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Italy - Serie A
May 8, 2013
• Stadio Adriatico-Giovanni Cornacchia, Pescara
Referee: C. Russo
• Attendance: 20476
M. Balotelli 10', 57'
S. Muntari 33'
M. Flamini 51'
That's your lot from the Stadio Adriatico this evening. Thanks for joining me this evening and be sure to stick around for ratings and reaction from the Rossoneri's victory. On top of that, Goal will have extensive coverage of tonight's Serie A games involving Inter and Juventus. What more could you ask for! For now though, from me, Harry Slavin, a big thanks for joining me this evening and until next time, goodbye!
FULL-TIME: PESCARA 0-4 AC MILAN. Two goals in each have for the Rossoneri and they are now within touching distance of cementing third spot. Two goals from Balotelli and strikes from Muntari and Flamini means that a Fiorentina defeat tonight would mean Allegri's men are guaranteed Champions League football next season.
90' + 1'
We are into two minutes of stoppage time now.
Kevin Constant gets forward in the final moments and he swings in a decent cross but none of the strikers in the centre can get on the end of it.
Balotelli finds Pazzini in the area and the forward forces a good save from Perin. It's all in vain though as the flag goes up for offside.
Only a couple of minutes left now for Milan to see out. The only thing they might be worried about is injuries in the final moments. There have been a couple of silly challenges from the Pescara players in the closing stages.
Federico Di Francesco
This is exactly the preparation Allegri would have been hoping for ahead of this weekend's crucial fixture against Roma. They've been allowed to take their foot off the pedal in this second half and rest a couple of players too.
The Pescara players are looking tired now, giving away silly fouls across the park. Balotelli is the latest victim of a lethargic looking tackle.
Defeat for Christian Bucchi's men this evening puts them within touching distance of an unwanted record. They will be one loss away from setting a new Serie A record for defeats in a season, unless they can produce a miracle. Which I can assure you they wont.
Rizzo is a lucky man. The Pescara midfielder goes right through the back of El Shaarawy while already on a yellow and he must be fearing the worst. However the referee, much to the dismay of El Shaarawy, deems it a fair challenge and the home side keep 11 men on the pitch.
Mario Balotelli shows his strength with another surging run, trampling all over the Pescara defence. His cross finds El Shaarawy at the back post but between him and Pazzini, neither can manage a shot on goal and they have to settle for a corner.
Bakaye Traore shows a tremendous burst of pace to get beyond the last defender down the wing but his cross has a bit too much sauce on it and clears both Balotelli and El Shaarawy in the centre. Muntari then compounds the situation by firing miles over from the edge of the area.
Almost an instant impact from El Shaarawy! He's fed through by Pazzini and races through on goal, but after being forced wide his clipped shot is touched behind for a corner.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Final substitution for Milan as Stephan El Shaarawy comes on for Robinho. Can he add to his tally of 16 for the season?
You have to feel for Pescara. Christian Bucchi's men have struggled all season with a lack of quality at this level and it's evident once again today. They're trying to force an opportunity but the lack of composure is letting them down badly.
Pazzini should have made it five! Beautiful skill from Balotelli to scoop a through ball over to the substitute but the finish is too close to Perin and he stops the shot Robinho was completely free at the back post for a tap in and he is less than impressed with his team-mate.
Allegri is still on the touchline barking out orders despite the scoreline. It's a sight I'm sure we'll be seeing in Serie A next season. The question is will it still be Milan players he's screaming at?
More sloppy play from the home side. They have the ball in midfield and try to work it wide but Di Francesco can't bring the ball under control and it bobbles off his ankle and out of play.
Indeed Pazzini does enter the fray as he replaces Niang, who will be disappointed he didn't manage to break his Serie A duck this evening.
This isn't going to be over quickly for Pescara. It looks like Pazzini is about to come on as well. The former Inter man enjoys a goal of the bench this season. You wouldn't bet against him finding one today.
This is getting a little messy now. Allegri makes his first change as Flamini comes of and Bakaye Traore comes on in his place. The Frenchman is probably being saved for the match against Roma this Sunday.
GOOAALL!! BALOTELLI GETS HIS SECOND!!! Flamini turns provider this time as he crosses into the feet of the ex-Man City man. The striker has his back but swivels brilliantly and rifles his effort into the roof of the net beyond Perin.
Some of you are getting in touch in twitter. @silvrish thinks that tonight's victory will definitely see the Rossoneri qualify for next season's Champions League.
Milan are enjoying this now and there'll be a few more in their squad who want to get in on the scoring act. Niang is next to try his luck but his curling effort is deflected wide.
GOOOAAAALLLL!!! FLAMINI IS ON THE SCORESHEET AGAIN!!! This man is on some form! It's a fairly routine goal as Balotelli plays through Robinho and the Brazilian in turn squares the ball across the box for the onrushing Frenchman to bundle home. Great determination from the midfielder to get in the box there. There's been a huge difference in his play over the past month.
Pescara manage to string a couple of passes together for once but composure lets them down as substitute Celik floats his pass straight of play.
Cristian Zapata makes a meal of a pass from Constant but the centre-back's blushes are spared as the referee stops play for an injury.
Milan do the honours and get us rolling in the second half. Pescara have made a change at the break as Giuseppe Sculli makes way for Mervan Celik.
The teams are on their way back out for the second half. Pescara have a lot of work to do it would seem if they're to make a game of this.
That penalty was Balotelli's 10th goal in Serie A since returning to Italy in January. He's certainly played his part in Milan's revival in the second half of the season.
Post your thoughts and opinions using the chat box in the match centre or if you have twitter you can tweet me directly, just mention @harryslavin. Let me know your thoughts on the first half display. Does a win today wrap up Champions League qualification for the Rossoneri?
A few of you Milan fans were hoping that some of Allegri's hot prospects might get some pitch time this evening. Is it safe to bring on the likes of Batosz Salamon and Bryan Cristante for the second half? Or should the Rossoneri make sure of the result first? 2-0 is always a dangerous scoreline after all.
HALF-TIME: PESCARA 0-2 MILAN. I can't recall Milan having such a comfortable lead for such little effort in a half of football this season. They were gifted the lead from the spot after Cosic's clumsy challenge and doubled there lead thanks to Sulley Muntari. They should be further ahead with Balotelli wasting a glorious chance in the first minute but apart from that everything has fallen the way of the Rossoneri.
There's no stoppage time and that will do it for the opening forty-five!
Pescara are trying to penetrate the Milan defence from deep with balls over the top but it isn't happening for them. Whenever they do beat Yepes or Zapata, Abbiati is quickly out to sweep in danger that looms.
Pescara work the ball down the left and Togni stretches to send in a teasing cross that Yepes has to knock behind for a corner. The set piece though is headed clear by Balotelli who is back helping out his defence. Would you ever have seen him do that at Manchester City?
Antonio Balzano is limping a little after being introduced to the freight train that is Niang. There have been a couple of clashes down the right-flank in the opening stages with Balotelli getting involved as well.
Abbiati has to be on his toes to race out and collect a through ball that Sculli tries to hone in on.
Mario Balotelli swings in a free kick from the left but this one is better defended and cleared. There's a sizeable Milan following in Prescara this evening and they're making themselves heard.
GOOAAALLLL!!!! MUNTARI VOLLEYS HOME!!! This goal looks good but there's a lot to be said for the lack of defending. Robinho's cross is pinpoint and picks out Muntari who executes a first-tme volley that slams into the ground and up and over Perin via the crossbar. It's a quality finish but the Ghanaian was allowed to waltz into the box completely unmarked.
Marco Capuano brings down Mario Balotelli on the right-hand side of the penalty area and Robinho will swing in a cross from a dangerous position.
We've already reached the half hour mark here as the shadow of the main stand moves across the pitch. Milan probably wouldn't mind a second goal before the break after that scare.
I think that chance sums of Pescara's season. They've shown some creative spirit but have been let down by a lack of quality in front of goal and at the back. You'd have to argue that a good chunk of Serie A strikers would have made that chance count. Sculli couldn't and the hosts are still behind.
Milan are almost caught out by a quick free kick. Pescara launch the ball over the Rossoneri back four and Sculli is alert to run onto the loose ball. The striker waits for the ball to drop but scuffs his half volley wide of goal. Milan switched off there and almost paid the price.
Abbiati sees his first bit of meaningful action as he comes out to claim Sculli's wayward header under pressure. I don't think his evening will be the most testing he'll ever have in Serie A.
Allegri's men look confident all over the pitch this evening. Yepes and Constant are able to play the ball out of defence and the move eventually cultivates a decent shooting chance for Niang, but he drags his effort wide of Perin's goal.
Robinho is down in the penalty area looking for a second penalty kick for the visitors. Referee Russo isn't interested on this occassion and waves play on.
Niang is in again here as he is played in over the top but he's brought back for offside after taking the ball past the keeper. His pace in those situations could cause the home defence all sorts of problems this evening.
The Rossoneri come forward again. This time it's Niang who has the ball at his feet in the box and he whips a cross-come-shot that Perin needs to beat away.
It's a very nice evening at the Stadio Adriatico. The kind you wouldn't mind taking a stroll in. So far, that is exactly what Milan are doing. They're ahead without even getting out of first gear.
Pescara respond by winning their first corner of the match. Nothing comes of it though and Milan clear without much fuss.
Yellow CardGiuseppe Rizzo
Penalty GoalMario Balotelli
GOOAAAALLL!! BALOTELLI MAKES NO MISTAKE FROM THE BOX!! The striker atones for his earlier miss by sending Mattia Perin the wrong way. So far so good for the visitors.
PENALTY FOR MILAN!! Uros Cosic is penailsed for sending Nocerino tumbling in the area!
Milan are on the attack again and a ball to the back post finds Robinho but his cross is too lackadaisical and is easily cleared.
I have to be honest, I thought it was a save when I first saw it but Balotelli's early effort actually came rattling back of the crossbar! It's from inside the 6-yard-box and has to go down as a poor miss from Super Mario.
A fairly ominous start for the home side. Their relegation was confirmed last weekend thanks to a 4-1 thumping at the hands of fellow strugglers Genoa. A similar scoreline this evening wouldn't be out of the question you'd fear.
The game has barely started and you already have the feeling both teams have laid their cards on the table. Pescara allow Milan the first attack of the game by sitting too deep but Mario Balotelli can't make the most of the opportunity.
Referee Russo blows his whistle and we are up and running here in a very sunny Pescara.
The teams are out here and we aren't far from kick-off. A moments silence is observed by the players of both teams just before the whistle.
What do you think about Milan's Starting XI? Should El Shaarawy be dropped? Should Pazzini be starting? As always I want to hear from you guys. Use the chat box to give us your thoughts or alternatively you can tweet in to @harryslavin. The choice is yours.
So still no place in the starting line up for Giampaolo Pazzini. The forward has impressed in his last two appearances on the bench and must be wondering what he has to do to get in Allegri's starting line-up. Taking out Balotelli in training may be his only realistic option.
A few changes made by Massimiliano Allegri from the side that scraped to victory against Torino at the weekend. Mario Yepes comes in for Philippe Mexes and Kevin Constant comes in at left-back. Up top, Robinho and M'Baye Niang come in for the suspended Boateng and dropped El Shaarawy.
MILAN: (4-3-3) Abbiati, Abate, Zapata, Yepes, Constant, Flamini, Muntari, Nocerino, Niang, Balotelli, Robinho.
PESCARA: (4-3-1-2) Perin, Zauri, Cosic, Capuano, Balzano, Rizzo, Togni, Di Francesco, Cascione, Sculli, Sforzini.
The teams sheets are already in so lets take a look at the starting XI's, beginning with tonight's hosts.
As stadium names go that's quite a mouthful. I think we'll stick with Stadio Adriatico for the purpose of this evening. Does that suit everyone? Good. Anyway, Milan took a huge step towards European qualification last weekend by opening up a four point gap over Fiorentina in the race for third. This evening they have the chance to stretch that to seven points, for a couple of hours at least.
Good Afternoon and welcome to coverage of this evening's early Serie A kick-off between Serie B bound Pescara and Champions League chasing AC Milan. I'm Harry Slavin and I'll be with you every kick of the way from the Stadio Adriatico-Giovanni Cornacchia in Pescara.
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