance, but not this time, as he bends the ball delightfully up and over the wall and past Pavarini. Milan double their lead!
Milan let down by their final ball again! Niang races clear down the left and prods through to Bojan, but he puts too much on it and forces the Italy midfielder wide. Could they be made to rue this profligacy up front?
Yellow Card Cristian Zapata
Biabiany has suddenly come to life again after a subdued second half so far. He concedes a free kick this time, but he looks to have the beating of Constant almost every time.
Niang's cross is headed behind for a throw-in, and Milan move backwards with the ball. Parma have made their third and final change, with Amauri making way for Ishak Belfodil.
CHANCE! Valdes, with no run-up, clips the ball towards Amauri but the Brazilian can't get a touch to the ball under pressure from Zapata. At the other end, Pavarini rushes out to head clear as Balotelli bares down on goal, and Niang tries a spectacular attempt to lob the ball into the empty net but gets his angles wrong.
Second change for Parma as Andrea Coda makes way for Yohan Benalouane. They have a free kick in a dangerous area now, following Muntari's foul on Ninis.
Yellow Card Marco Marchionni
Marchionni picks up the first booking of the night for tripping up Montolivo rather cynically. Milan have also made their first change - no doubt with one eye on Barcelona - as Boateng makes way for Bojan.
CLOSE! Balotelli's first effort hits a defender just behind the wall, but he smashes the rebound just a couple of feet wide of the top corner. That would have been some goal. A moment later, a sublime chest touch and flick from Niang releases De Sciglio, but his cross thumps into Coda and the danger is gone.
Balotelli skips beyond Rosi and is hauled down. Milan free kick, dead centre, 30 yards from goal.
Much more open game here now: Parma know they have to go for it a little more, and have brought on Sotiris Ninis for the ineffective Marco Parolo with this in mind; this is leaving a lot more space for the hosts to exploit on the attack. Half an hour left to play...
Oh, that was a chance for Milan on the break! Boateng skipped beautifully over the challenge of Coda, but his pass to Balotelli is too heavy and runs out of play. Mario is frustrated with that, and understandably so.
STAT ATTACK: In six of their last eight matches at home to Parma, Milan have led at both half-time and full-time. Doesn't bode too well for Roberto Donadoni's men...
So close for Boateng! Delightful one-touch passing between Muntari and Balotelli, who fired the ball across goal for Boateng who could only sidefoot just wide of the far post. Good star to the half from the hosts.
Paletta slices a clearance behind for a corner, but Parma clear the resulting delivery with ease. Niang then drives at his man and crosses with pace to the near post but Muntari's touch serves only to take the ball behind for a goal kick.
Good pressure from Milan in Parma's half. Balotelli dummies a through-ball to Boateng but Sansone robs him, and the Rossoneri man is bizarrely penalised for being pushed over by his marker. Free kick Parma.
Good tracking back from Niang there to intercept Sansone's pass. Milan launch a counter and Boateng tees up Balotelli but Paletta sees him off.
Milan get the second half underway!
Can Parma get back into this one? Will Milan press on from here to secure the win? Will we see the best of Super Mario second half? Let me know your thoughts: @JoeWright004...
So Milan head into the break with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of that disastrous own goal from Gabriel Paletta shortly before the interval. Parma will feel hard done by having played well in patches in the first half, but in a match of scant clear-cut chances, it was always likely to be an error or a piece of magic to break the deadlock. It proved to be the former, and Milan will be the happiest at the break!
Yepes slides in to block Biabiany's cross out for a corner. The delivery is cleared to Mesbah, who launches it back to the winger, but he can't keep the ball in play before firing across goal, and Abbiati takes the goal kick... and thus the half draws to a close!
Muntari trips Marchionni and Parma launch an attack. Milan win it back and De Sciglio tries to release Boateng down the flank, but it runs out of play.
That really was a sucker-punch to Parma. They've restricted Milan to half chances for the most part, and will be gutted to have conceded like that so close to half-time.
Own Goal Gabriel Paletta
GOOAAAALAAAZZZZZOOOO MILAN!!! A terrible mix-up in the Parma defence as Paletta pokes Boateng's cross under Pavarini's body from close range. An awful goal to concede, but Milan lead just before the break!
Constant bursts forward and plays a one-two with Niang, but is tackled for a throw-in. The resulting cross is far too deep and Mesbah watches it out for a throw on the far side.
Half a chance for Boateng! De Sciglio's cross is headed away by Mesbah and Boateng hits it first time with his left, but it's a fairly simple save for Pavarini low to his left.
That was one such chance! A glorious through-ball from Balotelli picks out Boateng, but his pull-back from inside the area has too much on it for Niang and it goes behind for a goal kick. The attacking trio almost combined to perfect effect there!
Very evenly balanced so far. Not much in the way of clear-cut chances, but both sides look like they have goals in them.
Lovely interplay between Sansone and Paletta, and the former wins a free kick from Muntari's lunge. Wasted in the end by an outrageous attempt to score from 35 yards.
Biabiany is causing all kinds of problems for Constant on the Milan left. Another surge from the midfielder sees him reach the byline and pull back for Amauri, but he can't control it and Milan get the goal kick. A quick counter sees Nocerino release Boateng, but his effort is deflected safely into the keeper's hands from 20 yards.
More confusion in the home penalty area as Constant and Yepes fail to clear successfully. Abbiati is then called into action, springing to his left to hold Amauri's effort.
Looking at replays of that, Boateng had the freedom of the San Siro at the far post then, but Balotelli's cross went towards the near. That really was a good chance, if only the Italy man had lifted his head. Milan back in possession once more.
Balotelli hammers the free kick into the wall from 25 yards, then finds himself with the ball on the right after good work from Montolivo but his clipped cross is safely caught. Milan had men free at the far post then.
Montolivo flights a free kick into the box but Pavarini claims comfortably. Bit of a waste, that - it was a great position for the cross. Balotelli is all hot and bothered now after he was caught by a stray arm when challenging for a header - nothing doing, it's all handbags, really.
De Sciglio drives towards the byline but Sansone wins it back and somehow dribbles all the way to halfway without going out of play.
Milan have finally gained some territory, and have a throw of their own in Parma's half. It goes back to Yepes, who sends it forward and Milan win a free kick off ex-player Djamel Mesbah.
Brilliant strength and commitment from Amauri to hold of Yepes and Muntari and force a throw-in. He seems keen to justify his selection from the off - he's been full of running so far.
Parma have woken up now. Milan just can't clear their lines properly, and when they finally do, Niang and Balotelli get in a mix-up and it's out for a throw-in.
Great chance for Paletta! Milan make a mess of clearing a corner and the defender drives into the box but pulls his effort wide of the far post. Big opening for the visitors there, but the wrong man in the right place!
Boateng picks up a cross-field pass from Zapata, but his effort is comfortable for Pavarini. At the other end, Mario Yepes forces Abbiati into a save with a diving header towards his own goal, but Milan survive. It's been a purposeful start at both ends from the hosts!
First half-chance for Balotelli! A strong run from Niang creates space on the edge of the box and the striker lets fly left-footed, but it's deflected out for a corner. Boateng is penalised for handball from the delivery, and Parma have possession.
An ambitious long ball to Amarui is shepherded out by Muntari. Parma attack once more, but Montolivo intercepts.
We're off! Parma, in black and white, get us underway...
The players are out on the pitch - we're just seconds away from the start!
What are your predictions for tonight? Score? Scorers? Key players? Key battles? Let me know over on Twitter at @JoeWright004. Kick-off is just minutes away!
Milan will undoubtedly have one eye on the visit of Barca next week, but they've won their last five home games in the league and will not wish to see that record halted now that Inter are in sight in the table. For Parma, there are many who are billing this as an audition for Roberto Donadoni: the coach is widely tipped to take over from Massimiliano Allegri next season, and should he mastermind a victory here, he has every chance of forcing Galliani's hand...
For the visitors, a slight surprise to see top scorer Ishak Belfodil among the substitutes, with Amauri selected in his stead, reportedly as a result of some strong performances in training.
As expected, Stephan El Shaarawy is rested tonight ahead of next week's Champions League clash with Barcelona. Mario Balotelli is ineligible for the tie, so he retains his place in the side, and is joined by Kevin-Prince Boateng and M'Baye Niang in a three-pronged attack. Riccardo Montolivo returns from suspension and will slot back into midfield.
Parma (4-3-3): Pavarini; Rosi, Paletta, Coda, Mesbah; Marchionni, Valdes, Parolo; Sansone, Amauri, Biabiany.
AC Milan (4-3-3): Abbiati; De Sciglio, Zapata, Yepes, Constant; Nocerino, Montolivo, Muntari; Niang, Balotelli, Boateng.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's live play-by-play coverage of tonight's Serie A clash between AC Milan and Parma! I'm Joe Wright, and I'll be bringing you the all-important team news shortly...
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