AC Milan extend lead the top thanks to Seedorf, Cassano and Robinho in an easy victory which put Sampdoria in real trouble
AC Milan strengthened their bid for an eighteenth Scudetto title thanks to a 3-0 win over struggling Sampdoria, who could fall into the bottom three if Cesena beat fellow strugglers Bari tomorrow in a relegation six-pointer. Milan clinched their win through a Seedorf free-kick, a Cassano penalty and a Robinho header at San Siro.
The league leaders started strongly. Pato won a corner in the first minute which Izagio Abate should have done better with, before Kevin-Prince Boateng shot over. Things took a downward step for the home side when ‘keeper Christian Abiatti was forced to be replaced by Marco Amelia, but this didn’t stop Milan – minutes later veteran midfielder Clarence Seedorf gave his side the lead from a free kick which swerved across the floor into the bottom corner.
The rest of the first half passed ingloriously. Neither side managed to create a chance. The Milan fans had something to celebrate when news came through of city and title rivals Inter going a goal behind to Parma at Ennio Tardini, but their celebrations turned to concerns just minutes later when Pato pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury, forcing Massimiliano Allegri to replace him with Antonio Cassano.
In the opening minutes of the second period, Robinho put an easy chance high and wide after great play from Cassano. In the 53rd minute, Milan won a controversial penalty for handball and they increased their lead from the spotkick. Cassano stepped up and finished confidently, giving Gianluca Curci no chance in the Samp goal.
Seven minutes later, the points were sealed by Milan. Cassano swung in a chipped cross, leaving Robinho to head in from point-blank range with Curci stranded. The goal killed what little resistance the visitors posed and Milan were able to pass the ball about at will, and it seemed only a matter of time until the Rossoneri would add to their already convincing lead.
Seedorf scooped it over from a volley when he only had the keeper to beat, while Yepes put a free header wide from a Zambrotta cross. Antonio Cassano then forced a great save from Curci, moments before the news of Parma’s second goal against Inter ignited the Giuseppe Meazza as though Milan had scored a fourth.
Antonio Cassano missed another golden opportunity to add a fourth after a volley that flew over when it was easier to score, but Milan were not to have their showpiece finish. It mattered little to them as the Serie A title race was reduced to a two-horse race, while Sampdoria’s relegation troubles went from bad to worse.