SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 16 - 17 Dec 2011 (19.45 UK)
Milan 2 - 0
Nocerino 54 (M), Ibrahimovic pen 63 (M)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Milan had a tougher job than expected, but eventually pushed Siena aside 2-0 with Antonio Nocerino and a dubious penalty.

The Rossoneri had to completely reshuffle their defence, losing Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonini the day before the game. They joined Alessandro Nesta, Mario Yepes, Gianluca Zambrotta, Christian Abbiati, Antonio Cassano, Gennaro Gattuso and Mathieu Flamini on the treatment table, so Philippe Mexes got his first Serie A start for the club with Daniele Bonera re-routed to right-back. Siena hoped to end a run of three consecutive defeats, but missed Simone Vergassola and Nicola Belmonte.

As expected, Milan dominated possession from the start and pegged Siena back into their own half with Antonio Nocerino’s volley off target, though Reginaldo also drilled wide at the other end. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s deflected half-volley skimmed the bar after a lucky ricochet, but on 20 minutes Robinho’s disguised pass released Kevin-Prince Boateng, forcing Brkic into a desperate one-handed save from point-blank range.

However, Siena went even closer, as Francesco Bolzoni sprung the offside trap on Taye Taiwo’s error and drew out Marco Amelia, but the angled drive dribbled inches wide of an open goal.

Clarence Seedorf tried to squirm his way through a crowd of Siena defenders, eventually seeing his finish deflected wide by Cristiano Del Grosso.

An Ibrahimovic backheel flick set up Seedorf for the low drive that Brkic needed a couple of touches to control.

After the restart, Siena went on the counter from a Milan corner kick, but Angelo’s cross-shot was too close to Amelia with Emanuele Calaio waiting in the middle.

Milan eventually took the lead on 54 minutes thanks to Nocerino’s sixth goal of the season. He had already set a new personal best with five, so this was an extra bonus. A corner was passed out to the edge of the box for Nocerino’s daisy-cutter with slight deflection to beat Brkic at the near post.

The Rossoneri went on a rapid counter-attack with Robinho who spread the play for an unmarked Boateng. He already appeared to be falling as Brkic came tearing out at his feet, but it was also a very clumsy attempt at a challenge. The referee awarded the dubious penalty, which Ibrahimovic converted with a powerful finish into the near top corner.

Brkic made an unorthodox save on the long-range Alexandre Pato snapshot, the ball flying straight up into the air, then crossed back in for Ibra’s header. Pato had another great chance when he exchanged passes with Nocerino to carve the Siena defence apart, but some desperate defending charged down his tap-in for a corner.

Amelia had his palms stung by a Bolzoni diving header at the near post, then from that corner Claudio Terzi nodded over. 


Milan: Amelia; Bonera, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Taiwo; Seedorf (Aquilani 55), Van Bommel, Nocerino; Boateng (Emanuelson 73); Ibrahimovic, Robinho (Pato 65)
: Brkic; Vitiello, Rossettini, Terzi, Del Grosso; Angelo, Bolzoni, Gazzi (Grossi 60), Reginaldo (D’Agostino 57); Brienza (Destro 82), Calaiò
Ref: Bergonzi