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February 1, 2014
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: A. Damato
• Attendance: 35200
A. Rami 49'
C. Immobile 17'
That's it from me, it's been a pleasure.
Clarence Seedorf drops his first points as AC Milan manager, and could not complete the turnaround against a hard working Torino outfit. Rami's second half goal stamped out Immobile's opener, and despite tons of possession, they could not find that extra gear in front of goal. Well. I predicted a 1-1 draw at the start of play, and both sides have obliged!
90' + 5'
That is the end!
90' + 4'
Robinho mis-controls a simple cross-field ball, conceding a throw in, and that may just be that.
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
Saponara won't get to an attempted through pass by Montolivo as the ball rolls over the byeline, and Milan are fast running out of time to turn this around.
90' + 1'
Poor, poor, poor from the Brazilian, who tries to bend it into the top corner but it goes nowhere near his intended target.
90' + 1'
Four minutes of stoppage time signaled as Kaka stands over this one...
Now then! El Kaddouri hacks down Robinho on the edge of the box, and Milan have a free kick in a plum position on the stroke of 90 minutes!
Torino have a corner as Milan replace Honda with Petagna - the 18 year old returning from a scoreless loan spell at Sampdoria.
Darmian uses just the right amount of physical contact to put Kaka off on a straight up chase between the two for a through all towards goal. The Milan man goes down in a heap, but the referee is unmoved by his plight, and waves play on, much to the anger of the home crowd.
Cerci gets it up and down over the wall, but it doesn't dip quite enough and goes about a foot over the top. Abbiati looked to have had it covered, but then again, keepers usually seem to appear confident when the ball misses the target!
Abiatti bails out Bonera, striding to the edge of the box to hoof away the ball after the defender was caught out of position by Cerci. Torino get it back quickly, and have a free kick about 25 yards from goal.
Montolivo sees the headlines in his mind and drives one at goal from all of 35 yards, but it travels barely 10 yards before Glik blocks the shot.
The crowd are baying Milan forward for the final stretch. They've made a habit of some late goals to rescue points this season, can they continue that trend and find a late winner here?
Yellow CardDaniele Bonera
Bonera joins the flurry of late bookings as he clips Immobile during a footrace.
At this point, you can call it a hard-earned point for both sides. Based on their second half play, Milan have shaded play throughout the game, but you cannot begrudge the defensive effort that Torino have put in right from the first whistle.
Yellow CardGiampaolo Pazzini
This game getting very scrappy all of a sudden! Pazzini, in his attempt to win the ball with an overhead kick, catches Glik full in the face with his boot. A nasty, but unintentional challenge, and the Torino man needs a little time to recover. Yellow for Pazzini too.
Yellow CardNikola Maksimović
Maksimovic quickly follows Vives in the book by taking down Emanuelson on the wing. Deserved booking.
Vives goes in too eagerly on Pazzini, and is cautioned by the referee. First booking of the game and no surprise, it's been a respectful, clean contest so far.
Yellow CardGiuseppe Vives
Torino belatedly manage to wring themselves a spell of possession after chasing shadows off the ball for the best part of half an hour. It's not going anywhere threatening, mind, but it's at least some positivity from the visitors, and a chance to catch their breath.
Milan just taking their foot off the gas a little. It appeared like a second goal was on the cards after they opened their account via Rami, but the chances have rather dried up since that as Torino, tired as they are, have recovered to once again shut the gaps in and around their own 18 yard area.
Kurtic comes on and Basha goes off - the Slovenian's appearance is Torino's second substitution of the evening.
Moretti just goes through the back of Pazzini, who goes down a tad theatrically, clutching his face. Clear foul, but had the referee seen Pazzini's attempt's to sell it, he could have found himself on the receiving end of a booking.
Cerci has hung a cross up towards the six yard area, but Abbiati has plucked it out with ease. A rare sighting of the visitors in the attacking third, and the fatigue is really starting to tell, with a lot of heavy movement in their ranks to get behind the Rossoneri.
Nearly an instant impact from the Dutch hardman, who takes a leaf out of Rami's book and lets fly from the top of the box! There's not enough venom at the end of that shot though, and it's a comfortable grab for the well positioned Padelli.
Nigel De Jong
And indeed, the Dutchman emerges to man the midfield, with Muntari - registering an assist for that Rami goal - making way.
The pressure from Milan high up the pitch is quite relentless, and has been since the referee blew the whistle to start the second half. Continuing with that strategy, Seedorf is plotting to bring on Nigel de Jong for the last half hour or so.
OFFSIDE! A sumptuous attack from the Rossoneri sees Kaka thread in Robinho with a lovely ball, and his compatriot obliges with a gentle finish into the back of the net! But the linesman's flag halts the celebrations, and replays showed that Robinho started his run just ahead of the last defender. Good decision.
Emanuelson whips in a decent delivery towards the far post, and there's confusion among the Milan players as neither Kaka nor Pazzini take responsibility for the finish! The ball rolls out of play instead and the chance is gone.
Whatever Seedorf has said at half time has worked a treat and then some. There is renewed vigor about the Rossoneri this half, and Torino have not been able to get the ball out of their own half. Cracks starting to appear in the ranks of the blue shirts.
Off goes Farnerud - guilty of a horrible miss, and on comes El Kaddouri, who started a week ago against Atalanta.
Omar El Kaddouri
KAKAAAAAAA!!! Nearly a brilliant second for the hosts as he kines one up from 20 yards, narrowly missing the target with a powerful curler! Suddenly Torino cannot get a hold of the ball!
Milan got that bit of fortune with the deflection, but you make your own luck. Rami charged forward with real purpose there, and that's exactly the kind of drive that the Rossoneri have been missing all game.
What a goal and what a moment from the French defender! He strides onto the ball at the edge of the box and unleashes a cannon of a shot that takes a deflection and whistles into the back of the net! His first goal in a year, his first for Milan on his first start at San Siro. Bang!
RAMI SCORES! MILAN ARE LEVEL!
Cerci has an early chance to make some inroads down the right on the break, but this time, Emanualson is in position to help stop the forward from getting to the byeline.
Here we go again!
Milan have dominated the ball, but have had to work very hard to prise open the opposition, and have met an inspired force between the posts in Padelli. Moreover, Torino have been devastatingly efficient on the break, with Immobile capitalizing once to send them into the lead, and Farnerud badly hashing a golden chance at another. Once again, the Rossoneri have work to do during and after the break. Stay tuned for the restart.
45' + 1'
No stoppage time as the referee ends the half right on 45 minutes!
Two chances in a minute for Milan! Kaka tests Padelli with a lashed effort from the edge of the box, before Honda is played in just inside the area, and sees his shot narrowly deflected over the bar! Much better from the Rossoneri!
Bonera is getting barbecued on a spit by Immobile whenever Torino break. The striker shrugs him off once again to momentarily open up space on a Torino counter, but the move is chalked off for a foul by Cerci on Rami.
Boo...the resulting corner is right in Padelli's territory, and it's catching practice for the Torino stopper.
Kaka showing the happy feet of old, tap dancing his way past two challenges, but takes the ball a step too far and gets tackled at the last, winning a corner. I can't fault the Brazilian for that - he stepped up to take matters into his own hands. More of that resolve is needed for the home side.
De Sciglio, who is starting to see more and more of the ball as Milan switch the focus of their attack from the centre to the right channel, gets a cross into the box, but Pazzini cannot reach it in time and Moretti intercepts at the near post.
Muntari gets a sweet connection on a ball outside the box and sends a fizzer in towards goal, but it's right at Padelli, who continues his faultless form so far with a comfortable save.
Milan, by contrast, could use some flank penetration of their own. They keep trying to play their way through the centre through the link up between Montolivo, Kaka and Honda, but Robinho, Emanuelson and De Sciglio have not provided the requisite width so far.
This is what is called 'percentage football' from the visiting side. Ventura's men have sat deep, inviting and soaking up the Milan pressure without allowing too many openings. And when the opposition are out of position and the break is on, they get forward in numbers, leading through the flanks. Low risk, high reward attacking which has led to the opener and very nearly fashioned another.
TORINO MISS A SITTER! Cerci is menacing on the counter, making his way down the right flank and delivering an absolute diamond of a ball into the six yard area with the outside of his boot. Farnerud, unmarked has only to nod it home, but plants his header over the bar! Dreadful miss!
Robinho's corner is short, but Muntari recovers the ball and slides it back to the open Brazilian on the left. He has space for a cross and does just that to the far post, picking out compatriot Kaka, but his header loops far off target.
No one seems to want to step up and take responsibility in the Milan front six. Some intricate buildup play has occurred, but the more they pass up shots or play safety first passes, the more ponderous and ineffective it looks.
Disappointing end to a promising Milan move, as some rapid passing around the 18 yard area ends with a rushed output from Kaka, who plays the ball comfortably wide of the near post. Not sure if he was hurrying a shot or a cross there, but that was nowhere near good enough.
A deep cross from Emanuelson on the right hand side is played towards the far post, but it's just above the head of the leaping Pazzini, and another chance goes begging.
Milan continue to monopolize the ball inside the opposition half, but are finding the gate locked in front of goal. With so many men camped upfield, there is danger of further opening for the opposition on the counter attack.
EXCELLENT reaction from Padelli, who is forced into a full stretch save once again, this time a quick stop on Pazzini's overhead kick on a loose ball!
Oh my, has he made Bonera look like an idiot. Torino break excellently on the counter, and Immobile latches onto a through ball, cutting past Bonera and leaving him on his backside. Opening up his body, he then plants a lovely right footed finish into the far corner!
IMMOBILE WITH A SOLO STUNNER!
The defensive shape from the visitors is top notch, with their back three ably supported by a midfield five, as wing-backs Darmian and Masiello are pulling double time in both halves of the field. Giampiero Ventura has organized his charges well so far - can they maintain it?
A somewhat similar version of that formation developing here on the pitch. Milan have started in a 4-2-3-1, but Honda is occasionally dropping deep to essentially form a midfield three with Muntari and It's Montolivo. It's gotten a few decent combinations going, but no real cutting edge as of yet.
Seedorf having words of advice for his one time midfield colleague Kaka on the sidelines during a break in play. How effective were the pair as part of Carlo Ancelotti's 'Christmas Tree' 4-3-2-1 formation during the middle of the previous decade!
Torino's turn to rustle up some possession in the opposition half, and Darmian has been played down the right again. He clips in a cross just before passing the byeline, but its' over the heads of Cerci and Immobile inside the box, allowing De Sciglio to clear.
Adil Rami, in his first Serie A start, tries to, well...I don't now what was in his head. Fully 30 yards out with a man closing him down, he rushes a piledriver that nearly takes out a floodlight en route to a goalkick.
Kaka's blocked shot is nearly a blessing in disguise for the hosts, as Honda endeavours to flick through Robinho. It appeared to be a lovely little set up, but the Brazilian allowed himself to stray a good yard or two offside.
A lovely ebb and flow to the match developing, as Milan are playing some pretty intricate stuff through the centre of the park. Torino too are looking positive, and have already seen Darmian escape down the right flank.
And the pair combine to fashion the first chance of the match, and man is it a good one! The Brazilian threads in the Italian on goal, who gets the bounce of the ball and rips one away at the Torino goal, only for Padelli to tip away acrobatically!
Pazzini and Robinho kick us off and the match is in play.
Right, with kickoff just about upon us, time to weigh up a pre-match prediction. I think the front two of Immobile and Cerci will contrive to breach the creaky Milan defence at least once, but the Rossoneri, behind their fans and with the Seedorf novelty not yet worn off, will also have something to say at the other end. I don't anticipate an avalanche of goals, a 1-1 draw is a fair punt.
For Milan, there is no Mario Baloteli, who has helped their mini-resurgence by scoring in each of the three games under new manager Seedorf. Giampaolo Pazzini will do the heavy lifting up front in his stead. January signings Michael Essien and Adel Taarabt do not make the starting XI, but Keisuke Honda does, lining up in attacking midfield alongside Kaka and Robinho. New boy Adil Rami also starts in defence.
Ciro Immobile is the joint-top fourth scorer in the league with 10 goals, and has been quietly doing the business up front for the top-five hopefuls this campaign. Even more impressive though is regular strike partner and club talisman Alessio Cerci, who has matched Immobile's 10 goals and raised him seven assists to boot - tied for most in the division. Both lead the line for the visitors tonight.
Meanwhile, Torino have been quietly impressive, topping Milan by four points in the table, and they can move outright into fifth place with a win here at San Siro. They have a 6-2-1 record in their last nine games, and boast two of Serie A's deadliest players this season in their ranks.
Milan's record under Seedorf has been cautiously solid results-wise, with three wins in their last four - though they were dumped out of the Coppa Italia thanks to a 2-1 reverse against Udinese. The Rossoneri have made an even split of their 21 league games so far with a record of seven wins, sevel draws and seven defeats. It's just that sort of mediocrity and irrelevance that the former Netherlands midfielder will be keen to stamp out.
Make no mistake, this is a big, big chance for Clarence Seedorf and his charges to leap closer to European football for next season. Arch rivals Inter, five points ahead, occupy the fifth and final berth for the Europa League. But the Nerazzurri have a trip to Turin tomorrow to take on leaders Juventus. Milan could be only two points off fifth should things spin their way by the end of the gameweek.
MILAN(4-2-3-1): Abbiati; De Sciglio, Bonera, Rami, Emanuelson; Muntari, Montolivo; Honda, Kaka, Robinho; Pazzini.
TORINO (3-5-2): Padelli; Maksimovic, Glik, Moretti; Darmian, Basha, Vives, Farnerud, Masiello; Immobile, Cerci.
Hello and welcome to San Siro, where AC Milan try to resurrect themselves and their season against Torino. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your guide for all the action.
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