Milan On Song As Pato Plays His Tune
Milan didn't have much trouble in dealing with Zurich in the UEFA Cup first round first leg. Marek Jankulovski, Alexandre Pato and Marco Borriello all got onto the score sheet before Djuric pulled one back. Nevertheless, Il Diavolo are up and running...
A comfortable win for Milan sees them with one foot into the group stages. The Rossoneri were comfortable all night and three absolutely stunning goals did the business.
Milan are a different side in Europe and they looked nothing like the team which has been so poor domestically.
Carlo Ancelotti decided to go with Alexandre Pato and Andriy Shevchenko up front with Ronaldinho having to watch from the bench.
As expected, it was Milan who did the early pressing. Pato looked lively and he should have given his side the lead within five minutes when he latched onto Marek Jankulovski’s cross but his header was off target. The home side looked fresh and hungry with Zurich providing the odd threat sparingly.
The Swiss side had their first real chance when Kaladze fouled Alphonse. Djuric took the swinging free kick but the Rossoneri defence was ready as Jankulovski ensured the danger was dealt with.
It was then Milan’s turn for a set piece down the other end as Kaka was the victim of Challandes challenge. Jankulovski argued with Seedorf over the free kick but the Czech Republic star must have wished he left reposibilities with the Dutchman as his free kick hit row z.
Seconds later, Jankulovski made up for his mistake as he swung a pin point cross into Shevchenko who tried the Spectacular overhead kick but Leoni was equal to it. It was a sublime effort from the Ukrainian who rolled back the years with his outrageous attempt.
Milan were fully in control and the away side never looked like scoring. The defence was hardly troubled which allowed Jankulovski to lend his support up front. Mathieu Flamini was excellent in the middle and the Sheva – Pato partnership was working wonders as the Rossoneri put on a show for the San Siro crowd. The only thing missing was a goal as Il Diavolo huffed and puffed.
Time and again Milan were causing problems but a lack of cynicism and some poor finishing up front saw the scores stay level as the half wore on. Seedorf’s cleverly worked free kick almost did the trick had Kaladze remained onside.
The home side kept coming and they showed Zurich a master class in passing as Kaka, Seedorf, Ambrosini and Flamini combined magnificently with some stunning one touch passing which opened the door for Pato but he couldn’t find the right finish. Il Diavolo were always growing in stature and Kaka tried to take things into his own hands. The Brazilian unleashed a fierce drive but Leoni was relieved to see it go the other side of the far post.
Shevchenko had Milan’s best chance as he wriggled through the defence but he saw his effort come back off the cross bar. Soon after, the San Siro was silent, albeit for 30 seconds though. Zurich had the ball into the back of the net after Stahel headed Abdi’s free kick under Dida but the goal was disallowed for offside.
The goal ejected Carlo Ancelotti off his seat like a rocket and he was screaming, shouting and dancing around but soon realised the linesman’s flag was raised. Adriano Galliani was watching from the stands with his beady eye and he was visibily uncomfortable watching his side.
Milan finally took a deserved lead on the stroke of half time as Kaka’s magical ball found Shevchenko but it wasn’t the Ukrainian who scored. His left foot drive came back off Leoni but Jankulovski, who had been excellent, was on hand to follow up with a half volley which rifled into the back of the net, beating the ‘Keeper at his near post.
Milan began where they had left off and it was Ambrosini’s turn to try his luck. The midfielder latched onto Kaka’s pass and smashed a super effort towards goal. Power, swerve but no accuracy as it whizzed past the post. The Rossoneri were always on the gas and they never took their foot off the pedal.
Milan were in firm control of the game as they kept on creating chance after chance. However they were rather fortunate not to concede following Djuric’s long throw which somehow bounced off Dida’s far post. The keeper gathered after a fumble.
Kaka was outstanding and he dragged the team forward. He won a free kick 30 yards from goal with both Pato and Seedorf eager to shoot. Responsibilities were shared and the Dutchman released the ball for the ‘Duck’, who rifled it into the top corner to double his side’s lead. The goal was off the highest quality. Leoni hardly moved.
The second goal was fully deserved as Il Diavolo continued to come forward. Zurich’s chances were few and far between as Ancelotti’s team dominated the affair. Milan held onto the ball well and worked their opponents hard. Seedorf squared it to Shevchenko who knocked it to Borriello. The hit-man saw his opening and didn’t need a second invitation to pick his spot as he finished beautifully into the bottom corner with a powerful drive.
Djuric grabbed one back for his side and it was something out of nothing. Zurich had hardly come close all game but then a bolt from the blue beat Dida. The goal was similar to the one Pato scored for Milan earlier. The Rossoneri held on to take a well deserved win and take some pressure off their coach.
Milan: Dida, Antonini, Bonera, Kaladze, Jankulovski, Flamini, Seedorf, Ambrosini(Emerson), Kaka, Pato(Borriello), Shevchenko(Ronaldinho).
Zurich: Leoni, Stucki, Tihinen, Challandes, Aegerter, Okonkwo, Djuric, Abdi, Alphonse, Hassli(Nikci).
Goals: Jankulovski (Milan), Pato(Milan), Borriello(Milan).