Antonio Cassano marked his first start in six months with a goal and two assists as Milan conquered Siena 4-1.
The Rossoneri needed a victory to stay in the Scudetto race, as pressure was increasing on Coach Massimiliano Allegri. He again dropped Robinho and Clarence Seedorf, supposedly to help them regain their form, while Urby Emanuelson, Massimo Ambrosini, Alexandre Pato, Gianluca Zambrotta and Pippo Inzaghi were injured. Siena had almost secured their safety with some positive results, but Luigi Giorgi, Pablo Gonzalez, Angelo, Emanuele Calaiò and the suspended Andrea Rossi missed out.
Antonio Cassano was given his first start since suffering a stroke and undergoing heart surgery at the end of October. He inspired their early chance, spreading the play for an Ignazio Abate cross that was well intercepted by Zeljko Brkic.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic volleyed wide from a Cassano assist, while Kevin-Prince Boateng was flagged offside when he hit the crossbar.
Cassano marked his comeback after six months out with a goal to put Milan in front. Ibrahimovic sprung the offside trap and pulled back, but Brkic fumbled the ball at the near post and allowed Cassano to tap in the rebound. It was a howler from the goalkeeper.
Moments later Milan made it 2-0 with a moment of magic from Ibra. The Swede gathered from Cassano and got a bit of space in the box to immediately smash a rocket under the bar from 12 yards.
Brkic flew to palm Boateng’s blockbuster round the post and Siena’s day got worse when Claudio Terzi limped off after an accidental collision with ‘Prince.’ Sulley Muntari’s first touch let him down on another Cassano assist.
Siena should’ve had one back on 43 minutes when a defensive error left Mattia Destro totally unmarked from six yards, but he mistimed his volley and incredibly got the ball caught between his feet, falling over to sit on the sphere!
After the restart Destro hit a weak effort into Abbiati’s arms, while Boateng tested Brkic from an improbable angle. Ibrahimovic’s right-foot screamer was palmed round the far post. Ibra flicked on a Boateng cross for Alberto Aquilani, whose shot was well saved.
Siena were dangerous on the counter-attack, but Erjon Bogdani was flagged offside. The home side did get back into the game in the final minutes. Brienza combined with Destro for an angled drive parried with one hand by Christian Abbiati, but Bogdani pounced on the loose ball from four yards.
Milan were under pressure, but Antonio Nocerino went on a magnificent solo run from the centre-circle to secure their victory. He dribbled between three Siena players and kept his cool to smash under the bar from 12 yards.
With the last kick of the game, Cassano turned in the area and rolled across for Ibrahimovic to stroke home the fourth goal.