Bojan Krkic and a Giampaolo Pazzini penalty gave Milan a very hard-fought victory over Siena.
The Rossoneri ended 2012 with a heavy defeat to Roma and the pressure was on after Alexandre Pato’s €15m move to Corinthians. Robinho missed this game after negotiations with Santos broke down, while Daniele Bonera, Mario Yepes, Cristian Zapata, Djamel Mesbah and Nigel De Jong had injuries. Adding the suspended Philippe Mexes, the crisis in defence meant Mattia De Sciglio had to play as centre-back. Siena were looking for their first result under new Coach Beppe Iachini, but top scorer Emanuele Calaiò sat out a ban and Marcelo Larrondo was unavailable.
The Rossoneri came out before kick-off with special anti-racism jerseys after Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off during a midweek friendly against lower league side Pro Patria due to abuse from the stands.
Kevin Constant’s cross-shot was flapped over the bar, while Stephan El Shaarawy dribbled between two defenders to force another save out of Gianluca Pegolo from point-blank range.
Giampaolo Pazzini couldn’t get on the end of an El Shaarawy assist or an Antonio Nocerino cross. Milan seemed thoroughly uninspired apart from El Shaarawy, whose right-foot curler skimmed the base of the upright.
Instead, Siena had a great scoring opportunity in the second half when Christian Abbiati had to stick up a hand to palm Alessandro Rosina’s effort away from point-blank range.
El Shaarawy really should’ve scored on 59 minutes, but his header from a Boateng cross flashed all the way across the face of goal.
Milan finally found a way through with substitute Bojan Krkic. Siena gave away possession to spark a counter and Boateng curled the cross on to Bojan’s head at the near post, the Spaniard glancing it past the goalkeeper.
Bojan tried to complete his brace, but the strike shaved a coat of paint off the base of the upright.
Pazzini was awarded a penalty for a nudge from behind by Felipe and he insisted on taking the kick himself, firing confidently under the bar.
It wasn’t over yet, as substitute Michele Paolucci timed his header brilliantly to get one back for Siena on Angelo’s cross.