Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Milan Down At San Siro

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

AC Milan 2-3 Man Utd
(first leg, second round champions league)

Milan's future in the Champions League is hanging by the thinnest of threads after going down 3-2 at home to Manchester United. Ronaldinho had put the Italians in front, but a freak goal from Paul Scholes put the Red Devils level before Wayne Rooney scored twice in the second half. Clarence Seedorf halved the deficit late on, while Michael Carrick was sent off.

Alexandre Pato set his stall out for the evening by tricking Patrice Evra and winning a free kick just inside the Manchester United half. David Beckham's delivery wasn't the best, but Evra's clearance went straight to Ronaldinho, who volleyed home via a deflection off Carrick.

The Rossoneri were flying, and Ronaldinho was bringing out the tricks within the first five minutes. The Brazilian then tested van der Sar with an effort from close range after effortlessly beating Rio Ferdinand, but it was gathered comfortably.

Sir Alex Ferguson was chewing furiously on the sidelines as his side attempted to get into the game, but they should have been two down in the 11th minute. Thiago Silva made a superb run deep into the Red Devils' half to play Luca Antonini in, but the full back pulled his shot wide of the near post when shooting across goal would have been a better option.

Ji-Sung Park threatened to break into the penalty area but was denied by a superb tackle from Daniele Bonera, before Ferdinand looked to have brought Ronaldinho down on the edge of the box but the referee waved away his protests.

The majority of the pressure was coming from the hosts, and both Evra and Rafael were struggling to deal with the overlapping runs from Antonini and Beckham. Manchester United were not helping themselves by frequently giving the ball away in midfield, and Evans had to make an inch-perfect tackle on Pato on the half hour.

The hosts were made to pay for their missed chances when Manchester United equalized 10 minutes before the break in the most fortunate of circumstances. Darren Fletcher's low ball in to the box was aimed at Paul Scholes, who missed his initial shot but the ball hit his standing leg and trickled into the net off the upright. It was their first away goal against the Rossoneri.

Just before the break, Park fouled Massimo Ambrosini 25 yards from goal. It was in perfect Beckham territory, but the former Manchester United man hit his effort over the bar. While the visitors looked more dangerous towards the end of the half, the referee called time on the first 45 minutes with the scores at 1-1.

Fletcher had a good opportunity just after the break when Nani chipped a cross in for the Scot to head towards goal from a yard out, but he could only head wide from a tricky angle. Pato should also have done better with a header as he ghosted away from Evra to get onto the end of substitute Giuseppe Favalli's cross, but failed to hit the target.

Moments later, Edwin van der Sar made an excellent one-handed save from an Andrea Pirlo piledriver, and the veteran had dive low to his left to prevent Ronaldinho from restoring the lead on the hour mark.

The ineffective Nani was then replaced, and Ferguson's move paid dividends immediately. Substitute Luis Antonio Valencia beat Favalli on the right hand side before chipping a cross in for Wayne Rooney to head perfectly back across goal into the far corner.

Manchester United sensed that they could gain a stranglehold on the tie by scoring a third, and immediately went in search of the game's fourth goal. The visitors were knocking it around at will, and Rooney struck another shot off target after a neat step-over from Scholes.

It was merely putting off the inevitable, and in the 75th minute Fletcher floated in a perfect ball between Nesta and Silva for Rooney to head home unchallenged from a few yards out.

10 minutes later, Milan gave themselves a lifeline. Ronaldinho received a fine ball from Thiago Silva in the penalty area, and he sent in a low cross for Clarence Seedorf to flick home from close range. Seconds later, 'Dinho' sliced open the visitors' defense for Filippo Inzaghi to strike at goal, but it flew over the bar.

It was not the only opportunity the Rossoneri had late on as Ambrosini had a shot blocked from close range before Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva tried to head the same ball from the consequent corner, and the chance was wasted.

Michael Carrick picked up a second yellow card deep in injury time, but Manchester United withstood the late pressure and will take a precious lead to Old Trafford. The Rossoneri, meanwhile, will be regretting their many missed chances.


hans said...

sah fanatik MU nih