The Gialloblu took an early lead when Giampiero Pinzi slotted home a great cross from the left to leave Dida stunned between the sticks. Despite prolonged spells of possession, the Rossoneri seemed to lack a spark as they struggled to find a way through the organised Chievo defence.
The Rossoneri came fighting back in the second half and found an unlikely hero in Alessandro Nesta who fired home to level the scoring with 20 minutes left to play. As they through everything forward for the win, the former Lazio captain then rounded off a stunning performance with a late winner at the back post.
The Gialloblu came out fighting and immediately took Leonardo’s men by surprise with an intense pressing high up the field.
After just six minutes Mimmo Di Carlo’s men were rewarded for their positive approach when Andrea Mantovani’s cross found Pinzi in the box. The former Udinese man didn’t think twice as he slotted the ball home past a static Dida.
Milan looked shell-shocked as the hosts continued to put them under immense pressure in the final third. The Donkeys had made a flying start, but they took nothing for granted as they continued to attack with the same intensity as before the opener.
The Diavoli went close after 15 minutes when Clarence Seedorf was served from the left by Luca Antonini. The Dutchman controlled well with his first touch, but he was unable to find the net as he caressed his shot into the path of an alert Stefano Sorrentino.
The Rossoneri started to find their feet and were looking extremely dangerous as they pushed forward in numbers looking for a way through the organised Chievo backline.
On the half hour mark Luciano was set in on goal by a wonderful high ball from Davide Mandelli. The Brazilian winger was beaten to the ball however, as Dida came storming off his line to smother the danger.
The visitors endeavoured to push forward but with a lack of pace between defence and attack, Di Carlo’s men were well covered as they made light work in tracking back.
Five minutes before the break Chievo almost doubled their lead when Pinzi floated a wonderful ball towards Sergio Pellissier. The veteran hitman peeled off his marker with ease but couldn’t keep his shot down as he attempted an audacious effort on the volley.
Nesta Proved An Unlikely Provider
On 47 minutes Alexandre Pato got his first sniff of the goalmouth when Ronaldinho set him in on goal with a wonderful pass that cut the Gialloblu in two. The Brazilian’s first touch was poor however, and Sorrentino was able to make a decisive block on the edge of the six-yard line.
Milan looked a different side to the team that had failed to threaten in the opening 45 minutes. As they continued to work the ball in and around the box, the cracks started to open in Chievo’s previously watertight defence.
Five minutes later Ronaldinho thought he had levelled when he smashed a loose ball goalbound from three yards out. With his side in great difficulty, Sorrentino once again came to the rescue as he got down at lightning speed to block the shot on the line.
Leonardo’s men could smell blood and they continued to hurl everything forward in search of an equaliser. As the Gialloblu failed to keep up their early pressing game, they started to drop dangerously deep in order to protect their lead.
On 75 minutes the visitors should have levelled when Seedorf smashed a great shot goalbound on the turn. The Chievo glovesman once again proved the difference however as his decisive block kept the home side ahead.
With ten minutes left to play Milan finally broke through when Nesta fired home from six-yards. Marco Borriello had struck the crossbar just seconds earlier and the former Lazio stopper made no mistakes as he fired the rebound into the roof of the net.
In final minutes Leonardo’s men through everything forward and were handsomely rewarded for their perseverance in stoppages when Nesta headed home for his second after being left unmarked at the back post.
The Rossoneri celebrated a hard-fought victory with a great show of affection for Dida on the final whistle who had kept them alive with a number of top notch saves.
Stefano Federici, Goal.com