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Acmlt30 (AC Milan) 1 year ago
Player Ratings vs Barcelona (20/2/2013)

Pazzini: 6. 0
Didn’t see much of the ball, as expected, but worked hard for his team. A couple of neat layoffs here and there were pretty much what he was limited to.

El-Shaarawy: 7. 5
Heavy touch allowed Puyol to come in and clear the danger after being played through on goal by Boateng. Caught offsides on a few occasions in the first half but his positioning was much improved in the second. Lead the way whenever Milan threatened to break. Played the vital pass out wide for Muntari to grab an all important second goal.

Boateng: 7. 5
Set up El-Shaarawy with a great chance as his clever flick-on split the Barcelona defence. Smashed in Milan’s opener with an accurate volley after the ball broke to him following a freekick. Overall an inspiring performance, as he made good use of the ball and helped close down the Barcelona midfield.

Montolivo: 8. 0
Man of the match performance, as he was involved in all of Milan’s good play. Displayed a wide array of his passing abilities and maintained a cool head in the midfield. It was his shot which led to Boateng’s goal and he was also heavily involved in the buildup to Milan’s second. Also did well to pressurize the Barcelona midfield and win back possession.

Muntari: 7. 0
Attempted an ambitious volley in the opening minutes of the match. Worked hard on the left side of midfield, but was caught in possession on a few occasions. Did extremely well to push forward and be on the receiving end of a brilliant Milan counter to score his first ever Champions League goal.

Ambrosini: 7. 0
Shielded the Milan defence exceptionally well as Barcelona rarely managed to enter the Milan penalty box. Showed plenty of energy and determination which mirrored the Milan game plan. A captain’s performance.

Constant: 6. 5
Completely marked Pedro out of the game. His speed was an important factor in inhibiting the influence of the Barcelona attack. Also did well to shadow Messi throughout the match. Another solid showing at leftback.

Abate: 6. 5
Similar to Constant, as he did well to limit the influence of Iniesta and Jordi Alba out wide. Made a few strong runs into the Barcelona half but was mostly restricted to his defensive duties tonight.

Mexes: 7. 0
Made some very important interceptions and clearances which earned his side a clean sheet. Did his best to play the ball out from his defensive position. Most importantly, did not display his usual lapses in concentration.

Zapata: 7. 0
Showed good understanding with Mexes and made sure to sweep up any chances in the Milan penalty box. Accidently deflected the ball into Boateng’s path which allowed Milan to snatch a 1-0 lead.

Abbiati: 6. 0
Did not have a single noteworthy save to make.
LunaBoy1 (AC Milan) 1 year ago
LOL that's so true and funny about Abbiati

Zapata's 'handball'

IRossoneri (AC Milan) 1 year ago
I think Abate should get higher for sure, maybe a 7 and Zapata a 6. 5. Honestly I don't think SES deserves a 7. 5 as I feel he didn't play that well in the first half but that's debatable and his workload was enormous
MarquinhoACM (AC Milan) 1 year ago
Game Review vs. Barcelona (20/2/13):

"Impossible is nothing. " Going into the game, many fans were nervous and anxious, not just because the Muntari was starting for some odd reason, but because Milan were facing an opponent that could have potentially put 5 in the net and end the tie within 30 minutes of game time.coming into the game, most people knew that that scoreline was either going to be a luckfest 0-0 draw/1-0 win or a beating of 5+ goals by Barcelona. But you know who wasn't worried, not one bit. Cool-Cat Max Allegri, with his ideal tactical strategy that will later be referred as "The Perfect Game. "

Milan opened up with the formation that had work best throughout the season, a 4-3-3. This, of course, had some minor changes that made it appear weaker, such as Pazzini's typical non-appearance at striker and recently-recovered-from-a-torn-ACL victim Muntari. Anyway, the difference from this 4-3-3 setup than any other was the transition to defence. Whenever Barcelona had the ball, the formation would change to a more compacted 4-5-1, essentially to clog up the midfield where most of Barcelona's magic came from. When this transition occurred, the outside midfielders, Montolivo and Muntari, would squeeze into the center of the formation and the two wingers in El Shaarawy and Boateng would track back and cover the original position of the outside midfielders. But instead of sitting back and absorbing the pressure, the midfielders and wingers would put high pressure on Barcelona's midfield, attempting to force a pass horizontally and backwards or create an error to pick off from. This was increasingly effective as it lessened the time for the midfielder to hold onto the ball and try to pick out a run being made by the forwards. Xavi had a difficult time trying to play a pass forward past Muntari, and likewise to Fabregas and Montolivo/Boateng. Speaking of the midfield pressure, with Muntari and Montolivo pushing central and covering potential targets, Ambrosini was given the chance to roam freely along the line between the midfield and defence and pick off passes wherever he liked, which was evident as he had a game-high 6 interceptions and 7 tackles. Ambrosini showed his true experience through this tactical move and exemplified why he was needed to stick around another year after all the senators left. Assuming that de Jong was out with injury, there is no player in Milan's squad that would have been capable of doing what Ambrosini did that night.

The defence was also incredibly sound, which came to be a surprise seeing as Milan hadn't been able to keep a clean sheet since the 1-0 win over Atalanta back in January. I may have mentioned this in a previous blog, but whenever Mexes and Zapata are paired together in the defence, they inherit a role known as the "stopper-sweeper" tactic. That is, the sweeper plays a bit more in front of the other central defender, the stopper, and makes the first contact with the oncoming attack and attempt to shut down the attack. When threaten with a particular goal poacher, the stopper can also be assigned to man mark said target and roam along with him, while the stopper controls the center. If the sweeper is dispatched, the stopper typically is there to make the final clearance and end any bit of the attack. In this defensive pair, Mexes was the stopper and Zapata was the sweeper. Throughout the match, Mexes was handed the responsibility of keeping a close eye on Messi and to shadow him, but not necessarily man mark him. Since Messi was quickly shut out deep in Milan's defence, he typically dropped back a lot to collect the ball, at which he would then be shadowed by a midfielder. All in all, Mexes did his job perfectly, as Messi was only allowed one touch inside Milan's 18-yard box, something virtually unheard of.

Finally, with midfield and defence covered, the last bit to the tactic was Pazzini's influence along with the wingers. Pazzini often attempted to drop back and defend against Barcelona's furthest back line of midfield in Busquets and Xavi, and while it led to no winning tackles or interceptions, it created less space for the midfield to work with. Another role of Pazzini's was to hold up the ball during counters and distribute, which he actually succeeded with quite well. But his biggest addition to the team was being predictable. Whenever Pazzini had the ball, he would try to make his passes consistent with each other to make the defence predict his intentions before they happened. An example was his constant quick passes with El Shaarawy and Boateng. By doing this, he effectively stretched the defensive pairing of Puyol and Pique to the point where Niang's introduction and unpredictability help him bypass Puyol with ease and create the 2nd goal. While Pazzini offered little in what strikers are typically asked for (only 1 shot the entire match), his service in the distribution was very effective.

Many have referenced Milan's tactics as "parking the bus, " a term described as "a defensive style of play whereby a team attempt to restrict the opposition by playing many players behind the ball with no intent of attacking play. " Being behind the ball would mean the team was entirely inside their half and had no intentions of moving forward. In the case with Milan, this is not true. Rather than sitting back and playing "center back" with the center backs, the midfield, along with the wingers, often put high pressure on Barcelona and closed down any space available to them. This was not only true in Milan's half; whenever Barcelona had a throw in from their half, you could see Boateng motioning to the midfield to push up and cover the options. Evidence of this would be the percentage of positional play: 16% of the game was played in Barcelona's third, 29% in Milan's third, and a whopping 55% in the middle third, which means that 55% of the 90 minutes was played in the center of the field. Big difference when you compare it to the previous controversial "parking the bus" attempt, when Barcelona lost out to Chelsea. That game had 56% of the game played in Chelsea's third. I've compared Milan's tactics as a modern catenaccio, where catenaccio is highly based on the defensive aspect of the game, Allegri's modern twist incorporated the highly discipline and organization of catenaccio and the present counter-attack strategy of today's game, and he had done it well.

But as the players have mentioned over and over again in interviews, the game is only at halftime and anything can still happen. Many can think back to last season where Milan had a 4-0 lead over Arsenal in the first leg and almost threw it away with a 0-3 loss in the return leg, and that loss was mostly contributed to Allegri using entirely new tactics and formation that the team had hardly practice. This time around we can only hope that Allegri had learned from that lesson and approach the game in a similar way to this leg, but only time will tell. For now, enjoy the euphoria that game with a major win and hope we can complete one of the best weeks in recent Milan history by defeating Inter.... Merda.



Stats provided by whoscored.com

Stefke951 (AC Milan) 1 year ago
Game Preview vs. Inter (24/3/13):

Derby della Madonnina is finally upon us and like always it’s vital for both teams as difference between the clubs is only 1 point.

Expected lineups:

Inter (4-3-1-2):
Handanović; Zanetti-Cambiasso-Chivu-Nagatomo; Kuzmanović-Kovačić-Guarin; Alvarez-Cassano-Palacio
Missing players: Luca Castellazzi, Walter Samuel, Matias Silvestre, Joel Obi, Gaby Mudingayi and Alvaro Pereira (suspended)

AC Milan (4-3-3):
Abbiati; Abate-Mexes-Zapata-De Sciglio; Nocerino-Montolivo-Muntari; Boateng-Balotelli-El Shaarawy
Missing players: Kevin Constant, Daniele Bonera, Nigel De Jong and Mathieu Flamini

Inter are coming into this match with a certain number of injuries but with hope they can continue their streak of 3 straight wins in The Derby (2 of those were 1-0). Andrea Rannochia is not totally ruled out as reports say he will have last minute fitness tests to see if he can play tonight. Cambiasso is expected to fill in for Rannochia in cental defensive role. As for Milan, Kevin Constant is out and is being replaced by Mattia De Sciglio. Nocerino is back in the starting lineup, after missing out on notorious round of 16 clash with Barcelona. Silvio Berlusconi is going to make a cameo appearance tonight in the stands, and cameraman is going to be cut short of filming some pretty Interista and Milanista girls (Milanista girls are prettier, just saying). Apart from Berlu stopping by the San Siro to check out his young product (not alluding to young girls present), the main story is how acoustic will San Siro-Giuseppe Meazza be when Inter fans boo Mario Balotelli. Undoubtedly there will be jeers from Curva Sud as well, pointed at Cassano. Anyway, we are all looking forward to tonight and there’s no doubt it will be an exciting match. Forza Milan!
Stefke951 (AC Milan) 1 year ago
Player Ratings vs. Inter (24/3/13):

Abbiati: 7. 0
Made an amazing save when the result was still in Milan's favour, and at the same time pushed the ball far enough so no Inter players would get the rebound. No chance saving Schelotto's goal after the defensive lapse.

Abate: 6. 5
Did little in attack compared to De Sciglio, but didn't make any mistakes which were his strong suit in previous derbies. A good overall game.

Mexes: 6. 0
Misjudged the cross which ended up being a equalizing goal for Inter. Apart from that a solid game from him.

Zapata: 6. 5
Had some interceptions, one which lead to Milan scoring. Got to many crosses but not really put to test in this game.

De Sciglio: 8. 0
An all-round performance from him. Tortured Nagatomo with runs behind his back, should have gotten an assist but Balotelli couldn't convert the easy chance.

Muntari: 6. 0
Average game from him, seemed to be working hard but not effectively. Had a dangerous volley from 25-30 metres far, and that's about it.

Montolivo: 6. 5
A very good first half, seemed to be reading the game well and was the creative force once again. Had a quiet second half of the game.

Nocerino: 6. 0
Working hard as always but didn't make many contributions in attack. He had a dangerous cross in the second half.

Boateng: 6. 5
Not as good like in Barcelona game, had an assist to El Shaarawy though, so 6. 50 sounds about right.

Mario Balotelli: 5. 5
Had an abysmal game by his standars, failed to convert a couple of good chances. It si understandable since he was a target of MANY racial and offensive slurs.

El Shaarawy: 7. 5
His diagonal runs made much space on the left for De Sciglio as Nagatomo was forced to follow him. Cooly finished his one-on-one chance with a shot outside of his boot.

Substitutes:

Ambrosini: n/a
Brought on in dying minutes of the second half.

Niang: 5. 5
Had some nice moves but most of them led to losing possession far too easy.

Krkić: n/a
Not enough time to make an impact.

***motm: Mattia De Sciglio***
MarquinhoACM (AC Milan) 1 year ago
Game review vs. Inter (24/2/13):    Will be posted later in the week
Stefke951 (AC Milan) 1 year ago
Game Preview vs. Lazio (2/3/13):

Whoever wins this game takes a huge leap towards next seasons Champions League spot.

Expected lineups:

AC Milan (4-3-3):
Abbiati; Abate-Zapata-Yepes-De Sciglio; Flamini-Montolivo-Muntari; Boateng-Pazzini-El Shaarawy
Missing players: Philippe Mexes (suspended), Daniele Bonera, Kevin Constant, Nigel De Jong, Mario Balotelli and Bojan Krkić

Lazio (4-1-4-1):
Marchetti; Pereirinha-Biava-Dias-Radu; Ledesma; Candreva-Gonzalez-Hernanes-Lulić; Floccari
Missing players: Abdoulay Konko, Marius Stankevičius, Stefano Mauri, Christian Brocchi and Miroslav Klose

There are some doubts about Lazio starting right back, as Konko left the Pescara match early on and reports say it will be Pereirinha who starts in right back. Lazio haven't won in last 22 matches played at San Siro. Goalscorer in the last match between the two, Miro Klose is out for a while after having some problems with his knee couple of weeks ago. Lazio will undoubtedly imply a conservative approach to this game as a draw is more than a good result for them. Close defending and counter-attacking is what we'll probably see from them. Milan are without Balotelli, who was injured in the Derby and earlier today was given permission to leave Milanello but he decided to stay with the team to cheer them on. Mexes is suspended so Yepes is up for a starting role next to his Colombian bro, Zapata. Salamon has trained with the squad, even was tried out in 4 man defence alongside Zapa, but a lack of regular training and Serie A experience was what kept him out of starting 11. ’’We must win’’, words that inspire confidence between the fans of Milan and Allegri will surely be a fan favorite (not that he already isn't after Barca match) if he manages somehow to turn his words in action and secure us that vital 3rd spot, at least for a while. Although, after a dissapointing result in the Derby where he didn't cope well at all in the second half, anything is possible. It's a crucial game for both teams, which should result in a great match. Forza Milan!
MarquinhoACM (AC Milan) 1 year ago
Game review vs. Lazio (2/3/13):
Sorry, I've been swamped with college work and haven't been able to get around to writing the reviews. Hopefully I'll be able to get to them over the weekend and get all got up, again sorry for the delay
MarquinhoACM (AC Milan) 1 year ago
Game review vs. Genoa (8/3/13):

A supposedly easier match after the triple threat of Barcelona-Inter-Lazio, yet this is the game Milan struggled in the most, and perhaps due to being worn out in that triple threat. Let's dive in:

Defensively, Milan struggled.... A lot. Genoa had many shooting opportunities throughout the game and generally poised the threat that they could score at any time. Of course, they didn't, and that wasn't much about the defence as it was about Abbiati, who may be consistent at times, and sometimes show his world class abilities when it matters, like today. Stat wise, Milan showed very little. Zapata, the only CB who played the full 90 minutes, recorded only 2 tackles and 2 interceptions. Yepes on the other hand, had a team-high 4 tackles but 0 interceptions. Much of this was probably due to Constant's red card, which Milan sat back and defend the box, forcing Genoa to focus on longshots. Fortunately, Genoa were very poor at longshots and Abbiati covered anything that threatened.

Flamini was suburb in the midfield. He recorded a team-high 4 interceptions and 3 tackles, managed a 91% passing completion, and most of those were forward passes! He even had an opportunity or two at goal, if only he had a better first touch (one of them ended in him diving and earning a yellow card). It's been noted that Flamini has been looking like the old Flamini Milan wanted to sign from Arsenal in 2008. It's been a long and slow recovery from that ACL injury he picked up in 2010, but he's certainly return to what everyone wanted. Maybe it was his one-year extension and pay-cut that made him play the best he can, but he should definitely be a starter in that midfield.

Up top, Pazzini got a start during the time he should've been rested for the Barcelona game, and as if it's the usual injury bug karma that happens to Allegri, he picked up a knock and will not play at Camp Nou. But Pazzini made sure that he wasn't going down without a fight as he scored a beautiful one-time touch goal against the crossbar and in the goal. Right after that, Balotelli was brought in, who was also being rested due to an injury he picked up against Inter. This is another problem Allegri hasn't fixed since his arrival. He's forced players into matches without warning. Examples? Last season prior to the Barcelona quarterfinal match he pushed Silva into a game before where he picked up an injury that kept him out for a month. A time or two with pato being forced to play after coming from injury. And even this season, starting Bonera in the defence in his first game in months of injury, and he picked up another then! Fortunately for Milan, Balotelli is an extremely tough cookie and managed to go through the whole game without re-injuring his knee, even though he had a slow first half. He could have put in Robinho or Bojan into that role instead of Balotelli, but right now let's be happy there were no injuries (besides Pazzini). It'll be interesting to see how Allegri will line up against Barcelona now.



Stats provided by whoscored.com
Acmlt30 (AC Milan) 1 year ago
Player Ratings vs. Juventus (21/4/13)

Abbiati: 6. 0
Made a wonderful save from Pirlo’s freekick which took a wicked deflection. Forced off early in the first with an injury.

Constant: 6. 0
Decent performance but was troubled by the likes of Lichtsteiner on more than one occasion. Tried to get forward to aid the dull Milan attack in the second half.

Zapata: 6. 5
Strong performance in the first half as he kept Vucinic on a tight leash. Also made a vital challenge against Vucinic as the latter looked to put Juvenus ahead in a one-on-one situation. Solid at the back for the remainder of the match.

Mexes: 7. 0
Full of grit and determination as he looked to rally his teammates by pushing forward from the back with some inspiring runs. Strong in the tackle and covered a lot of ground in this match. It’s a shame his teammates did not share his passion on the night as the result could have been much different.

Abate: 5. 0
Broke forward on a few occasions in the first half and his delivery into the box created a few problems. Different story after the interval as his defensive lapse allowed Juventus to win a penalty and claim all three points.

Ambrosini: 5. 5
Lucky not to pick up a booking in the first half following a series of fouls. Was also forced off with injury and replaced by the ineffective Muntari.

Montolivo: 6. 0
Helped maintain possession in the first half with some neat and effective passing. He did however lack the final ball and Milan’s attack was impotent as a result.

Boateng: 6. 5
Restored to his more natural midfield role and was involved in the thick of things throughout most of the game. Battled hard in the middle and tried to create opportunities for the attack. Did not have his shooting boots on tonight however.

El-Shaarawy: 5. 5
Decent first half as he tested Buffon twice but completely anonymous in the second until the introduction of Bojan. Attempted his trademark cut-in from the left side on numerous occasions but was thwarted by the faultless Juventus backline.

Pazzini: 5. 5
Battled hard but barely had a sniff at goal. Did not receive much service from those around him in all honesty.

Robinho: 5. 0
Second successive poor performance as he failed to contribute anything at all. Gave away a dangerous free kick in the first half with an unnecessary handball and was lazy in possession for the remainder of his time on the pitch.
MarquinhoACM (AC Milan) 1 year ago
Game review vs. Catania (28/4/13):

With the season closing in, the race for European spots is getting tighter than ever. Fiorentina is only within 1 point of the 3rd and final champions league spot currently held by Milan and by the looks of it, this won't be decided until matchday #38. In a must-win scenario for the rest of the season, Milan hosted a darkhorse-for-Europa side in Catania, who have posed threats to the top clubs all season. Fortunately Milan were able to score 3 unanswered goals goals to take the lead and win the match. Let's dive into the analysis now....

Milan opened the game with high pressure and intensity, something that's been lacking for the team that trudged along the 3-week-menace of Fiorentina, Napoli, and Juventus. It was refreshing to see and also highly noticeable that it made a huge different as Milan had more than 10 quality opportunities to score a goal within the first 30 minutes. It's also worth noting that Catania plays a heavily defensive counter attack style of football and which is why the possession stat was 74%-26% in favor of Milan after the opening 30 minutes. Unfortunately for Milan, because of this high pressure and absurd amount of possession in the opponent's half, they were more open to counter attacks than ever before and Catania threatened a few times. Catania's first goal came against yet another set piece error as Bonera failed to mark Legrottaglie in which was an odd deja vu from the two's previous meetin earlier in the season. Fortunately for Milan, they were able to tie the score back up before halftime with a brilliant volley shot from Flamini, who played a great game after returning from his suspension. This makes it 3 goals in 3 games for Flamini and it's hard to say that he does not deserve a contract extension from the club after his surge in performance throughout the year, and in my mind, becoming Milan's most improved player this season.

2nd half rolls in and Milan are a bit more lackluster than how they came out in the first half, but still were searching for that game winning goal. Unfortunately, with a mistake in the midfield from Nocerino, Catania were able to score with a brilliant counter that ended with a goal from Bergessio. To me, there were two faults here. Bonera again comes under scrutinization for failing to step up with the rest of the defensive line and leaving Bergessio onside. Then there's also fault with Nocerino for mismanaging himself in the middle and losing possession of the ball that set up the counter. There has to be questions regarding Bonera's inclusion into the starting lineup. Not only is he coming back from injury, but this was his second time coming back from injury because he was injured from being rushed too soon by Allegri. Fortunately Bonera didn't get injured, but he also took blame in forfeiting two goals and that could be due to the lack of playing time he received this whole season because of his injuries. It would have made more sense to ease him back into the lineup, starting with a substitution in the second half or something along these lines. It also questions Allegri's ability to rotate a squad seeing as there was three other CBs who were available for picking: Zaccardo, Yepes, and Salamon, one of which came into the squad expecting at least some quality gametime and the other hoping for a chance to prove himself. Neither were satisfied however.

This also brings up Nocerino's performance. This was his first start since the derby della madonnina, which was way back mid February. He only made one substitute appearance (in the Fiorentina match) until the start against Catania and it's notable that his form has tremendously dipped since last season. He showed little reason for Milan to keep him around next season against Catania. It could be due to lack of games or something else, but it's apparent that the Nocerino who scored 10 goals last season isn't around anymore and that could be due to the lack of Ibrahimovic.

Finally, the last bit of this analysis is in regards to Pazzini's introduction into the game. Milan were down 1-2 before Pazzini was substituted in for Nocerino, and only a span of 10 minutes Pazzini was able to score a brace and lead Milan to victory. Much of this was due to Balotelli's outstanding performance throughout the match. Pazzini had said in interviews that he wanted to play alongside Balotelli and now we saw why. Pazzini is able to take advantage of Balotelli's longshots because they often rebound and Pazzini's positioning and poaching abilities are incomparable. Pippo once referred Pazzini to being his heir at Milan earlier this season, and just when Milan needed goals the most, Pazzini came in and did it ala Pippo style. A lot of people doubt that trade made by Milan when acquiring Pazzini, but it's now worth mentioning that he has 15 goals in the league and is only one behind our top goalscorer in El Shaarawy, which is a lot less than what most people expected from Pazzo. The connection between Balotelli and Pazzini is seemingly great and therefore there is no reason for Milan to ignore pairing the two together in the race for the final champions league spot.
Acmlt30 (AC Milan) 1 year ago
Player Ratings vs. Catania (28/4/13)

Amelia: 5. 5
Didn’t have a single save to make but conceded two goals.

Bonera: 5. 5
Poor defensive organization as Catania grabbed the lead following a set-piece. Caught out for Catania’s second as well.

Mexes: 6. 0
Made a few strong runs into the opposition half and looked solid defensively. However must take some blame for the second Catania goal as his weak challenge further up the field left him stranded.

Abate: 7. 0
Spent nearly the whole first half operating as a right winger and created a few good chances for his teammates. It was his delivery which led to Milan’s equalizer right at the stroke of half time. Continued to bomb forward for the majority of match, but like his defensive colleagues, he was caught out for Catania’s second goal.

De Sciglio: 5. 5
A subdued performance despite Milan dominating. Picked up a booking early in the match and didn’t venture forward to the same effect as Abate.

Nocerino: 5. 0
Careless in possession with some very wayward passing. Did nothing of note to prove himself worthy of a spot in the first team. Was unsurprisingly sacrificed for Pazzini as Milan looked to salvage the game.

Montolivo: 6. 5
Controlled the game in the middle of the park with some excellent visionary passing. Had a couple of cracks on goal and did well to setup El-Shaarawy on more than one occasion. Played a decisive role in the buildup to Milan’s third goal.

Flamini: 7. 0
Played his socks off tonight with plenty of passion and determination. Broke forward on numerous occasions and was rewarded with a fine goal to put Milan level just before the break. Three goals in his last three matches sums up his current form.

Boateng: 7. 0
Showed a great understanding with Balotelli particularly in the first half. Unlucky not to score a cracker as his shot rifled off the crossbar. Cleverly flicked the ball with his chest for Flamini to grab Milan’s first goal of the night.

El-Shaarawy: 6. 5
Will be disappointed as he wasted a few glorious chances to end his goal drought. However, he showed glimpses of his ability with some good runs on the left wing, particularly the one which led to a goalmouth scramble.

Balotelli: 7. 0
Cut a frustrated figure throughout the match as the Catania backline dished out some tough tackling. However, he held his cool for the most part, and showed some excellent skills when switched out to the left. Played a vital role in Pazzini’s first and then won and converted a penalty kick in the dying moments of the match.

Substitutes:

Pazzini: 7. 5
A predatory double within the space of two minutes rescued the match for Milan. Showed plenty of energy and desire coming off the bench.

Muntari: 6. 0
Sent in to shore up the midfield and did his job well enough. Played his part in setting up Balotelli’s penalty.

Niang: NA

***motm*** Giampaolo Pazzini



   
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