Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wk28: Pippo hits third century

Serie A Week 28 - 15/3/09 (14.00 UK)
Siena 1 - 5 Milan
Pirlo pen 7 (M), Inzaghi 45, 71 (M), Pato 55, 77 (M), Maccarone 62 (S)
Stadio Franchi

Milan demolished Siena 5-1 with Pippo Inzaghi celebrating his 300th professional goal, but there's bad injury news for Christian Abbiati and Kaka.

The Rossoneri got back on track with last week's 3-0 victory over Atalanta, but were still under pressure for third place. The injury crisis was starting to calm, as Kaka and Ronaldinho were back on the bench, but Clarence Seedorf, Daniele Bonera, Gennaro Gattuso, Kakha Kaladze, Marco Borriello and Alessandro Nesta were out. David Beckham therefore started in a trequartista role for the second game running.

Last weekend Siena also ended a six-match winless streak by conquering Catania, but had only ever beaten Milan once here in 2005 and lost three. Robur missed the suspended Daniele Galloppa.

After six minutes the referee ointed to the spot as Houssine Kharja clumsily clattered into Mathieu Flamini for a penalty. Andrea Pirlo converted coolly right into the corner despite Gianluca Curci guessing the right angle.

Moments later Milan were forced into a substitution, as Giuseppe Favalli accidentally clashed with Christian Abbiati and the goalkeeper came out with the worst of it with a suspected fracture. Nelson Dida came off the bench for his Serie A debut this season.

Favalli charged down Kharja's header and Flamini nodded a Beckham free kick off target. Dida captured Maccarone's effort and Simone Vergassola volleyed over from six yards.

In stoppages Vergassola wanted a penalty for a Marek Jankulovski handling offence, but the defender's arm was across his chest and so it could not have been a penalty.

Milan went into the break 2-0 up, as a Beckham corner found Pippo Inzaghi's left-foot volley from five yards. The Siena defence left him too much space and that was his 299th goal as a professional.

Kaka replaced Massimo Ambrosini for the second half in his first appearance since February 7, moving Beckham back to his usual position. Emanuele Calaio' put the ball in the back of the net, but was flagged offside.

Pato put a third cherry on the Milan cake with a fantastic strike. The youngster gathered from almost 30 metres and unleashed an unstoppable rocket into the top corner. It was similar to a goal the teenager scored in the UEFA Cup earlier this season.

Kaka should've had a fourth, but ballooned over from close range! He was totally unmarked from seven yards in front of an open goal and fired over.

Siena pulled one back with former Milan youth product Maccarone, whose angled drive from the edge of the box flashed across Dida towards the far bottom corner.

Inzaghi hit his third century, his 300th goal as a professional football player, and celebrated with a specially-prepared shirt. He ran on to Pirlo's through ball and did not hesitate to slot it past Curci at the near post.

There was bad news too, as Kaka got a knock to the ankle and limped off just 25 minutes into his comeback, making way for Ronaldinho.

Pato scored Milan's fifth in curious circumstances, as the goalkeeper came rushing out and was caught out by the young Brazilian, who went round him to slot into an empty net.

Inzaghi wet close to a hat-trick, but Siena really should've scored when Kharja's cross flashed across the face of goal with both Maccarone and Amoruso unable to get the final touch. Paul Codrea thumped the crossbar from outside the box, as Siena refused to give in.

Beckham almost got on the scoresheet with the final kick of the game, but drilled inches over from Pato's assist.


Siena: Curci; Zuniga, Portanova, Brandao (Ficagna 48), Del Grosso; Vergassola, Codrea, Barusso, Kharja; Maccarone, CalaiĆ² (Amoruso 70)

Milan: Abbiati (Dida 12); Zambrotta, Maldini, Favalli, Jankulovski; Flamini, Pirlo, Ambrosini (Kaka 46) (Ronaldinho 72); Beckham; Inzaghi, Pato

Ref: Ayroldi
Channel 4