Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wk1: Bologna stun Dinho's boys

Serie A Week 1 - 31/8/08 (14.00 UK)
Milan 1 - 2 Bologna
Di Vaio 18 (B), Ambrosini 42 (M), Valiani 79 (B)
Stadio San Siro

Ronaldinho impressed on his Serie A debut, but it was Bologna who emerged with a 2-1 victory at San Siro!

All eyes were on Dinho's Serie A debut and his first game in a Rossoneri jersey, as he missed pre-season friendlies so he could pick up a bronze medal with Brazil at the Olympics. Carlo Ancelotti also had Andriy Shevchenko back two years after the £30m move to Chelsea, but Kaka, Marco Borriello, Philippe Senderos, Gennaro Gattuso and Alessandro Nesta were injured with Daniele Bonera banned.

It was a tough task for newly promoted Bologna, who nonetheless wanted to rain on Milan's parade on their return to Serie A after three years. Curiously, they had won their last trip to San Siro 1-0 in January 2005.

This was effectively the first time the new Rossoneri squad had played together in the Christmas Tree formation and the atmosphere at a sold-out San Siro was electric. In the opening minute, Ronaldinho threaded through for Pippo Inzaghi and a defender had to rush to clear.

Dinho drilled wide, but Bologna were dangerous too with Christian Abbiati smothering Martins Adailton's angled drive. Ronaldinho went to head a Clarence Seedorf cross when Inzaghi was better positioned straight behind him.

However, it was another summer signing who scored the first goal at San siro - Bologna's Marco Di Vaio. It was a well-worked move, finalised by a Di Vaio angled drive into the far corner from 10 yards.

Inzaghi sprung the offside trap on Andrea Pirlo's ball over the top, but couldn't get enough power to the ball. Seedorf's first touch let him down on Dinho's pass on the counter-attack, then the Brazilian headed a Gianluca Zambrotta cross straight at Francesco Antonioli.

On 35 minutes Inzaghi combined delightfully with Ronaldinho, but when the Italian went round Antonioli the angle was too narrow and he could only hit the side-netting.

Antonioli parried a Mathieu Flamini screamer from 30 metres, but there was a lot of space at the back and Di Vaio drilled another angled drive just wide on the counter.

However, Milan recovered from that scare to equalise. Ronaldinho gathered a Pirlo cross-field pass and floated the ball to the back post for Massimo Ambrosini's towering header from six yards.

Shevchenko made his comeback two years after the £30m move to Chelsea and was given a warm welcome by the fans. He replaced Marek Jankulovski, moving Flamini to right-back in a very attack-minded 4-2-3-1 formation.

Ronaldinho and Zambrotta combined down the left flank and a pass to the back post was inches away from Seedorf for a tap-in. The new system was working well and Dinho's cheeky dribble in the box set up Inzaghi to force a point-blank save from Antonioli.

Another Dinho chipped pass was this time just wide for Shevchenko. A great move saw Pirlo's long pass find Ronaldinho to cross for Sheva and Antonioli came racing out to narrow the angle and turn the ball past the upright with his foot.

Inzaghi nodded another Ronaldinho cross straight at the Bologna goalkeeper, but for all the pressure Bologna were still in it and Di Vaio skimmed the crossbar with a fierce effort.

Alexandre Pato replaced Inzaghi and created a great chance for Sheva that was closed down by Moras. Milan wanted a penalty for a handling offence, but the referee waved play on.

Incredibly, Bologna sustained the pressure and struck again on the counter to restore their lead! Valiani unleashed a fearsome right-foot strike into the near top corner despite Abbiati getting a fingertip to it! Milan were stunned, as they had dominated the second half and peppered the Rossoblu box with chances.


Milan: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Maldini, Kaladze, Jankulovski (Shevchenko 46); Flamini, Pirlo, Ambrosini (Emerson 85); Seedorf, Ronaldinho; Inzaghi (Pato 69)

Bologna: Antonioli; Zenoni, Moras, Terzi, Bombardini (Castellini 88); Mingazzini, Volpi; Adailton (Marazzina 60), Amoroso (Mudingayi 60), Valiani; Di Vaio

Ref: Orsato

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