Sunday, March 9, 2008

Serie A Week 27:Empoli 1 - 3 Milan

Serie A Week 27 - 9/3/08 (14.00 UK)
Empoli 1 - 3 Milan
Pato 19 (M), Busce' 24 (E), Ambrosini 85 (M), Kaka 89 (M)
Stadio Castellani


Milan are back in business, but needed two goals in the last five minutes to see off Empoli.

The Champions League exit to Arsenal left the Rossoneri with only fourth place to aim for, but were coming off three draws in four games. They were without Pippo Inzaghi, Clarence Seedorf, Marek Jankulovski, Nelson Dida, Serginho, Marcos Cafu and the suspended Gennaro Gattuso. Empoli had lost their last two on the trot and were missing banned Davide Moro and Lino Marzoratti, but had beaten Milan at San Siro in Week 8.

Sebastian Giovinco wanted a penalty for Massimo Ambrosini's early shoulder-charge, while at the other end Kaka and Alexandre Pato combined well with the youngster's shot beaten away by Davide Bassi.

Milan took the lead in curious circumstances. Bassi's howler as he went to grab a cross saw him clatter into Alberto Gilardino and drop the ball to a grateful Pato.

Gila should have made it 2-0, but completely missed Kaka's cutback from eight yards.

Only a few minutes later Empoli were level again. Luca Antonini's cross went past everyone to reach the unmarked Antonio Busce' at the back post. Alberto Malesani took the opportunity to protest with the referee about the earlier incident and was sent off.

Gilardino hit the back of the net on Yoann Gourcuff's pass over the defence, but it was correctly disallowed for an offside flag. The former Parma striker was onside this time, but his weak lob was straight at Bassi after Andrea Pirlo's pass over the defence.

Moments later Francesco Pratali was left unmarked to fire a corner kick over from six yards. Empoli's tails were up and Luca Saudati flashed a shot across the face of goal after Davide Marchini's through ball.

Abate was allowed all the space he wanted to blast over from the edge of the box and Kaka required treatment for a shoulder problem after he tested Bassi.

Empoli threatened to take the lead on the stroke of half-time, but Saudati turned past the near post from close range on Busce's assist.

Carlo Ancelotti made two changes at the break and it seemed to wake them up, as Bassi smothered a Pato diving header from six yards and then Gilardino's header looped over the bar.

Empoli were only denied by the woodwork when Marchisio was given plenty of space to unleash a right-foot snapshot on to the upright from 25 metres.

18-year-old Alberto Paloschi replaced the disappointing Gilardino for the final minutes.

Pato fired a left-foot strike over the bar from the edge of the box, but five minutes from time Kaka chipped up a cross to the eight yard mark where Massimo Ambrosini's looping header beat Bassi.

Kaka should have put the game beyond doubt when running the entire length of the pitch, but opted to go for glory rather than pass to Pirlo.

The Brazilian made up for it moments later. Pato went on the counter and Paloschi rolled back to the D for Kaka to control and sweep low into the bottom corner with the inside of his right foot.


Empoli: Bassi; Raggi (Tosto 63), Piccolo, Pratali, Antonini; Abate (Marianini 51), Buscè, Marchisio, Budel; Giovinco (Giacomazzi 57); Saudati

Milan: Kalac; Oddo (Bonera 46), Maldini, Kaladze, Favalli; Gourcuff (Brocchi 46), Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kakà; Pato, Gilardino (Paloschi 79)

Ref: Farina

Channel 4