THE ROSSONERI are still the leaders of Serie A, after Zlatan Ibrahimovic secured another win for Milan with an exquisite goal. With Ronaldinho benched after his partying antics, and Pirlo not fit to play after picking up an injury with Italy, Ibrahimovic, Binho and Seedorf were relied on to create for Milan, and they did enough to overcome Fiorentina.
Milan pressured Fiorentina from the off, with the Viola unable to get out of their own half until the 4th minute, and within that time, Milan already had a shot, with Daniele Bonera surprisingly take a shot, however Artur Boruc had it covered.
D’agostino fired a free kick at goal for Fiorentina after a Flamini handball moments later, but Christian Abbiati pulled off a magnificent save to keep the score 0-0, even though only 6 minutes were on the clock!
The game opened up slightly in the next 10 minutes, and after some excellent work from Mathieu Flamini (who had started the game very well) Robinho fired the ball hard and low across the face of goal, but it was off target and nobody had followed it in.
After some great build up play from Cerci, D’agostino’s corner met the head of Gilardino, who got it on target, only for Christian Abbiati to once again make the save, and keep it out for another corner (which was subsequently cleared by Ibra)
Gattuso had a chance to give Milan the lead with 25 minutes on the clock, but he overran the ball, and unfortunately Artur Boruc came out to narrow the angle, and block Gattuso’s shot.
Fiorentina were on the attack then, but they failed to create anything other than a shot from Ljajic which was fired straight at Abbiati. It was then Artur Boruc’s turn to stop a shot, this time from Clarence Seedorf’s effort, but it wasn’t too difficult a save for him.
Milan had the ball in the back of the net on the 40 minute mark, Robinho picking up Seedorf’s ball and firing it past Boruc in to the bottom left side of the net, however, the referee’s asistant had other ideas, and ruled it out for offside (a correct decision, even though it was close)
The Rossoneri ended the half in the lead though, Zlatan Ibrahimovic controlling a ball in from Thiago Silva, flicking it up with his back to goal and volleying it in with a scissor kick style attempt in to the bottom corner, a goal of the utmost quality, requiring excellent technique!
The second half got off to a flyer, Robinho given space down the left flank managed to put in a decent ball, but Clarence Seedorf dragged his half-volley a bit too much across goal and wide.
Per Kroldrup then saved Fiorentina, by blocking Robinho’s shot at the end of a fantastic flowing move of football, including 2 brilliant backheel flicks from both Clarence Seedorf and Zlatan Ibrahimovic!
With 52 minutes on the clock, Zlatan Ibrahimovic played an incisive pass for Flamini to take it to the byline – pulling the ball back, Seedorf came to the near post, but was just unable to direct it at goal, but it was clear Milan were going for the jugular, hoping to effectively close the game.
Dribbling past several players, Robinho earned a corner around the 56 minute mark, from which Alessandro Nesta had a glorious oppertunity to score after making a good run forward, but his header flew straight in to the hands of Fiorentina’s polish international goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
The home side had a few chances to score within a space of a few minutes near the 2/3 way mark, first a penalty claim was denied (though it did seem to strike the fiorentina players’ hand) then Thiago Silva’s effort came close, before finally Flamini found Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who unfortunately pulled his shot too far across goal.
Near the 80 minute mark, Kevin-Prince Boateng replaced Robinho (although it would’ve made more sense to rest Seedorf, Ibra or Gattuso) however Prince then had an instant impact, half-volleying a shot hard and low across goal, only for Boruc to save the angled shot well.
Moments later, Adem Ljajic had a great chance to score after some brilliant work from Alberto Gilardino, but Fiorentina failed to score. Nonetheless, the pressure was building, and it seemed Milan were settling for another 1-0, even though it was a risky strategy to take.
With 5 minutes to go, Ronaldinho was brought on to replace Clarence Seedorf, perhaps this was more aimed at wasting time than anything though, as 5 minutes isn’t really enough time to impress to earn a starting place for the mid-week game with Auxerre.
Although there were 3 minuted added time, Milan hung on for the victory, once again topping the table, and to add insult to injury for Fiorentina, Per Kroldup was sent off in the dying minutes, after a combination of fouling Ibra, and dissenting the referee!
Best Moment: Zlatan’s fantastic goal
Man of the Match: Ibrahimovic, simply because he proved to be the difference between the sides (credit to Flamini, Seedorf, Binho + Abbiati)
PS: We apologise for the late posting of the report, as you are all aware, there were some technical difficulties with the website.
By Hefin Davies, Rossoneri Blog