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Italy - Serie A
April 4, 2015
• Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo
Referee: D. Doveri
• Attendance: 15113
P. Dybala 72'
A. Cerci 37'
J. Ménez 83'
That's all from me, I've been Keeghann Sinanan and it's been a pleasure.
And that will be all the action from Sicily, as the referee blows for full time. Milan weren't at their best, but they scored the goals that they needed through Cerci and Menez to overcome a profligate Palermo outfit, for whom Dybala's penalty was not enough. Six points separate the Rossoneri from the European spots now.
90' + 3'
Mexes is booked for clipping Dybala, and Palermo have a late chance from a free kick - which they fail to do anything with. Meanwhile, Menez takes his sweet time jogging off for Poli, as Inzaghi seeks to milk the clock.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Philippe Mexes
90' + 1'
PAZZINI! The substitute makes a great run goal-side of his marker, but Sorrentino closes down the angle quickly and pushes his finish away from goal! That could have been a third for Milan!
Time fast running out for the home side, who attempt to orchestrate one last attack down the left. However, the ball seems stuck near the corner flag. Milan's task is simple now.
Antonino La Gumina
It looks like Palermo are finally out of ideas, as that goal has knocked the stuffing out of them. It's their own fault if I'm honest, as their first-half dominance was not converted into goals.
Even Inzaghi raced well outside of his dugout to celebrate that goal. What a crucial strike from Menez, which could well end up being decisive in their European hopes. He's proven to be the Rossoneri match winner once again - provided that Palermo don't mount a last-ditch revival, of course.
Goal Jérémy Menez
GOAL! IS THAT THE WINNER? Menez does what he does best, building up a head of steam to race past Vitiello and Gonzalez in order to fire a finish home! Diabolical defending, but a clutch piece of play from the Frenchman!
There's been a feisty nature to this game judging by some of the challenges that have flown in. The referee has issued a healthy dose of yellow cards in the second half and with the game starting to take a scrappy turn again, he might be reaching for his pocket again.
Double substitution from Inzaghi as he chases a winner late on. Off goes Destro and Cerci, and on comes Pazzini and Suso. The game has picked up a bit since Dybala's equaliser, can either side find the extra mile to win this?
Vazquez finds space on the left to hook a dangerous cross to the back post. Dybala attacks it with an acrobatic overhead kick that goes well over the bar. Still, I respect the ambition.
Suddenly there's no telling in whose hands this game will end up. Even though Palermo have been poor in this half, their play in the opening period has me thinking that they just about warrant that leveler. Milan couldn't push enough for that second goal - although Destro had what looked like a legitimate goal ruled out for offside.
Yellow Card Mato Jajalo
Penalty Goal Paulo Dybala
BURIED BY DYBALA! The Argentine drills it into the bottom-right corner. Lopez guessed correctly but didn't get across in time.
Yellow Card Gabriel Paletta
PENALTY TO PALERMO! Finally the hosts are awarded a spot-kick after a few appeals, and there's no mistaking this one. Belotti cuts inside of Paletta, who catches him clearly with a trailing leg to prevent a sure-fire shooting opportunity.
With Napoli losing to Roma today, the opportunity is there for Milan to move back to within six points of the European places. There will still be nine games left to play after the end of this matchday, so there's time yet for the Rossoneri to rescue their season.
Yellow Card Roberto Vitiello
Another Palermo penalty appeal goes begging, but again, it would have been a tough call to make. Dybala races free down the left on the break and glides into the box, running right into Mexes. You can't really fault the defender for not getting out of the way in time.
Milan must be feeling confident of securing this result now. Palermo have been awful as an attacking force in the second half, showing none of the enterprise that defined their exploits in the opening period.
Yellow Card Ignazio Abate
That was a close call for Palermo, as Milan nearly score from three shooting opportunities in as many seconds. An almighty scramble in the box after a cross from the right, but the hosts survive.
PENALTY? Rigoni goes down under pressure when attempting to win control of a cross from the left, but the referee is unmoved, despite roars from the crowd. Good decision, as it was they type of incidental contact that occurs on practically every cross.
GOAL RULED OUT AGAIN! This time, Milan feel the wrath of the offside flag as Destro races past his man to prod in a low through pass. However, it looked to me that he was level with the last defender when the ball was played!
Palermo are just struggling to turn their possession into anything resembling a goalscoring chance. Milan are looking far more comfortable in this half squeezing play into crowded central areas.
Chochev replaces the stricken Barreto as Palermo continue to monopolize possession. Just under 10 minutes gone in the second half but no change in the scoreline, with Cerci's goal still the difference.
Palermo keep settling for long-distance shots as Barreto takes aim from the edge of the box, missing the goal comfortably. However, he's pulled up after that effort and immediately signals for a change.
Paletta dives onto a loose ball in the Palermo box but plants his header well over the bar. Moments later, Vazquez leads the hosts on the break but fails to find the target from 20 yards.
MENEZ! A wonderful run from the French forward takes him past three players to the near post, but just as he's about to pull the trigger, in slides Gonzalez with an excellent interception!
Here we go again.
Milan take a surprise lead into the interval that has come completely against the run of play. Palermo dominated every aspect of this game, testing Lopez multiple times, but one gaffe from Sorrentino in the home side's goal gifted Cerci the opportunity to strike his first goal for the Rossoneri. It's been an entertaining half of football, and there promises to be a lot in store in the second period as the home side look to give their fans something to cheer. Stay tuned.
Bang on 45 minutes, the referee signals for half-time.
Milan try to orchestrate another quick break, with the ball at the feet of Menez. The Frenchman makes up a lot of ground and strafes across the top of the box, but Jajalo makes a lovely sliding challenge to prevent him from getting a shot away! Crucial defensive play, that.
GOAL RULED OUT! Rispoli hooks in a cross that Milan can't clear, and it drops kindly for Barreto, who strokes home from about 12 yards out. However, Rigoni had been just ahead of the last defender when the initial ball came in, and the flag went up on the near side.
Completely against the run of play, that one, but Milan won't care. What an unexpected bonus for Inzaghi as he prepares to guide his team at half-time. Can Palermo hit back before the break?
Goal Alessio Cerci
AN ABSOLUTE GIFT! MILAN LEAD! Sorrentino spills a routine cross into the path of Cerci, who didn't even need to keep his balance to bundle the ball into the back of the net!
How long until Palermo take one of these chances - or begin to rue their profligacy? By all rights they should be ahead, and Milan have barely been a factor as an attacking force.
QUAISON GOES CLOSE! He takes Abate one way before cutting inside the full-back and drilling one to the near post. However, Lopez meets it with a strong palm. The Milan keeper has been busy in this half!
Just over half an hour gone now and there's been openings at both ends of the field. However, the clear edge in this game must go to the home side, who have dominated possession and should really be ahead, but for an awful miss from Vazquez.
STINGER! Palermo make a measured attack around the edge of the area, with Dybala once again playing the role of provider. He draws two men before slipping the ball to Rigoni, who burns the palms of Lopez with a powerful, but saveable drive.
GOOD CHANCE! Destro flicks the ball to Cerci, who has almost the entire half to himself to advance down the right. He, in turn, plays a low cross in for the striker to finish at the near post, but under pressure, he can't steer a finish into the back of the net!
Vazquez stays down in apparent agony, but I feel that he's more stricken by embarrassment than anything else. He's blossomed this season for the Sicilians, but there's no explaining that last miss.
UNBELIEVABLE MISS! That was incredibly bad. I was certain Palermo were going to take the lead as Quaison beats three players before losing his balance. However, Dybala keeps it alive for a three-on-one attack in the box. He squares for Vazquez for the seemingly inevitable tap-in, but he rolls his finish wide of the far post!
Dybala has been excellent when dropping deep to facilitate his team's moves. He's a threat to beat his man or play in a runner, and his latest set-up for Lazaar sees the full-back play a stinging cross in that's cleared by Mexes.
Antonelli has really had a torrid start to this game. Gonzalez plays a long ball out of the back and, under slight pressure, the Milan full-back clears the ball right to Dybala about 5 yards away. The Argentine feeds Barreto, whose shot is blocked, but Inzaghi must be concerned with the vulnerability down his side's left flank.
Menez, Milan's top scorer this season, hasn't been a factor in this contest. He looks completely isolated out on the left, and the visitors would be wise to start feeding some balls down that side so the Frenchman can take players on in his usual manner.
Mexes has given the ball away with a baffling low pass that is easily intercepted. That's not the first time that the Rossoneri back four have been guilty of careless turnovers in this game.
Palermo are really starting to exert their influence over this game, with Milan forced back into their defensive third. The home side are attacking exclusively down both wings.
DYBALA! The forward cuts in from the right to let fly with a curler off his left boot, but he can't keep his effort down. Still, that's the second time that they've gotten past Antonelli in as many minutes.
Dybala drops deep to collect a square ball from Rispoli and facilitate a Palermo break. He feeds a return pass to the right-back on the overlap, but Antonelli gets back well to close down the space and prevent the cross from coming in at the near post.
Cerci is looking hungry in the opening exchanges, chasing the ball with considerable pace whenever it pops up down the right. His loan spell has been underwhelming to say the least, but he still has 10 games to make a name for himself at the San Siro outfit.
Palermo manufacture a decent spell in possession, but Barreto's pass to the flank for Vazquez ultimately sees the wide man bobble a harmless ball through to Lopez. Lively start now.
Milan make a great advance through the centre and Destro wriggles his way through a challenge before testing Sorrentino from the top of the box. Cerci somehow keeps it alive on the right, but his cutback from the byline can't find a teammate in time.
A very casual start to this game inside a Renzo Barbera ground pockmarked with empty seats. It's still a sunny afternoon in Sicily though, and the fans that are here seem to be in good spirits, even with their team in such rotten form recently.
Here we go!
Alessio Cerci gets another chance to impress on the right side of the Milan front three, despite not scoring a goal since arriving on loan from Atletico Madrid in January. Jeremy Menez will move to the left flank to accomodate Mattia Destro centrally. Pippo Inzaghi has made 10 changes to his starting lineup after a 3-0 friendly victory over Reggiana last time out.
In-demand forward Paulo Dybala leads the line for the home side, flanked by Robin Quaison and Franco Vazquez. It's almost an entirely new back four from Palermo after their last match against Chievo, with Andrea Rispoli, Giancarlo Gonzelez and Achraf Lazaar all stepping into the XI.
Milan (4-3-3): Lopez; Abate, Paletta, Mexes, Antonelli; Van Ginkel, De Jong, Bonaventura; Cerci, Destro, Menez.
Palermo (4-3-3): Sorrentino; Rispoli, Vitiello, Gonzalez, Lazaar; Rigoni, Jajalo, Barreto; Quaison, Dybala, Vazquez.
Palermo defeated Milan 2-0 at San Siro on the reverse fixture earlier in the season. However, the Rossoneri have the overall edge in this clash, winning 31 of their previous 53 league meetings. The Rosanero also haven't scored in their last four Serie A games, last hitting the back of the net against Lazio in February.
Palermo's destiny looks to be all but sealed at this point. They are in 11th place with 35 points, a full 14 points above the relegation zone but also 12 away from the European zone. The Sicilians were once aiming for Europa League football next season, but no wins in their last five games has seen those dreams evaporate.
Milan's hopes of European football next season are fading fast. They currently are nine points adrift of Napoli, who occupy the fifth and final continental place in Serie A, although they can cut that gap to six with a win here. With 10 games to go in the league season, Filippo Inzaghi's men need to break their bad habits of 2014-15 and put together a consistent run of results.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Serie A clash between Palermo and Milan in Sicily. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your guide for all the action from the Italian top flight.
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