SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 24 - 14 Feb 2014 (19.45 UK)
Milan 1 - 0
Balotelli 87 (M)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Mario Balotelli scored a goal of the season contender as Milan beat Bologna 1-0 on Friday evening at San Siro.

The Rossoneri welcomed back Kaka to their starting after the Brazilian recovered from his bout of flu last week. The Brazilian played alongside Keisuke Honda and Adel Taarabt in a 4-2-3-1, as the home side looked to bounce back from defeat at the hands of Napoli last weekend. The Rossoblu meanwhile, were hoping for back-to-back away wins, and named the same XI that beat Torino last time out.

And it was the Diavolo who got off to the brighter start, pushing Davide Ballardini’s men back virtually on to the edge of their own area. Milan were happy keeping possession, and it wasn’t until five minutes in that Riccardo Montolivo got off the first shot – his effort though, was saved easily by Gianluca Curci.

And the goalkeeper was at it again 10 minutes later, when the Italy international struck from outside the area for a second time – forcing the Bologna shot-stopper into another save.

That profligacy almost cost the Rossoneri though midway through the half. A cross from Gyorgy Garics found Rene Krhin inside the area, but his header was parried over the bar by Christian Abbiati.

The hosts continued to monopolise the ball, but couldn’t break down the Renato Dell’Ara outfit’s wall, as they went into the break goalless.

After the interval, Clarence Seedorf’s team were again in the ascendency, pumping balls into the box through free kicks and corners, but the away team were remaining resolute, heading away anything that came in their path.

Once again, it was Ballardini’s side who almost profited from Milan’s wastefulness as Jonathan Cristaldo got on the end of a Rolando Bianchi cross, only to poke the ball wide.

The away team were building up a head of steam now, and once again went close. Bianchi though, hit his first time effort wide of Abbiati’s left-hand post.

The game looked for certain to remain goalless, but with just three minutes to go, Balotelli struck out of the blue from 43 yards (40 metres), and watched as the ball rifled into the top left-hand corner to give Milan the win. The strike was clocked at 91 km/h (56 mph).


Milan: Abbiati; De Sciglio, Rami, Zaccardo, Constant; De Jong (Muntari 64), Montolivo; Honda (Pazzini 66), Kakà (Poli 79), Taarabt; Balotelli
: Curci; Antonsson, Natali, Mantovani; Garics (Moscardelli 89), Lazaros, Perez (Friburg 89), Krhin, Morleo; Bianchi, Cristaldo (Laxalt 84)
Ref: Bergonzi