Saturday, March 15, 2008

Serie A Week 28:Roma 2 - 1 Milan

Serie A Week 28 - 15/3/08 (19.30 UK)
Roma 2 - 1 Milan
Kaka 56 (M), Giuly 78 (R), Vucinic 81 (R)
Stadio Olimpico


Ludovic Giuly and Mirko Vucinic overturned Kaka's goal in three minutes for Roma's 2-1 victory over Milan.

There was a great deal at stake at the Olimpico, as the Giallorossi needed to keep up the pressure on Inter and the visitors had to maintain their race for a top four finish. Gennaro Gattuso returned from suspension, but Alessandro Nesta, Nelson Dida, Serginho, Marek Jankulovski, Ronaldo, Pippo Inzaghi and former Roma hero Marcos Cafu didn't make the trip. This meant Carlo Ancelotti - an ex-Giallorossi hero as a player - was able to field a Christmas Tree formation.

Christian Panucci performed a perfectly-timed challenge to tackle Kaka in the box, while Giuseppe Favalli had to clear for a corner when a dangerous Amantino Mancini cross found the Milan defence unprepared.

Zeljko Kalac's poor clearance was straight at Simone Perrotta and risked giving away a goal, but 30 seconds later Alexandre Pato's chipped cross was just too high for Clarence Seedorf.

The first real chance was on 25 minutes when De Rossi's cross was flicked on by Totti and Mancini's acrobatic scissor-kick was over the bar. Moments later Milan threatened too, as Seedorf went past two defenders and Alexandre Doni plucked Kaka's header out of the air.

Totti found space from nine yards on a chipped Rodrigo Taddei pass over the defence, but flashed his shot across the face of goal.

Seedorf dribbled past four defenders to enter the area, but eventually Taddei managed to cut off his path as the last man with a crucial intervention. Kaka nodded a Favalli cross wide of the far post.

Totti rolled back for the unmarked David Pizarro, but his scuffed shot and a Juan attempted deflection were off target.

Max Tonetto's cross from the left was a couple of inches too high for Totti to connect a header from six yards in first half stoppages. At the half-time whistle Totti and Luciano Spalletti were furious, as a corner was halted for an irregularity.

Straight after the restart Seedorf slipped a pass through the crowd of defenders for Kaka, but the Brazilian had a powerful effort parried from seven yards by one strong Doni hand.

Moments later Doni was again called into action with a low one-handed save at the near post on Seedorf, as Milan were far more aggressive in the second half.

Milan were piling on the pressure and opened the scoring on 56 minutes. Massimo Oddo had acres of space down the right channel to run onto Andrea Pirlo's pass and crossed for Kaka to smash under the bar from eight yards with the inside of his left foot.

Totti had a great chance to equalise, but the move was halted for an evident handling offence.

The Rossoneri really should have been 2-0 up on the hour mark. Seedorf combined brilliantly with Pato and the Dutchman squirmed past Doni, but lost his footing from that challenge and Cicinho was able to get back for a goalline clearance.

Ludovic Giuly and Mirko Vucinic were introduced to spice up the Roma attack, but Milan kept pushing and Pirlo's pass over the defence found Kaka totally unmarked for a half-volley that Doni palmed over the bar.

Zeljko Kalac smothered a Vucinic snapshot, but on the counter Pato skipped past Juan and jumped over Doni, earning only a booking for simulation. Emerson replaced Seedorf and was greeted with jeers by the Roma crowd, as he had left the club controversially to join rivals Juventus.

Totti's backheel sent Vucinic clear and he fired over, while Pato selfishly went for goal.

Roma equalised in chaotic circumstances 12 minutes from time. The ball ricocheted around and Perrotta eventually managed to thread a pass through for the utterly unmarked Giuly to volley in from eight yards.

Paolo Maldini's challenge prevented Perrotta from giving them the lead 60 seconds later, but Vucinic turned the game around completely! He sprung the offside trap on a De Rossi ball from the right to slide an angled drive past Kalac.

It wasn't over yet and Totti's lob was just too wide and it was end to end stuff in these final minutes. There was more bad news for the Rossoneri, as Kaka pulled up with lower back pain, something that has been troubling him for some time.

Kalac saved from Giuly and Totti didn't get enough power to a header from Vucinic's cross, but in stoppages Milan players were queuing up and couldn't make contact with Oddo and Pirlo crosses, as Alberto Gilardino took it off Alberto Paloschi's head. The last kick of the game was a Pirlo free kick over the bar.


Roma: Doni; Cicinho, Panucci, Juan, Tonetto; De Rossi, Pizarro (Giuly 62); Taddei (Aquilani 72), Perrotta, Mancini (Vucinic 56); Totti

Milan: Kalac; Oddo, Maldini, Kaladze, Favalli; Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini (Gilardino 85); Kakà (Paloschi 87), Seedorf (Emerson 72); Pato

Ref: Rizzoli

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