Super Milan Destroy Udinese In Six-Goal Thriller

A flurry of early goals saw the score at 3-1 in favour of Milan before the twenty-minute mark thanks to a brace from Alexandre Pato and a goal each from Kaka and Antonio Di Natale. Clarence Seedorf and another Kaka strike completed the scoring, making it 5-1 for the Rossoneri.
Milan 5-1 Udinese

Milan entertained Udinese tonight. Milan's weakened defence was exposed by Juventus in last Sunday's 4-2 defeat which left them nine points behind leaders Inter Milan in joint third. Coach Carlo Ancelotti is short both of defenders and the defensive midfielders in the squad.

Philippe Senderos is the latest injury casualty, following Daniele Bonera and Alessandro Nesta to the recovery room. Full back Gianluca Zambrotta and midfielder Massimo Ambrosini are suspended this weekend, leaving them further understaffed and desperate for a good finish to the year.

Udinese have had a miserable few weeks following a great start to the campaign, with numerous losses hindering their European qualification hopes for the season, and they were hoping to do well tonight at the San Siro.

First Half

The match began at a medium pace, with Milan in their traditional red and black, while Udinese wore an unfamiliar blue kit. Milan got off to the best possible start with a 3rd minute goal from Alexandre Pato. Favalli ran down the left wing with the ball and just before the byline the former Lazio man crossed onto the head of Pato, who nodded the ball into the back of the net.

The early strike gave Milan confidence, and with David Beckham sitting in the stands the Rossoneri pushed forward and played well in search of a second. In the 9th minute Udinese had a great chance with a long range effort from D’Agostino, but Abbiati did well to save, although the keeper hurt himself while diving to save.

On 12 minutes Milan extended their lead when Pato skipped away from a tackle on the wing, and then ran towards goal before giving a great low cross to the onrushing Kaka who duly slotted the ball past Handanovic and into the ball. Two minutes later Kaka had another effort on goal, but the Udinese keeper did well to save the shot.

On 16 minutes Udinese pulled one back through star striker Antonio Di Natale. A scramble in the Milan box lead to Quagliarella passing the ball onto Di Natale who cracked the ball into the Milan net, making it 2-1. The crazy flurry of early goals was not yet over however, as Pato scored his second two minutes later. A chip from Andrea Pirlo found Luca Antonini in the box, and the right back headed the ball in towards Pato, whose first touch took the ball into the bottom corner for Milan’s third goal after only 19 minutes.

On 23 minutes a superb cross from Jankulovski almost found Kaka in the box, but the Brazilian fell under a challenge from an Udinese defender. Milan were playing a stunning game at this stage of the match. On 27 minutes Udinese won a free kick in a good position, but D’Agostino’s effort crashed into the Milan wall and nothing came of it.

Pirlo was playing better than he has since coming back from injury, making some key tackles, pin point through balls and looking more confident on the ball. On 32 minutes a tight angled cross shot from Pepe almost got the better of Milan, but Abbiati was awake and he caught the ball. A minute later Pato almost completed his hat-trick, but Kaka’s low cross was too close to Handanovic who closed down the angle and made an important save.

With nine minutes left on the clock before half time Inler had a strike on goal, but his effort was weak and didn’t trouble Abbiati. Milan continued to impress with great passing in the attacking third pleasing the San Siro crowd.

With a few minutes remaining Milan won a free kick on the edge of the Udinese area, and Pirlo’s free kick was parried onto the post before Seedorf came sliding in for Milan’s fourth of the game. After a few minutes of Milan dominated possession, the referee sent the teams into the change rooms with the score at 4-1 for the home side.

Second Half

The second half got underway with the Rossoneri demonstrating the confidence they had shown in the first, although the visitors were more determined as well. The first shot of the second half belonged to Udinese, as Isla had a strike on goal, but Abbiati saved. Within the first five minutes Kaka had two attempts on goal, displaying his ease of control and troubling the Udinese back line.

Kaka’s constant pressure paid off in the 51st minute, when the Brazilian smacked a shot from the edge of the area into the roof of the net for Milan’s fifth. David Beckham looked impressed in the stands. The San Siro crowd was enjoying the feast of football, with their beloved Rossoneri ending the year on a high.

In the 57th minute Udinese had a header on goal denied by Abbiati, as a cross was met by the head of substitute Antonio Floro Flores. Udinese began to push forward in search of a goal, crossing the ball into the area in an attempt to make use of Milan’s weakness when defending crosses. Milan kept possession well, moving the ball around comfortably. In the 63rd minute a low Kaka cross found Pirlo sliding into the area, but his touch sent the ball just wide of the post.

Milan continued to impress, with the attacking elements of the team playing a very entertaining game. In the 69th minute Ronaldinho put Kaka through on goal, but the Brazilian star took one touch too many and Handanovic easily collected the ball. In the 71st minute a free kick from D’Agostino demanded a fine save from Abbiati to keep it out of the net.

The pace of the game declined somewhat, with Milan comfortably in the lead. In the 75th minute youth team graduate Matteo Darmian came onto the pitch in place of Antonini, who was given a round of applause for his performance on the night. Udinese pushed forward on the attack a minute later, but Milan defenders surrounded Di Natale when he reached the area and the danger was cleared.

With ten minutes remaining Kaka had a shot on goal from a wide angle, but his attempt slipped wide of the post. A minute later a second youth team player came onto the pitch as Rodney Strasser replaced Khaka Kaladze at the back for the Rossoneri. The last few minutes were relatively uneventful, with the Rossoneri firmly in control of the game, and on the ninetieth minute the whistle was blown with the score at 5-1 for the Rossoneri.

MILAN 5–1 UDINESE

GOALS: Pato 3’ 18’, Kaka 12’ 51’, Seedorf 43’ (Milan) Di Natale 16’ (Udinese)

MILAN: Abbiati, Antonini (Darmian 75’), Maldini, Kaladze (Strasser 81’), Favalli, Seedorf, Pirlo, Jankulovski, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Pato (Shevchenko 70’).

UDINESE: Handanovic, Ferronetti, Sala, Domizzi, Lukovic, Inler, D’agostino, Isla, Pepe (Pasquale 82’), Quagliarella (Floro Flores 40’ (Sanchez 64’)), Di Natale.

Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com