Giampaolo Pazzini celebrated his first Milan start with a hat-trick to conquer Bologna at the Stadio Dall’Ara!
Both sides started the season with defeats, as the Rossoneri were sensationally beaten 1-0 by new boys Sampdoria and Bologna fell 2-0 at Chievo.
Pazzini got his first Rossoneri start, but late signings Bojan Krkic, Nigel De Jong and Alberto Gilardino were all on the bench. Michele Pazienza was thrown into the Rossoblu line-up straight away, while Massimo Ambrosini returned from injury to shore up the Milan midfield.
Robinho, Alexandre Pato, Ignazio Abate, Rodney Strasser, Didac Vila and Sulley Muntari remained sidelined. The home team missed the banned Diego Perez and injured Rene Khrin, while they hadn’t beaten Milan here in seven Serie A attempts.
Milan were playing in white shirts and red shorts and a low Kevin-Prince Boateng free kick was fingertipped round the base of the upright, though it seemed to be going wide anyway. Another set piece was played to Boateng for a similar shot and Federico Agliardi beat it off the line.
Pazzini burst forward on to a long ball and was engaged in a tussle with Nicolo’ Cherubin until he went down for a penalty. Replays and the Bologna protests suggest if anything he was holding on to Cherubin’s jersey, but even the extra official behind the line failed to spot it. Il Pazzo got back up and converted into the near bottom corner of the net for his first goal in a Milan shirt.
Alessandro Diamanti blasted over, then another shot at the end of a mazy run bounced off Christian Abbiati’s chest. Saphir Taider gathered a loose ball as Bologna were played the advantage and curled just past the far top corner. Diamanti got past two players down the left, but Robert Acquafresca couldn’t make clean contact with the assist.
Another wonderful Diamanti move created a dangerous scoring opportunity, but some desperate defending charged it down in the box. Milan had been down to 10 men at the time, as Riccardo Montolivo was on the bench with a hamstring problem and replaced by De Jong.
Moments later, Diamanti was tripped by Antonio Nocerino on the edge of the box for another penalty, though the midfielder claimed he got the ball. The Italian international converted it himself by sending Abbiati the wrong way and drawing Bologna level.
In stoppages Boateng volleyed a corner inches over the bar from six yards with his back to goal.
Straight after the restart Tiberio Guarente combined with Acquafresca for a shot across the face of goal that skimmed the upright.
Pazzini couldn’t get clean contact with his head to a Luca Antonini cross thanks to the efforts of Cherubin, as did Guarente on a Diamanti free kick, while Boateng spun round to drill just wide from outside the box.
It was wide open, as Diamanti’s low cross was intercepted before reaching Acquafresca from six yards. Pazzini was booked for a high foot, accidentally kicking Cherubin in the head.
A lovely move between Antonini and Boateng sent Nocerino through, but Carvalho dived in with a crucial deflection. From that corner, Boateng forced Agliardi to save with his feet at the near post, then the Ghanaian tried with a backheel flick wide.
Gilardino made his Bologna debut against one of his old clubs and Bojan also came off the bench. A Gila diving header was over from Diamanti’s free kick.
Another Diamanti set piece was curled directly towards the back post, but newcomer Pazienza nodded just wide from six yards.
Pazzini proved his goal poacher status by being in the right place at the right time, as Agliardi fumbled a cross and the ex-Inter striker immediately fired in from four yards. The Bologna goalkeeper had accidentally run into one of his own teammates and dropped the deflected Antonini cross.
Il Pazzo made the most of another gift soon after, as a mis-kicked Nocerino attempt turned into an assist for Pazzini, who flicked it on with his heel from the penalty spot to confuse Agliardi. It was an amazing game for the hitman, who only managed five goals all season at Inter.
There was also time for 17-year-old forward M’Baye Niang to receive his Serie A debut.