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September 28, 2013
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: S. Peruzzo
• Attendance: 31575
V. Birsa 46'
Milan will look to continue their bright start to the Champions League and have Mario Balotelli available when they travel to Ajax on Tuesday. As for Sampdoria, they will try to get their first league win of the season when they host Torino next weekend. That's all from me, folks. Until next time, goodbye!
FT: Milan 1-0 Sampdoria. Valter Birsa's 46th minute strike gives the Rossoneri a valuable three points and helps to ease the pressure on under-fire coach Massimiliano Allegri. In truth, it was a distinctly average performance from Milan, who were helped by a Sampdoria side bereft of ideas in attack.
90' + 1'
NIANG GOES CLOSE! The Frenchman has looked lively since his introduction and he gets to the ball ahead of Costa before firing a low drive across goal which is fingertipped behind for a corner.
It's not difficult to see why Sampdoria have struggled in front of goal this season and they have been limited to long-range shots this afternoon. Costa is the next to try his luck and his shot flashes narrowly wide.
De Silvestri is not afraid to get forward but after surging past Constant, he cannot pick out a white shirt in the box. Time running out for Sampdoria.
Bar that Robinho miss, Milan have not really looked likely to adding to their tally and Zapata glances a presentable header well wide of the target. It may be an average performance but it would be a valuable three points for Allegri's side.
No, they can't. The corner is whipped in from the left but it is a poor delivery and headed clear by De Jong at the near post. Milan counter attack and Robinho produces some neat footwork before winning a corner.
Sampdoria are forcing some late pressure at the Giuseppe Meazza and Abbiati concedes a corner when he pushes Sansone's free kick around the post. Can Delio Rossi's side snatch a late equaliser?
Sansone reads the spin of the ball excellently to get in behind Constant but he lacks composure in the box and snatches his shot wildly over the bar.
Emanuelson has given Milan a better shape in the second half and he looks for the aerial threat of Matri with his cross but can only find the gloves of Da Costa.
Andrea Costa has rarely had a run at Zaccardo down the left but he whips a cross into a dangerous area this time, only to see Mexes rises above Soriano to win a crucial header. Milan are starting to sit back a little here.
You can see that Petagna is keen to impress against his boyhood club but he is easily shaken off the ball by Zapata when he was looking to take a shot on goal. Allegri has tipped a bright future for the young striker who appeared in Milan's preseason campaign.
Andrea Poli has been relatively quiet against his former employers and he is the man to make way as Antonio Nocerino jogs onto the field.
Moments after Niang's tame shot is comfortably gathered by Da Costa, Sampdoria go down the other end and Gavazzi blazes a shot over the bar.
Yellow Card Nenad Krsticic
Krsticic has a brilliant chance to score when he is sent through by Sansone. However, he tries to square the ball to a teammate and Mexes makes a crucial interception.
Abbiati has been a mere spectator today and he watches on again as Obiang fires a shot a few yards wide of the post. I think Sampdoria could play all night and they still wouldn't score.
IT JUST WON'T GO IN FOR MATRI! Niang makes an instant impact when he finds space down the right wing before cutting the ball back and Matri is in the perfect spot to meet it but watches his goalbound strike blocked brilliantly by De Silvestri.
A tale of two young Milan strikers here. Firstly, 18-year-old French attacker M'Baye Niang replaces Valter Birsa before on-loan Milan starlet Andrea Petagna replaces Manolo Gabbiadini for the visitors.
Poli concedes a free kick in a promising area which Sansone steps up to take but his effort dips narrowly over the crossbar.
THAT WAS THE CHANCE FOR MATRI! The striker shows good determination to win the ball off of Obiang and he races through on goal but cannot beat Da Costa at his near post. With a €12 million price tag, you have to be finding the net there.
Delio Rossi opts to make his second substitution of the game and Angelo Palombo, who made a handful of appearances for Inter, is replaced by Nenad Krsticic.
To his credit, De Silvestri is trying his hardest to get forward for Sampdoria whenever possible and his cross towards the back post is met by the head of Soriano whose weaker effort is comfortably saved by Abbiati.
Sampdoria are offering very little threat going forward and it has been a comfortable afternoon for the likes of Zapata and Mexes in defence. Delio Rossi will not be pleased by his side's lack of incision in attack.
Matri is working hard for Milan up front but Mustafi and Regini are doing a good job between them in marshalling the summer signing from Juventus. Can he find that chance to open his Milan account today?
Birsa has certainly looked more lively since the break and Robinho tees him up again just outside the box but the Slovenian's shot is well blocked.
Delio Rossi decides it is time to make a change and he replaces the quiet Pawel Wszolek with former Bayern Munich man Roberto Soriano.
The introduction of Emanuelson has certainly given Milan a better shape in this second half. The Rossoneri are well on top at the moment.
WHAT A MISS FROM ROBINHO! Milan should be 2-0 ahead. Birsa stings the palms of Da Costa with a fizzing shot from the edge of the box and Poli seizes on the rebound and sends a brilliant low ball across goal but Robinho cannot divert the ball past the Sampdoria goalkeeper from barely a few yards out.
Goal Valter Birsa
BIRSA PUTS MILAN AHEAD! It's only taken 53 seconds for the Rossoneri to break the deadlock in the second half and it comes courtesy of the Slovenian midfielder who collects Robinho's pass on the edge of the box and fires a brilliant low shot into the bottom corner. That's just what Allegri needed!
The teams emerge from the tunnel for the second half and Sampdoria get the ball rolling again. There has been a substitution for Milan as Urby Emmanuelson has come on to replace Sulley Muntari.
HT: Milan 0-0 Sampdoria. It's hardly been a classic at the Giuseppe Meazza and you can sense the lack of confidence in both of these underperfoming sides. Milan have enjoyed the majority of the possession but they have really struggled to create chances and Da Costa has hardly been tested in the Sampdoria goal. Let's hope for better in the second half.
Sampdoria look to snatch the lead before the break but Gavazzi's fierce shot flashes narrowly wide of the target.
Birsa opts to take a free kick short but he overplays his pass to Robinho who cannot wrap his foot around the cross. The Brazilian makes his feelings clear to his teammate. It's hardly been a vintage Milan performance so far.
Sampdoria have struggled to create chances themselves however and Gabbiadini decides his best chances of scoring are by dropping deep and having long-range shots. He does so again here and watches his dipping strike bounce a few yards wide of the target.
Robinho continues to look lively for Milan but his shot is closed down brilliantly by Obiang. Can Allegri's side find a goal before the break?
Without the likes of El Shaarawy, Montolivo and Balotelli, Milan are really lacking creativity, especially in wide areas. Despite the Rossoneri's pressure, Da Costa has hardly been tested in the Sampdoria goal.
SO CLOSE FROM MEXES! Birsa whips in another teasing cross which is flicked on by Matri to the back post but Mexes can only poke the ball narrowly wide.
Yellow Card Davide Gavazzi
Gavazzi joins Costa in the book when he tugs back on the shirt of Constant. The Guinean international has been a constant threat down the left.
Muntari goes close when he latches onto Mexes' knockdown, only to see his acrobatic volley well blocked by Mustafi.
Milan win a corner on the right but it is an odd delivery by Robinho as it evades every player in the box. Constant eventually runs forward to prevent the ball from going out on the far side.
Matri has been quiet in the opening half hour but he springs to life in the box here, only to see his shot well blocked by De Silvestri.
Manolo Gabbiadini looks to add to his two goals in Serie A this season when he cuts inside from the right before sending a fierce left-footed shot from distance narrowly over Abbiati's goal.
COSTA GOES CLOSE! He scored the only goal in this fixture last year and he goes within inches of scoring again here as he rises highest to meet a corner from the left before glancing his header marginally wide. He has his head in his hands, he knows that was a glorious chance.
De Silvestri is getting forward into some good areas for Sampdoria and his shot takes a slight deflection before going behind for a corner. Can Delio Rossi's side snatch a goal here?
It's actually Birsa who steps up to take the free kick and his curling effort rises over the wall before dipping just over the crossbar.
Milan win a free kick in a promising area when De Silvestri clumsily brings down Robinho. I'd be surprised if the Brazilian didn't go for goal here.
Robinho is the one looking to make things happen and he spots the run of Birsa but is unable to pick out the Slovenian as De Silvestri makes a good interception.
Sampdoria launch a counter attack and Obiang threads a ball through for Sansone who is denied a route to goal by a desperate challenge from Zapata. The referee waves play on despite the striker's appeals and it does seem the Colombian defender got a vital toe on the ball there.
CONSTANT GOES CLOSE! Robinho drifts a well-weighted cross towards the back post and Constant meets it on the volley, only to see his fierce effort go narrowly wide. That would have been one of the goals of the season if that went in.
Valter Birsa whips in a dangerous free kick but it is headed clear excellently by Obiang. Moments later, the Slovenian produces another glorious cross but it just evades Robinho at the back post.
Yellow Card Andrea Costa
Andrea Costa is the first man to be cautioned after he rashly brings down Zaccardo. That booking means that he will be suspended for Sampdoria's next match.
It's almost haunting how similar Milan's start this season has been in comparison to last. I'm sure Allegri will be keen for his side to start picking up points soon otherwise they will need to replicate that brilliant second half of the season comeback from last campaign.
Sampdoria's only attacking threat so far has come down the right and they get into another promising position but Palombo cannot quite direct his header towards Abbiati's goal.
Robinho has started brightly and he produces some brilliant skill to get away from Palombo. However, the Brazilian cannot produce the pass to match as his through ball, intended for Zaccardo, is easily intercepted by Costa.
Milan are starting to settle into their rhythm and they work the ball from right to left excellently but Mustafi is there to hack clear Constant's low cross.
Robinho's good vision sets Zaccardo free down the right but the 31-year-old's cross is too close to Da Costa who comfortably plucks the ball out of the air.
Muntari lays the ball off to Constant just outside the box but the Guinean international blazes his shot over the crossbar.
De Silvestri produces a good burst to get clear down the right but he cannot pick out a fellow white shirt with his low cross.
Alessandro Matri is one player in desperate need of a goal and he nearly capitalises upon a slip in defence by Regini. Both these sides have conceded ten goals in their respective five matches.
The referee blows his whistle and Milan get the ball rolling. Can they produce a good performance and three points to boost their title credentials?
Incidentally, the Curva Sud stand is closed tonight due to racist chanting in the 2-1 home defeat to Napoli.
Sampdoria will take heart from the fact that they were unbeaten against Milan last season and won 1-0 at the Giuseppe Meazza thanks to an Andrea Costa goal. Can they increase the pressure on Allegri with a win tonight? Kick-off is minutes away...
SAMPDORIA (4-4-2): Da Costa; De Silvestri, Mustafi, Regini, Costa; Gavazzi, Obiang, Palombo, Wszolek; Sansone, Gabbiadini.
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Abbiati; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Poli, De Jong, Muntari; Birsa, Robinho; Matri.
Without further ado, here are today's lineups...
As for Sampdoria, they are still searching for their first league win of the season after two draws and three defeats from their opening five matches. Delio Rossi's side linger in the relegation places and know that they themselves need to start picking up some valuable points.
Milan will be without Mario Balotelli for today's game of course after he was sent off after the final whistle for a heated confrontation with the referee after the 2-1 defeat to Napoli. New boy Alessandro Matri will be keen to open his goalscoring account, having been wasteful so far in his short Rossoneri career.
We've not even reached October and already there are murmurs of a crisis at Milan. After Napoli's 2-0 win over Genoa, Massimiliano Allegri's side find themselves 11 points off the leaders and they seriously need to start picking up some wins if they are to challenge at the top. Can they achieve their second league victory of the season against fellow strugglers Sampdoria today? Bringing you all the action from the Giuseppe Meazza, my name is Max Bentley.
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