Milan swept sorry Livorno aside 3-0 for a fifth straight victory and Mario Balotelli set a new personal best.
Clarence Seedorf remains under pressure despite a series of four consecutive wins that put them back in contention for a Europa League spot. The Rossoneri hosted struggling Livorno, who went into the Easter weekend third from bottom. Keisuke Honda, Valter Birsa, Michael Essien, Stephan El Shaarawy and Bryan Cristante missed out, so Robinho and Ignazio Abate got a rare start. The Amaranto were without Ibrahima Mbaye, Andrea Luci, Ceccherini, Giuseppe Gemiti and the suspended Marco Biagianti.
Mario Balotelli had a muscular problem in the warm-up, but still took his place in the starting XI at San Siro.
Adel Taarabt had an audacious long-range strike that whistled over the crossbar after Leandro Rinaudo blocked a Ricky Kaka effort in the box.
Adil Rami thought he had scored his fourth Serie A goal of the season, but the looping header only bounced off the crossbar from Riccardo Montolivo’s free kick and Balotelli blasted the follow-up off target.
Piccini had penalty appeals for a Nigel De Jong sliding tackle, but the referee waved play on. Kaka’s curling finish from the left side of the box flashed across the face of goal and just past Balotelli’s outstretched foot at the back stick. Robinho’s finish was deflected on to the side-netting after a well-worked team move.
Livorno wanted a penalty on 34 minutes when Abate tripped Djamel Mesbah, but replays confirm the referee was right to award a free kick right on the edge of the box. Paulinho horribly wasted the opportunity by blasting over.
De Jong was booked and will be suspended for next week’s clash with Roma.
Balotelli broke the deadlock just before the break with a cushioned header on Kevin Constant’s cross from the left. Livorno complained that SuperMario had shoved Paolo Castellini in the back to get himself into space for that free header.
After the restart, Balotelli volleyed over a set play, but Taarabt scored his first goal at San Siro. He combined with Balotelli to dribble through the defence and swept his finish past Francesco Bardi from seven yards.
Robinho pulled back in the area for Kaka, but his shot was deflected over the bar. Giampaolo Pazzini came off the bench and wasted a golden opportunity, chipping Bardi on a long Abate pass.
Moments later Pazzo did get his name on the scoresheet, as Balotelli sent him clear on a through ball and he slipped the finish beneath the on-rushing goalkeeper.
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