SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 35 - 5 May 2013 (14.00 UK)
Milan 1 - 0 Torino
Balotelli 84 (M)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Mario Balotelli snatched a last-gasp victory that sends Milan four points clear in third place, but Toro should’ve scored at San Siro.

The Rossoneri had great news last night when Fiorentina lost to Roma, so had the opportunity to break away in third place. Riccardo Montolivo, Bojan Krkic and Massimo Ambrosini missed out, while Stephan El Shaarawy started despite carrying an ankle problem. Christian Abbiati returned in goal. Kamil Glik was suspended for Toro, so Valerio Di Cesare started in defence, while Mattia Darmian and Giuseppe Vives were back from bans. The Granata adjusted their usual 4-2-4 into a 5-3-2 system.

Alessio Cerci sprung the offside trap in the opening moments of the game, forcing Abbiati to save his angled drive. At the other end, Jean-Francois Gillet needed a double intervention to deny Sulley Muntari from distance, then stuck out a foot to parry Kevin-Prince Boateng’s follow-up at the near post.

Torino really should’ve scored on the counter-attack when Cerci’s inspired flick sent Paulo Vitor Barreto clear, but the Brazilian incredibly fired straight at Abbiati.

The Milan defence was under real pressure, as Migjen Basha’s cross flashed all the way across the six-yard box with nobody able to tap in.  At the other end, Boateng couldn’t make firm contact on a header from point-blank range and El Shaarawy’s effort was deflected. From that corner, Philippe Mexes nodded on to Gillet’s back.

Max Allegri tried to throw on Giampaolo Pazzini for the not 100 per cent fit El Shaarawy. The Milan defence was regularly torn apart and Cerci flew down the right to sweep in a cross, which Barreto somehow fired on to Abbiati from a yard away and then deflect the follow-up on to the roof of the net.

Milan kept up constant pressure, but struggled to create without Montolivo in midfield and were always vulnerable on the counter-attack.

Robinho dribbled through a crowd of Granata jerseys to test Gillet at the base of the near stick.

It eventually paid off, as with six minutes left on the clock Mexes nodded an Antonio Nocerino cross back across the face of goal for Balotelli to turn in from point-blank range.


Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Flamini (Robinho 81), Muntari, Nocerino; Boateng (Niang 76), Balotelli, El Shaarawy (Pazzini 55)
Torino: Gillet; Darmian, Rodriguez, Di Cesare (D’Ambrosio 84), Ogbonna, Masiello; Basha, Vives, Brighi (Santana 75); Cerci, Barreto (Meggiorini 84)
Ref: Damato