Antonio Cassano’s brace and a fantastic Amauri flick gave Parma a 4-2 victory over 10-man Milan after Christian Abbiati’s early red card.
The atmosphere at San Siro was tense, as a fan protest outside continued into the Curva Sud, targeting Mario Balotelli and CEO Adriano Galliani in particular after three consecutive defeats between Serie A and the Champions League. Parma, on the other hand, were sitting pretty in sixth place and on a club record 15-round unbeaten run, though Gabriel Paletta was suspended and Walter Gargano injured. It was a return to this stadium for Antonio Cassano and ex-Rossoneri star Roberto Donadoni. Mattia De Sciglio sat out a ban with Stephan El Shaarawy, Bryan Cristante and Andrea Petagna sidelined.
Parma’s last official win at San Siro was the Italian Super Cup in 1999, but in Serie A the most recent was decided by Mario Stanic in 1996.
It was the worst possible start for Milan, as within six minutes Christian Abbiati had rushed off his line to clatter into Ezequiel Schelotto, who had sprung the offside trap. The goalkeeper was shown a straight red card and a penalty awarded, so Marco Amelia’s first job was to pick the ball out of the net, as Cassano fired his spot-kick into the near bottom corner.
FantAntonio was enjoying himself in his old hunting ground and a curling cross-shot was just past the far top corner.
Balotelli was unlucky not to draw 10-man Milan level on 18 minutes, as he flicked on a corner from six yards and saw it thump against the base of the upright.
Daniele Bonera crucially charged down a Jonathan Biabiany attempt, then Cassano peeled off his marker for an effort blocked by Riccardo Montolivo.
Balotelli sprinted to the by-line and pulled back, but Montolivo couldn’t turn it on target. Bonera was again decisive with a sliding tackle to stop Biabiany’s pull-back reaching an unmarked Schelotto from six yards.
Amelia needed a desperate reaction save from point-blank range to stop Philippe Mexes turning a Mattia Cassani cross into his own net. Mexes ran quite a few risks and before the break was fortunate to avoid a second yellow card, but he was not replaced during the break.
Schelotto ran rings round Bonera only for Afriyie Acquah to finish over the bar. It was all Parma and Cassano doubled his tally as well as their lead. FantAntonio was left in acres of space to turn in at the back post undisturbed.
Adil Rami came off the bench and scored within three minutes, his towering header beating two defenders at the back post on a Ricky Kaka corner.
That goal seemed to boost their confidence, as Kaka controlled a long Balotelli ball over the top and saw his shot crucially charged down by Cristian Molinaro.
Milan had penalty appeals, but replays show Molinaro clearly charged down a shot with his chest, then Balotelli blasted over from distance and curled another attempt just wide.
Parma seemed to rest on their laurels and were punished, albeit in controversial fashion, as Joel Obi was harshly judged to bring down Montolivo in the box. Replays suggest if anything Montolivo was holding Obi’s jersey and fell over in front of him, but Balotelli stepped up and coolly converted for his first goal in a month.
It was a remarkable comeback from 2-0 down for a team that played almost the entire match with 10 men. However, it did not last long, as Schelotto pulled a ball across from the right and Amauri flicked it in with his heel from six yards, improvising as the cross was slightly behind him.
Amelia prevented it being 4-2 in stoppages, as he used his legs to deny Schelotto, who this time was down the left flank.
However, the last move of the game saw Biabiany’s diving header beat Amelia from six yards.
Sent off: Abbiati 6 (M)