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The Archive

November 2008

UEFA Cup: Portsmouth 2:2 AC Milan - match report
28.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Kaboul 62 (P), Kanu 73 (P), Ronaldinho 84 (M), Inzaghi 92 (M)

Pippo Inzaghi equalised for Milan with the last kick of the game to secure a thrilling 2-2 draw with Portsmouth and book a place in the third round.

While Milan had two wins from their first two games, Portsmouth were determined to bounce back from a 3-0 thrashing against Braga.

Carlo Ancelotti gave Kaka a run with a Serie A suspension looming, while Andriy Shevchenko and Pippo Inzaghi led the line.

Portsmouth were spurred on by a capacity crowd on a cold and wet night in Hampshire.

The English side made a frenetic start to the game but neither side were able to put together any cohesive movement.

Richard Huges, who started his career at Atalanta and is a Milan fan, was booked for a very late and reckless challenge on Mathieu Flamini.

Flamini won another free-kick from Papa Bouba Diop and Milan so nearly went ahead. Shevchenko's 30-yard free-kick bounced off the wall and fell to Inzaghi, but his scuffed shot hit the post and went into David James' arms.

Nwankwo Kanu's magnificent crossfield ball found Peter Crouch, but the gangly marksman fluffed his shot, much to manager Tony Adams' frustration.

Shevchenko chested the ball down in the Pompey box, but he lashed his shot wide of the target.

The Rossoneri back line looked vulnerable from a searching cross, but Crouch headed against Philippe Senderos' back.

Gennaro Gattuso's pass found Inzaghi, who delicately chipped James but his strike clipped the bar and landed on the roof of the net.

Kaka didn't seem to be himself and he volleyed the ball into Row Z, to the delight of the home supporters.

Glen Johnson's searching ball evaded Dida, but the 'keeper managed to catch Crouch's header back from the by-line when the England international may have been better off going for goal.

Despite the enthusiasm of the fans, there was very little to report in the way of goalmouth action in the opening period.

Johnson broke down the right and put over a cross but Crouch headed high over the bar at the near post. Soon after, Johnson swang another bal over but Crouch's ambitious overhead kick was sliced.

Milan started the second half the stronger and James was called upon to push away a Kaka shot. Sheva also had a shy to no avail.

Kanu crossed for Crouch, but the ball fell to Glen Little who hit the side-netting - some Portsmouth fans thought it was in.

Portsmouth failed to clear a corner and Kaka picked up the ball. James fumbled the Brazilian's deflected cross as he ran into Papa Bouba Diop but the hosts cleared the ball.

But Portsmouth went ahead when Kanu played the ball to Johnson to cross for Younes Kaboul to push aside Senderos and head past Dida and send the crowd wild.

The home supporters called for a penalty when Gianluca Zambrotta tackled Kanu on the edge of the box, but nothing was given.

Portsmouth made it 2-0 as Johnson skipped past two challenges to feed Kanu, who made no mistake from close range.

Ancelotti rolled the dice with just over a quarter of an hour to play and threw on Alexandre Pato and Ronaldinho for Kaka and Shevchenko.

Inzaghi' clipped the post for a third time with a diving header as Milan poured forward to try and save the game.

Johnson brought down Ronaldinho on the very edge of the area with seven minutes left and Dinho produced a textbook free-kick to reduce the deficit.

Luca Antonini saw his shot from 25 yards deflected for a corner as Milan laid siege to the Pompey goal.

And Milan completed a Great Escape when Inzaghi's luck in front of goal finally changed in the 92nd minute!

Super Pippo ran on to a lofted Zambrotta through ball, controlled perfectly and beat James for 2-2 at the death to send Milan through to the next round!

Portsmouth: James; Johnson, Kaboul, Distin, Belhadj; Little Bouba Diop, Traore, Hughes; Crouch, Kanu (Davis 81)

Milan: Dida; Zambrotta, Senderos, Favalli, Antonini; Flamini, Emerson, Gattuso (Seedorf 66), Kaka (Pato 74); Shevchenko (Ronaldinho 74), Inzaghi

Ref: Gumienny (Bel)

Nocerino prepares AC Milan challenge
28.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Nocerino has warned a Kaka-less Milan to expect a serious challenge from Palermo this weekend.

The Rossoneri are in action in the UEFA Cup this evening as they travel to Portsmouth.

And they won't have long to recover before they have to board a plane for Sicily to take on Palermo at the Stadio Renzo Barbera on Sunday night.

“We are focused and ready to take on the strongest opponents in Serie A,” Palermo midfielder Nocerino stressed.

“On Sunday it won't be a battle between Gennaro Gattuso and myself, but a contest between Milan and Palermo.

“We will need to be very determined and to show a great level of concentration.

“Against a team like the Diavolo if you switch off for one moment they will punish you.”

Milan will be weakened by the loss of Brazilian ace Kaka, who is suspended after picking up four bookings.

“It could be a problem for them because he is a fundamental player,” Nocerino said.

“For us, it makes little difference because they have so many champions and we will approach the game the same way.

“It's never easy to play Milan, but this is a chance for us. We have to show how good we are as players and we will be very motivated.”

Galliani rejects Gallas talk
28.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has laughed off rumours that Arsenal defender William Gallas will move to San Siro in January.

There were reports in the Italian Press this morning that the Rossoneri are lining up a winter swoop for unsettled Arsenal ace Gallas.

With Alessandro Nesta plagued by injury, Milan's defence is lacking depth and Gallas has been touted as an attractive option.

“Gallas? We won't be making any signings in January and we are only thinking about tomorrow's UEFA Cup clash,” Galliani claimed on Datasport.it.

“What matters now is that we continue our form in Europe after picking up six points in the last two games.

“There will be changes in the team tomorrow night, but every player in our squad is important and so I don't think we will struggle on the pitch.”

AC Milan to go for Gallas?
28.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are reports that Milan will restructure their defence by adding William Gallas as well as Thiago Silva.

The Rossoneri are on impressive form, but they haven't fully addressed the problem of their ageing back line.

The Diavolo are known to be interested in luring Brazilian defensive ace Silva in the summer and may have to fight city rivals Inter for the Fluminense man's signature.

But the outgoing world champions can't negotiate for Silva until the summer as they have reached their quota of non-EU players and it seems they also have a new target.

Gallas has been stripped of the captaincy at Arsenal after publicly criticising his teammates and his relationship with boss Arsene Wenger is at its lowest ebb.

The Guardian believes that the French international will move to Ligue 1 side PSG, but the capital club wouldn't be able to pay his wages.

However, Milan would be able to manage Gallas' £3.3m salary and could see him as a replacement for the injury-hit Alessandro Nesta.

The two clubs spoke regularly in the summer when Mathieu Flamini and Philippe Senderos moved to San Siro and relations are said to be good.

Should Milan fail to agree a deal for Gallas, they may turn to Villarreal's Uruguayan stopper Diego Godin.

Maldini skips Portsmouth trip
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Paolo Maldini and Marek Jankulovski will not make the UEFA Cup trip to Portsmouth, but Kaka could well feature.

The two defenders have not been named in the squad travelling to Fratton Park on Thursday due to minor fitness concerns.

Marco Borriello also misses out, as he continues the recovery process from s muscular strain, but Massimo Ambrosini and Philippe Senderos do return.

Kaka was likely to be rested for this match, but he could well feature because he will not be able to take to the field at the weekend.

A booking picked up in the final minute of the 2-2 draw at Torino means the reigning European and World Player of the Year will be suspended.

He'll miss the Serie A encounter with Palermo and therefore could be given the chance to enjoy the Portsmouth atmosphere.

Milan squad: Abbiati, Dida, Kalac, Antonini, Bonera, Darmian, Favalli, Kaladze, Senderos, Zambrotta, Ambrosini, Emerson, Flamini, Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf, Inzaghi, Kaka, Pato, Shevchenko, Ronaldinho.

Kaladze in line for Farina fine
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan defender Kakha Kaladze faces disciplinary action for his criticism of referee Stefano Farina.

Farina angered the Rossoneri by awarding a controversial penalty for handball against Kaladze in last Sunday's 2-2 draw with Torino.

The respected official also waved away appeals for a Diavolo spot-kick for a foul on Ronaldinho.

Immediately after the game, Kaladze joined boss Carlo Ancelotti in raging at Farina and insisted that, “he doesn't know the rules.”

Although the Georgian international backed down following Vice-President Adriano Galliani's condemnation of his comments, he still faces punishment.

Kaladze and Milan are set for a hefty fine, but any further implications are unlikely and the defender isn't facing a suspension.

Reports: Thiago Silva wants AC Milan
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan and Inter continue to jostle for the services of Brazilian ace Thiago Silva, but the player has allegedly set his heart on the Rossoneri.

The 24-year-old central defender currently plays for Brazilian outfit Fluminense, but is a target for a host of top European sides.

There are rumours that Inter already have a pre-contract with the in-demand Selecao star and are ready to complete an £8m swoop, even though Silva's contract is set to expire in the New Year.

However, Milan have also expressed their interest and it has been suggested that Silva would rather wear the Diavolo jersey.

The Rio de Janeiro native is very close to Kaka and Ronaldinho and has reportedly stressed that he would love to play alongside them.

One major stumbling block for Milan is that they can't sign any more non-EU players during this season and they would have to try and delay the deal until next summer.

Kaladze offers Farina apology
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan defender Kakha Kaladze has apologised for criticising referee Stefano Farina last night.

The Rossoneri could only muster a disappointing 2-2 draw with Torino, but the game turned on some contentious refereeing.

While Ronaldinho's penalty appeals were waved away, Torino were awarded a spot-kick for a dubious handball decision against Kaladze, who blasted Farina claiming “he doesn't know the rules.”

Vice-President Adriano Galliani condemned Kaladze's statement earlier today and now the Georgian international has issued a retraction.

“I am very sorry for my reaction on Sunday night,” Kaladze told Milan's website.

“Without a doubt it was the result of post-match tension. I would like to clarify that I only criticised the referee from a technical point of view.”

Pato defends AC Milan efforts
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Brazilian starlet Alexandre Pato feels Milan can be pleased with their performance despite dropping points away to Torino.

Carlo Ancelotti's side came from behind to lead 2-1 until Alessandro Rosina levelled with a debatable penalty.

Controversy raged as Ronaldinho also felt he should have had a spot-kick, but referee Stefano Farina waved away appeals.

“I'm really disappointed,” Pato said. “I'm gutted not only because we didn't win, but because the referee didn't give the penalty on Ronaldinho.

“We have picked up one point instead of three and have fallen behind in the Scudetto race.

“However, we still managed to create many chances. I tried my best but I could only score one goal.

“Nonetheless, we played really well this is the road that we need to continue down if we are to win the title.”

Kaladze: It was no penalty
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan defender Kakha Kaladze was left fuming after giving away a costly, debatable penalty against Torino.

The Rossoneri battled back from a goal down to lead the Granata 2-1 in Turin last night, but they were denied three crucial points when Alessandro Rosina converted a spot-kick given for handball.

“There was absolutely no penalty,” the Georgian star raged.

“I controlled the ball with my thigh and it hit my hand, it was accidental.

“Perhaps the referee doesn't know the rules because if the ball comes off a player's body and hits his hand it isn't a penalty. We all know that.”

Last night's slip-up has left Milan three points behind city rivals Inter with a testing trip to Palermo looming next weekend.

Ancelotti: Read the rules!
24.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti decided to give the referee a refresher course on handling offence rules, but also told off Milan for dropping another lead.

“I don't want to comment on the referee, I just want to say that the rules we went over with the officials in the summer are that when the ball takes a deflection off another part of the body first, then it cannot be considered a voluntary handling offence.”

The Rossoneri were leading 2-1 when Alessandro Rosina's effort ricocheted off Kakha Kaladze's thigh and on to his arm for a penalty.

It was a similar incident to earlier in the half, when Ronaldinho's shot was charged down by Francesco Pratali's arm, but that time no action was taken.

“That Pratali one looks like a penalty to me. But again, I don't want to comment on the referee.

“We are accustomed to playing in a very attacking way, although we could have been more compact once we took the lead and given Torino less chance to pressure us,” he said after the 2-2 draw.

“We still had plenty of opportunities to go 3-1 up, but the only real fault was allowing Toro to pin us back.”

The costly late equaliser means Milan have drawn their last two away games after taking the lead.

“I think we are playing good football right now by using our characteristics of possession and close-passing. What we are lacking is the ability to win games that we have played well. It happened at Lecce and again here, so we've got to learn how to control the tempo more when we are in the lead.

“It became end-to-end stuff and the game was too open considering the scoreline and it wasn't ideal for us to keep giving Torino so many counter-attacks.”

Andrea Pirlo made his comeback seven weeks after suffering a serious calf strain and played for 74 minutes.

“Pirlo had been out for two months, so his performance was splendid, sharp and the team benefited from his invention.”

Ronaldinho curled in a fantastic free kick for his sixth Serie A goal of the season. With Pirlo back to full fitness and David Beckham arriving in January, Milan will have an extraordinary range of set piece specialists.

“They'll have to pull straws to decide who takes it! Ronaldinho scored a great goal and has been playing consistently, so I don't think we need to say we're waiting for him anymore. He has arrived.”

The same cannot be said of Andriy Shevchenko, who only played the final minutes in his sixth appearance of the campaign.

“Shevchenko has worked very well recently and is ready to give his contribution. There will be more games in the coming period and everyone will get their chance,” assured Ancelotti.

Pirlo returns for AC Milan
24.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti welcomes Andrea Pirlo back after two months and reveals he could start the match against Torino.

The Milan midfielder has been out of action since picking up a thigh strain on September 16, but is finally ready for his comeback.

“He could even be in the starting XI,” revealed Ancelotti in today's Press conference. “Rino [Gattuso] has done well in his place, but Andrea has crucial characteristics for us, such as his ability to place long passes.”

It will be interesting to see how Pirlo fits into the team now that they have found form playing without him in their system.

Kaka is also fit to start despite international duty with Brazil midweek and Gianluca Zambrotta returns.

It is hoped with Pirlo's presence the strikers can improve their scoring rate, especially Andriy Shevchenko, who has barely featured since the move from Chelsea.

“We have rotated the squad and this had an effect on the individual scoring record of the players,” insisted the Coach.

“In my view Sheva has reached a good level of fitness and is ready for a match at the top level. Unfortunately we are in a team that has a very high level of competition.”

He could get his chance against Torino on Sunday evening, where the Rossoneri hope to avoid a costly draw like the ones away to Cagliari and Lecce.

“We must continue to play well on our travels, but certainly with a different result. Those draws were because we met two teams who at that moment were in great shape.

“Torino must not be underestimated either, as they are a passionate side and their fans will fill the stadium.”

Torino 2:2 AC Milan - match report
24.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Stellone 25 (T), Pato 29 (M), Ronaldinho 34 (M), Rosina pen 77 (T)

Milan saw victory snatched from them by a controversial late penalty as they were held 2-2 away to Torino despite Ronaldinho's splendid free kick.

The Rossoneri needed a win to keep up the pace with leaders Inter, but had recently dropped valuable away points at Cagliari and Lecce. Andrea Pirlo returned for the first time in two months after a serious calf strain. Nicola Amoruso suffered an injury and made way for Rolando Bianchi and Alessandro Rosina. Marco Di Loreto sat out a ban with the injured Eugenio Corini, Ignazio Abate and Malonga.

Milan had won their last three visits to Turin, but the pitch was in a terrible state after a rugby match was played here last week. Former Torino goalkeeper Christian Abbiati punched away a Rosina free kick and Gennaro Gattuso fired wide from distance.

Dzemaili unleashed a blockbuster from 30 metres that flew over Abbiati and just a few inches over the crossbar. He also placed an angled drive wide.

Ronaldinho spread the play for Daniele Bonera, forcing Matteo Rubin into a well-timed sliding tackle. From the resulting corner, Marek Jankulovski's effort was charged down.

Cesare Natali also timed his intervention perfectly to cut off Alexandre Pato as he was pulling the trigger on Kaka's through ball.

It was Torino who opened the scoring on 25 minutes. Rosina went down the left flank for a cross and Stellone got in front of Kakha Kaladze for a precise glancing header into the top near corner. That was the first goal the Granata have scored against Milan since March 2002, followed by six games in which they fired blanks.

Milan did not take long to equalise, as Gattuso opted to place a through ball rather than shoot from the edge of the box and sent Pato clear to smash under the bar before Toro's defenders could react. Replays show he was kept in play.

Moments later Clarence Seedorf flew down the left channel and his powerful shot across the face of goal was palmed away by Matteo Sereni.

Ronaldinho turned the game around completely with a magnificent free kick. It curled with great speed and accuracy over the defensive wall and into the near top corner where Sereni simply could not reach.

Rosina turned a free header off target, but Milan seemed to be in control. Straight after the restart Pato sprung the offside trap and fired just over from the tightest of angles.

Dzemaili skipped past two tackles to drill inches wide of the upright in a dangerous solo run. Soon after Kaladze needed to scramble clear as Rosina had the ball from six yards out after the Toro captain had hooked it down between three defenders.

Torino had another fantastic scoring opportunity. Rosina touched down for Dzemaili, who again went on a strong run and rolled out for Rolando Bianchi's angled drive, parried by Abbiati's stomach, then the goalkeeper did the same on Stellone's follow-up from point-blank range.

On the counter Ronaldinho's shot was charged down by Francesco Pratali's arm, but the referee waved play on. Simone Barone was booked for bringing down Kaka as he launched on a classic counter.

Dinho, Kaka and Pato exchanged quick passes until the youngster's finish with the outside of his right foot was deflected by a sliding tackle so Sereni could palm out for a corner.

Torino made a double substitution with Elvis Abbruscato and Paolo Zanetti coming off the bench. Within seconds Rosina's cross was nodded back into the centre by Stellone and chaotic defending eventually scrambled clear.

Pirlo made way for Emerson, but Torino earned a penalty on 77 minutes. Rosina skipped past one tackle and his cross hit Kaladze on the arm. It was a very harsh decision, as it struck his leg and then ricocheted up on to his hand. It was also not entirely dissimilar to the spot-kick Milan demanded earlier on, but Rosina sent former teammate Abbiati the wrong way to draw Toro level.

Carlo Ancelotti had to gamble and threw on Andriy Shevchenko for Gattuso in an all-attack formation. It was only his sixth appearance of the season and his impressive curler was well captured by Sereni.

Ronaldinho fired over from the edge of the box, but Matteo Rubin's looping cross-shot had to be fingertipped out from under the bar. In the final minute of regular time Pratali was penalised for a high foot 25 metres from goal, which Ronaldinho blasted over after it was touched on by Emerson. At the other end Stellone just failed to get his bald pate to an Abbruscato cross.

In stoppages Kaka surged into the box and fell under Cesare Natali's challenge, but the referee booked him for simulation.
Torino: Sereni; Diana, Natali, Pratali, Rubin; Colombo, Dzemaili, Barone (Zanetti 72), Rosina (Ogbonna 84); Bianchi (Abbruscato 72), Stellone
Milan: Abbiati; Bonera, Maldini, Kaladze, Jankulovski; Gattuso (Shevchenko 79), Pirlo (Emerson 74), Seedorf; Ronalidnho, Kaka, Pato

Ref: Farina

AC Milan 1:0 Chievo - match report
16.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Kaka pen 15 (M)

Milan got back to winning ways against Chievo, but only thanks to a soft penalty.

The Rossoneri were still smarting from their 1-1 draw at Lecce and knew they could not lower their guard despite Chievo losing four on the bounce. Milan's injury list was extended to include Marco Borriello, Gianluca Zambrotta, Massimo Ambrosini, Andrea Pirlo, Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta, while the visitors left behind Erjon Bogdani and 'Foquinha' Kerlon.

Before kick-off Kaka was presented with the FIFPro World XI award, voted by his peers.

Ronaldinho protested early on for Marco Malago's handling offence on his free kick, but it certainly seemed to be involuntary. Moments later the referee pointed to the spot for Simone Bentivoglio's trip on Kaka, although replays show the contact was outside the box. The Brazilian stepped up and buried it over Stefano Sorrentino's diving body.

Kakha Kaladze just failed to make enough contact on Clarence Seedorf's low pass from six yards. There was a fine counter involving Inzaghi holding up Ronaldinho's ball for Kaka to blast over.

Chievo were dangerous from set pieces, as Christian Abbiati plucked a Luciano glancing header from a free kick. Ronaldinho had a penalty shout for Mandelli's tackle to cut his mazy run short.

Sorrentino replied to an artfully curled Ronaldinho strike from 10 yards, while Abbiati rushed out to close down Luciano as he ran on to Sergio Pellissier's through ball.

Abbiati punched a free kick off the head of Mandelli and clattered into teammate Kaladze, but soon after he was forced into a great save to keep Milan in front. He was at full stretch to fingertip Simone Bentivoglio's angled rocket round the post.

Moments later Mandelli fired wide of the upright from a promising position, then Ronaldinho's ball in saw two Milan players collide in their bid to get on the end of it.

Sorrentino spilled a Marek Jankulovski angled drive, then Ronaldinho combined with Alexandre Pato for the youngster's shot at the goalkeeper's legs. Pato also wasted a golden opportunity with a scuffed header, again set up by his fellow Brazilian.

Sorrentino flew to fingertip a Jankulovski free kick out from under the crossbar, then the last kick of the game was another save on the Czech full-back.
Milan: Abbiati; Bonera, Favalli, Kaladze, Jankulovski; Flamini, Gattuso, Seedorf; Kaka, Ronaldinho; Inzaghi (Pato 61)

Chievo: Sorrentino; Malagò, Mandelli, Yepes, Mantovani; Pinzi (Iunco 72), Bentivoglio, Marcolini (Italiano 78); Langella (Esposito 64), Luciano; Pellissier

Ref: De Marco

Zambrotta recovers for AC Milan
16.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gianluca Zambrotta has recovered from injury to feature against Chievo, but Milan are without Massimo Ambrosini and Marco Borriello.

There was panic at Milanello yesterday when in the space of 30 minutes four different players pulled up with physical problems.

Borriello awaits tests to discover whether he has suffered a thigh strain or merely a twinge, while Ambrosini continued to struggle with a calf problem.

However, Zambrotta is in the squad for Sunday afternoon's encounter despite struggling with a neck problem.

The full-back could well be in the starting XI, but Luca Antonini is not in the side after his training ground injury.

Pippo Inzaghi is challenging Alexandre Pato for the role of centre-forward supported by Kaka and Ronaldinho.

Long-term absentees Zeljko Kalac, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta and Andrea Pirlo remain sidelined.

Milan squad: Abbiati, Dida, Bonera, Darmian, Favalli, Jankulovski, Kaladze, Senderos, Zambrotta, Cardacio, Emerson, Flamini, Gattuso, Inzaghi, Kaka, Pato, Seedorf, Shevchenko, Ronaldinho.

Ancelotti's topsy turvy campaign
16.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti breathes a sigh of relief after Marco Borriello’s injury and casts his eye over “a very unusual season.”

There were fears Borriello would be out of action for a month after pulling up during yesterday’s training session with a suspected thigh strain.

“He is already doing better this morning and it’s possible the muscle is just tired,” said a relieved Ancelotti.

“It is true that our strikers have not yet performed to the levels we were expecting, but in recompense Ronaldinho has done better than we thought he would.

“He has given an important contribution to the side and yet he was the one we expected a long wait for. As for [Andriy] Shevchenko, he is motivated, ready and improving, but [Alexandre Pato] could be the centre-forward in Borriello’s absence.”

Gianluca Zambrotta, Massimo Ambrosini, Philippe Senderos, Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta are also in doubt for Sunday’s game with Chievo.

“If Zambrotta can’t make it, then Daniele Bonera will play as right-back. Ambro is not available, while Andrea Pirlo is not fit for the bench.”

Ancelotti’s men cannot afford another slip-up after they lost the Serie A leadership with a 1-1 draw away to Lecce.

“We want to get back on top and every match is crucial. It is true that now we must wait on other results too, but aside from the point we returned from Lecce with a good performance.

“This is a very unusual season compared to all the others, as there is remarkable equality. The big clubs have not yet reached their potential, while others like Udinese and Napoli have done more than expected.”

Reports emerged today that David Beckham would try to extend his loan spell at San Siro until the summer, something that LA Galaxy denied.

“I don’t get surprised by anything, but it seems to me that the rapport with Beckham is very clear and will finish after two to three months,” concluded Ancelotti.

Beckham tweaks AC Milan schedule
16.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

LA Galaxy have rushed to quash reports David Beckham is working to extend his Milan stay beyond March 2009.

The club agreed to loan Beckham to the Rossoneri until the new MLS season kicks off in March, but with Serie A and the UEFA Cup in full swing, he is eager to remain until the summer.

According to the Corriere dello Sport, Becks’ medical and official presentation at San Siro was set for next Thursday.

However, a phone call changed their plans and it will not now take place until after December 6 with the organised training camp in Dubai running from December 29 to January 7.

Golden Balls is set to make his debut in a Milan jersey in a friendly against Hamburg.

The newspaper reports that Beckham is already at work with his agents to extend the terms of the contract so that he can stay at Milan for the remainder of the Serie A season.

“As highlighted last week David has signed a loan agreement with Milan for a two-month period and no discussions have taken place with regard to extending that deal,” insisted spokesman Simon Oliveira.

A statement from LA Galaxy also quashed the claims emanating from the Italian media.

"Reports that David Beckham is in advanced talks to extend his loan move beyond March are untrue. We look forward to having David back with us for the start of the 2009 MLS season."

Di Carlo spots AC Milan flaws
16.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan may be one of the favourites for the Scudetto, but Chievo Coach Mimmo Di Carlo assures there are weak spots to be exploited.

“I expect a good performance from the squad and, compared to the match with Juventus, we can count on an extra week’s worth of training so there will be improvement.”

Di Carlo’s debut was a 2-0 defeat to Juve, so he has another tough task after replacing Beppe Iachini, as he travels to Scudetto contenders Milan.

“It is another very important match against a side of great individual quality, but also a team able to keep hold of the ball from the defence right the way to the final third and sometimes even into the box!

“There is no single player to be concerned about, rather we should fear all of them, but Chievo are on that pitch too and we will have our say.”

The confidence booster for Chievo could be the fact that last week Milan lost the leadership of Serie A with a 1-1 draw away to Lecce.

“By maintaining concentration when Milan attack and then pushing forward on the counter trying to be as efficient as possible, we can do it,” insisted Di Carlo.

“We’ll try to take advantage of their weak spots, which are most definitely there. Above all we need a Chievo side that is courageous and wants to push beyond its limits.”

Lecce 1:1 AC Milan - match report
9.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Ronaldinho 79 (M), Esposito 94 (L)

Ronaldinho's late strike was not enough to keep Milan's Serie A leadership, as Lecce equalised deep into stoppages!

Confidence was high in the camp of the new Serie A leaders, who had not topped the table since 2004 and celebrated a last-gasp UEFA Cup win over Sporting Braga on Thursday. The Rossoneri had won four domestic games on the bounce and were eager to keep the momentum going against a Lecce side that had won one, drawn five and lost two in the last eight rounds.

Massimo Ambrosini, Philippe Senderos, Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini and Andrea Pirlo were injured for the visitors, who hadn't conceded a goal on their Serie A travels since September 24. Milan's last win at the Via del Mare was seven years ago.

Daniele Cacia and Marco Borriello had audacious efforts in the opening minutes. Milan went very close when Kaka's low shot squirmed through and Benussi flicked it off the line with his foot, but Borriello could only hit the side-netting with the rebound.

Benussi intercepted Gianluca Zambrotta's chipped pass for Clarence Seedorf, while at the other end Cacia drilled inches wide of the near post. Moments later Cacia sprung the offside trap on a flicked on free kick, but his first touch let him down and Christian Abbiati pounced.

Cacia again went clear from Guillermo Giacomazzi's pass, but smacked an audacious effort across the face of goal rather than roll across to Simone Tiribocchi.

Daniele Bonera was booked for bringing down Tiribocchi as he ran towards goal, while Benussi got down to smother a deflected Ronaldinho snapshot from 20 metres.

Borriello thought he had given Milan the lead by getting the lob out when the goalkeeper had already rushed out, but Suleymane Diamoutene performed a goalline clearance. From the resulting corner Ronaldinho crossed to the back post where Borriello incredibly ballooned over the bar from a couple of yards!

Diamoutene did well to clear a cross off Borriello's foot with a diving header, but on the counter as part of the same move Marek Jankulovski's sliding tackle was decisive to stop Cacia going clear.

Benussi punched a Kaka cross off Borriello's head, taking some of the striker's jaw with him. Borriello ran on to a loose ball and sprinted into the box, but his touch let him down and Benussi was able to fling himself at the ball.

Mathieu Flamini's first touch was also poor as he ws unmarked at the back post for a Kaka cross flicked on by Borriello.

After the restart Guglielmo Stendardo's brave and precise sliding tackle cut off Borriello in the box. However, Lecce had a fantastic opportunity when Seedorf got his head to a corner kick, leaving Abbiati stranded, but Giacomazzi incredibly turned on to the side-netting when totally unmarked!

It was a game where both teams seemed determined to miss the easiest chances. Borriello knocked on a goal kick for Kaka to burst into the box, but as Benussi rushed out and committed himself, the Brazilian stroked wide of an empty net!

Jankulovski volleyed a Kaka cross wide, while Ronaldinho was brought down outside the area and flashed his free kick across the face of goal. Milan were dominating possession, but could not find a way through a Lecce defence that had conceded just four goals in five home games.

Borriello just failed to get the tap-in on a taut Ronaldinho cross from the right, as Stendardo did just enough to put him off.

On 74 minutes the Lecce goal was under siege, as Benussi flew to palm away a Jankulovski angled drive, then managed to flap out the cross for Borriello's head and Gennaro Gattuso's cross was charged down for a corner.

The Rossoneri were furious when they wanted a penalty for a supposed Stendardo push on Daniele Bonera, but as the ball fell Borriello again ballooned over the bar from a promising position.

Polenghi was stretchered off after an accidental collision with Gattuso, making way for Esposito, while Pippo Inzaghi and Alexandre Pato replaced Mathieu Flamini and the wasteful Borriello.

It was certainly an inspired substitution! Pato's first touch of the ball was a run down the right channel to cut back for Ronaldinho's sliding finish into the net. Curiously, it was his first goal for Milan scored outside San Siro.

Moments later Pato got down the left and drilled wide from distance, but Abbiati gathered a Ronaldinho backpass just inside his box to give away an indirect free kick. The Rossoneri argued it was not an intentional backpass, as he was in midfield at the time. It did not matter, as Gattuso charged down the free kick.

Pato held off a defender to spin and set up Inzaghi, who fired off target from the D. Tiribocchi snatched at his volley in stoppages, but Cacia earned a late free kick that was floated to the edge of the six-yard box for Esposito's header! Lecce equalised in the final moments of five minutes of injury time.
Lecce: Benussi; Polenghi (Esposito 78), Stendardo, Diamoutene, Antunes; Munari (Ardito 58), Giacomazzi (Caserta 65), Zanchetta, Ariatti; Cacia, Tiribocchi

Milan: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Bonera, Favalli, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Seedorf, Flamini (Pato 78); Ronaldinho (Emerson 84), Kaka; Borriello (Inzaghi 78)

Ref: Bergonzi

Ronaldinho earns new AC Milan deal
9.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ronaldinho’s strong start to the season has prompted contract renegotiations for a pay rise and extension to 2012.

He was only able to complete the move from Barcelona by cutting his wages and forgoing a slice of the transfer fee this summer, but the time has come for Milan to repay that generosity.

Dinho’s salary went from £7m per season at the Nou Camp on a two-year contract to £5.3m on a three-term deal.

At the time it was not known how long it would take the former Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year to get back to his best, but he has already scored four Serie A goals and a crucial winner in the UEFA Cup against Sporting Braga.

Perhaps even more importantly, Ronaldinho is paying for his own transfer fee through the increase in season tickets, sponsors and shirt sales that his arrival has generated.

With this in mind, the club is ready to reward him for his initial generosity by returning his wages to their Barcelona levels.

There will also be an option to extend the contract until June 2012.

Beretta bets on AC Milan
9.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Beretta believes Milan are the favourites for the Scudetto, but that doesn't mean his Lecce cannot cause an upset tonight.

“We need to play with great intensity and concentration against the team that, in my opinion, is the favourite to win the Serie A title,” said the Coach.

“If I could, I would put 1,000 players on the pitch! Joking aside, it is already tough to take on Milan, but even more so now because they have rediscovered their form and enthusiasm.

“Carlo Ancelotti's men did not start well this season, but they worked with real intensity, just like their Coach, and got back on track.”

The Rossoneri make this trip without the injured Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini, Philippe Senderos, Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini.

Beretta is considering a few different options for this clash at the Stadio Via del Mare, as Fabio Caserta could play in a trequartista role or the team could line up with a classic 4-4-2.

The stadium is set to be sold out with over 30,000 tickets sold for this rare evening outing for Lecce.

“Our target cannot be anything other than safety. We know it will be difficult, but we have to step on to the field believing we can make it right to the end of the season.”

Ancelotti: AC Milan aren't lucky
9.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti insists Milan’s recent last-gasp victories have more to do with tactics than luck, while he deals with yet more injuries.

His side are top of the Serie A standings and leading their UEFA Cup group as well following late winners over Atalanta, Napoli and Sporting Braga.

“It is true we won those games thanks to a little bit of luck, but we certainly do not owe our position to good fortune,” explained the Coach.

“Don’t forget we beat Napoli at the end, but had the chances to easily do so earlier. I think as a team we are able to take control more towards the end of matches, when the opponent tends to loosen the marking a little and space opens up for us.”

Milan pay visit to Lecce’s Stadio Via del Mare on Sunday evening, an arena where they have not always thrived.

“Lecce are well-organised with a good defence and I think they will maintain their characteristics even though they are facing a side like Milan.

“We have always run into problems away to Lecce, but then again we said the same of Atalanta, so we hope to have similar good fortune here too.”

Last weekend the Rossoneri climbed to the top of the Serie A table for the first time since May 16, 2004.

“Clearly if we win every game now, then we will take the Scudetto, but we cannot make this kind of calculation now,” warned the tactician.

“We are not interested in being the ‘anti-Inter’ team. All we want is to play well and win the title, so Inter are merely one of several sides who will fight with us to the end.”

Massimo Ambrosini and Philippe Senderos have been added to the injury list along with Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta and Andrea Pirlo.

“Senderos has not fully recovered yet, but he is fine. Ambrosini has a calf problem, though these two and Maldini will be back next week.

“Nesta is in America and when he is better, he will return. I hope he can recover, as that is the most important – the only important – thing.”

Nesta has been struggling with a recurring back problem for several years and flew to Miami for specialist treatment this week amid fears his career is over.

Milan squad: Abbiati, Dida, Donnarumma, Antonini, Bonera, Favalli, Jankulovski, Kaladze, Zambrotta, Cardacio, Emerson, Flamini, Gattuso, Borriello, Inzaghi, Kaka, Pato, Seedorf, Shevchenko, Ronaldinho.

Kaka targets AC Milan Double
9.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka is confident Milan can do The Double of picking up the Scudetto and UEFA Cup this season.

“Carlo Ancelotti is right. Now that we are top of Serie A and our UEFA group, the only way is down!” joked the Brazilian in an extensive interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“The truth is we are not yet impressive in terms of our performance. We are constant in our results, and that is positive, but less so in creating chances and moving the ball around. We need more creativity, but don’t forget we are missing a crucial figure like [Andrea] Pirlo.

“Milan are a more mature squad with more quality than 2007 and this is why we can surprise.

“I have an objective: to win the Scudetto and UEFA Cup. I’m targeting the Double to enter the history books of this club.”

The Rossoneri had a dismal start to the campaign and lost their two opening games, but have since notched up an impressive tally.

“I learned the lesson with Brazil in the 2006 World Cup that talent is not enough, you need hard work and team spirit.

“The turning point for Milan was the game with Lazio. They were in great form and we beat them while playing very well. Then the derby victory gave us another huge boost.”

Kaka had a penalty saved in the 1-0 win over Napoli last week that sent Milan to the top of the Serie A table.

“Napoli really impressed me and [Ezequiel] Lavezzi is a fantastic player. Udinese are doing very well, too. Are Inter losing ground? No, they are a solid squad and have quality, they will not disappoint. Then there are Juventus, who are always tough.”

UEFA Cup: AC Milan 1:0 Braga - match report
7.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Ronaldinho 90

Ronaldinho grabbed a last-gasp winner for a lacklustre Milan after a drab affair against Braga at San Siro.

The Rossoneri consolidated their favourites' status with an opening win away to Dutch side Heerenveen and were full of confidence after climbing to the top of the Serie A table.

Swiss defender Philippe Senderos was handed a debut after finally recovering from injury, while Alexandre Pato, Pippo Inzaghi and Andriy Shevchenko lined up in attack.

Within five minutes, Milan had a great chance to go in front when a sweeping team move ended with an Inzaghi diving header from a long cross, but Pippo's effort went just wide.

Pato had an opportunity seconds later but he couldn't quite find the corner.

Braga caused some nerves at the back with a low effort from Cameroon ace Albert Meyong was blocked.

The pace was restricted by stodgy midfield play but Braga should have been ahead after 28 minutes when Nelson Dida made a miraculous diving save to deny Cesar Peixoto, who had shot from very close range.

Milan tried to strike on the break but Shevchenko could only put the ball over the bar.

The Ukrainian international then tried to find Inzaghi, but his excellent cross brought no result.

At the break it was 0-0 with relatively little incident but Milan looked a little more urgent at the start of the second half.

Shevchenko burst into the Braga half but he angered Pato and Inzaghi, who were waiting in the middle, by trying his luck with a wayward effort.

Carlo Ancelotti wasn't happy with the stagnation and sent on Ronaldinho in place of the ineffectual Pato and Clarence Seedorf for Emerson.

Luis Aguiar hit a rocket from distance, which Dida managed to parry before falling on the rebound.

Marek Jankulovski finally provided some threat for Milan, but Eduardo saved his strike with ease.

Seedorf tried to inject some life and he skipped past three men before winning a corner with just under a quarter of an hour left to play.

Senderos was assured in defence but his distribution of the ball was less impressive and the Rossoneri grew increasingly frustrated as they found themselves unable to break through the midfield.

Braga could easily have won the game as Wason Renteria received a pinpoint cross on his head in front of goal, but he inexplicably tried to flick the ball on instead of aiming at the net.

Just as it seemed the game was headed for a 0-0 draw, Ronaldinho popped up to score a winner!

Gattuso ran with the ball and pushed the ball to Dinho who blasted a superb strike in the top of the net at the near post from outside the area.

Milan continue their 100 per cent record but they scarcely deserved the points against a plucky Braga outfit.
Milan: Dida; Antonini, Kaladze, Senderos, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Emerson (Seedorf 68), Flamini; Pato (Ronaldinho 62), Inzaghi, Shevchenko

Braga: Eduardo; Joao Pereira, Molses, Rodriguez, Evaldo; Vandinho, Alan (Joao Perreira 84), Cesar Peixoto (Matheus 75), Luis Aguiar; Renteria, Meyong (Paulo Cesar 46)

Ref: Rasmussen (Den)

Jesus plots AC Milan resistance
6.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Braga boss Jorge Jesus respects Milan's quality but expects to test the Rossoneri in tonight's San Siro encounter.

Milan are widely seen as favourites to lift the UEFA Cup and they made the ideal start to Group E by winning 3-1 at Heerenveen.

However, their opponents Braga issued a statement of intent when they crushed Portsmouth 3-0 and they are ready for a fight at the Stadio Meazza.

“After the victory against Portsmouth we are aiming for qualification and we believe anything is possible,” Jesus warned.

“But we are aware of Milan's power. Even though seven or eight men could be missing, they still have 11 first-choice players and I think one of Ronaldinho or Kaka will play.

“Milan have one of the best teams in the world as far as individuals are concerned and they are also top of the table in Italy.

“However, I want to see Braga give it their all. It's crucial that we score and we need to use our attacking qualities to do that.

“We have prepared a careful defensive plan that will allow us to restrain a quality side but give us a chance to attack,” he concluded.

Inzaghi signs new AC Milan deal
6.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Filippo Inzaghi has extended his contract with Milan until 2010 despite the increased competition for places.

“I am happy, truly happy,” he told the official club website. “There is a rapport between me and this side that goes beyond everything.”

SuperPippo put pen to paper today on a new deal keeping him at San Siro for another season so that he can add to his tally of 103 goals in 122 games for the Diavolo.

It means he will be practically 37 years old when the contract expires and will have played for 11 campaigns in the Rossoneri jersey.

“The greatest night was in Athens, without a shadow of a doubt,” he said of the brace that beat Liverpool in the 2007 Champions League Final.

“I will never forget that night. It is a feeling that still lives within me and I know it was also very important for all our fans.”

That was just one of the goals that marked Inzagol’s remarkable record, as he has scored in the Intertoto Cup, UEFA Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup, Champions League, European Super Cup and Club World Cup.

There were fears Inzaghi’s career would be cut short by repeated injuries and the increase in competition for places with the arrival of Ronaldinho, Andriy Shevchenko, Alexandre Pato and Marco Borriello.

“I always said that I’ll keep playing as long as I feel good and right now I feel great. President Silvio Berlusconi and general manager Adriano Galliani have always charged me up. We’ll see how it goes, year by year.”

No seven-year itch for Ancelotti
6.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti today celebrated his seventh year with the Rossoneri and looked back on his career so far with the club.

Ancelotti replaced Fatih Terim on November 5, 2001, and has won eight major titles with the club, including two European Cups.

“The first day was certainly a bit strange,” reflected Ancelotti. “Sure I didn’t think I would find myself here after seven years with all the successes and delicate moments overcome.

“There is a great harmony with the group and the club. The thing that made the biggest impression on me was the first time I slept in the trainer’s room at Milanello where greats like [Nereo] Rocco, [Arrigo] Sacchi and [Fabio] Capello stayed.

“Every now and again I get the impression they’ll kick me out,” he admitted. “Only a few days ago I was supposed to have my bags packed...”

Ancelotti revealed that while there have been several offers to go elsewhere, notably to Chelsea and Zenit St Petersburg, he never took them seriously.

“I have never had any temptation,” he said. “Because otherwise who knows where I would be now.”

Milan are top of Serie A after a rather shaky start to the season saw them lose their first two games.

The Rossoneri travel to Lecce at the weekend and need a win if they are to maintain their one point advantage over Inter and Udinese.

But first comes tomorrow night’s UEFA Cup tie with Sporting Braga, a game Ancelotti will use to rest several key players.

“Someone will rest,” he said. “We have to think about the Lecce game. [Gianluca] Zambrotta and Kaka will not be selected. The others will be there and then I will see.”

Ancelotti will try Philippe Senderos and Kakha Kaladze in defence while Andriy Shevchenko will start on the bench.

Sunday night’s match-winner Ronaldinho is also unlikely to play a full 90 minutes against the Portuguese.

“He is available,” explained Ancelotti. “He has to play to acquire rhythm, but I am not sure he will start.”

The former Parma and Juventus Coach also shed light on when supporters could expect Alessandro Nesta and Andrea Pirlo to return to first team action.

“This year Nesta has been available for only one game. As for Pirlo, I think he’ll be ready again within 15 days.”

Milan are without doubt prioritising the domestic championship over their European commitments, but Ancelotti insists they are not taking Braga for granted.

“We are talking about a quick team. I have seen them play and they keep a good rhythm for 90 minutes.

“We should fear them for these characteristics. They can put opponents in difficulty. But we will look to put the group in place.”

Milan have been drawn in UEFA Cup Group E together with Braga, Portsmouth, Heerenveen and Wolfsburg.

Diamoutene plots AC Milan downfall
6.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Lecce defender Souleymane Diamoutene wants the crowd to do their bit when League leaders Milan visit the Via Del Mare this Sunday.

The Salentini are thirteenth in Serie A and have proved to be quite a handful in their first season back in the top flight for two years.

“Milan are a very strong team, composed of many champions.” Diamoutene explained. “It will be tough but we will play at home and we hope that our fans, who are always noisy, give us a big hand.

“We will have to approach the game with serenity and we are looking to play the perfect match because only then can we obtain a positive result.”

Lecce beat Milan when they last visited Puglia in 2006 and Diamoutene is confident they can repeat that result especially in light of last Sunday’s performance against Atalanta.

“It was an important test against a good team like Atalanta, we deserved more for the chances that we had, but in the end we need to be happy that we got a point away from home.”

Lecce dominated the Orobici on their own turf and were unlucky not to score in a game that ended 0-0.

“We didn’t concede anything to Atalanta and I am happy with the performance of the defence. We are doing a good job.”

The Mali international is also glad that he is back in the side after being overlooked by Coach Mario Beretta.

“I am happy to have played two consecutive games against Palermo and Atalanta after a period in which I had been out,” said Diamoutene.

“I can assure you that in the period that I was not used I acted calmly and as always gave my best in training, patiently awaiting my turn.

“It is never easy to be out of the team,” the 25-year-old admitted. “Every footballer wants to play.”

Ronaldo move pure fantasy
6.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Siena President Giovanni Lombardi Stronati has been given a cold shower by Ronaldo’s agent who says there is no chance of the Brazilian striker signing for the Robur.

Stronati had offered Ronaldo an unconventional package whereby he would pay the 32-year-old £80,000 every time he found the net.

“There is no chance,” Ronaldo’s agent told Globoesporte. “Every President wishes to have a player like Ronaldo in their team and we thank Siena again for their interest.

“With all due respect to Siena, after struggling for nine months to recover from injury, Ronaldo cannot go to a club that is fighting against relegation.”

The former Inter and Real Madrid phenomenon has been training with Flamengo since Milan released him earlier this year following yet another serious knee injury.

Meanwhile, Siena are twelfth in Serie A and beat high-flying Fiorentina at the weekend. They travel to Lazio this Sunday.

Inzaghi seeks UEFA glory
6.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan veteran Pippo Inzaghi has his heart set on winning the UEFA Cup and would like to score 300 goals before he retires.

Milan play Sporting Braga tomorrow night and the 35-year-old insists that while the Rossoneri have prioritised the Scudetto this season they are not ignoring their European commitments.

“I realised that the only winners’ medal missing from my collection is a UEFA Cup one,” Inzaghi told Corriere dello Sport. “Milan have also never won the trophy.”

Inzaghi also revealed another motive why Milan want to get to the Final. It will be held in Istanbul, the scene of their infamous collapse in the 2005 Champions League finale.

“I have a score to settle with that city after 2005 against Liverpool. I didn’t play. I was not well. I want to take my revenge.”

When asked whether he was ready to become the top scorer in the history of European competition, Inzaghi replied: “I would have been happy just to have arrived alongside [Andriy] Shevchenko.”

Inzaghi and Raul of Real Madrid have scored 63 times in Europe, while Shevchenko has found the net on 61 occasions. Inzaghi also has 293 career goals to his name. “I want 300.”

Sidelined Shevchenko still smiling
6.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko is content to be a squad player for the Rossoneri as they challenge for the Scudetto.

The 32-year-old Ukrainian watched Milan beat Napoli from the stands on Sunday night and understands why he is not playing.

“We know we are many,” explained Shevchenko, referring to the size of Milan’s squad. “The Coach chooses the players who he needs in that moment.

“Every one of us has the same objective. To win at the end of the season will take a complete squad of players.”

Shevchenko has made just one start for the Rossoneri since returning to the club after a two-year stint at Chelsea.

The former Ballon d’Or winner has struggled to recapture the form that made him one of the most feared strikers in Europe and the second highest scorer in Milan’s history.

Shevchenko did reveal, though, that he could play some part in Thursday’s UEFA Cup tie against Sporting Braga, but said it depends on how he trains.

“Today someone gives a better contribution [in training] and tomorrow someone else will go on the pitch. They will have to give an important contribution to arrive at the final objective.”

Milan have their hearts set on winning the League this season and intend to use the UEFA Cup as a competition in which they can rotate their squad.

Reja lectures the referee
3.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Edy Reja is satisfied with Napoli's performance against Milan, but slams the referee for Kaka's penalty kick.

“I am very satisfied, as with 10 men we held out against Milan and even had chances of our own,” said the Coach after a 1-0 defeat.

Christian Maggio saw red for a second bookable offence on the stroke of half-time, but Gennaro Iezzo saved a penalty before German Denis accidentally nodded into his own net.

“I almost hoped the Rossoneri would score earlier, as we tended to sit back more than we usually do after Maggio's red card.

“Perhaps Maggio might have not gone in for the challenge, but it is not something he usually does. I doubt he brought down the player on purpose.

“I hope Napoli can be in the top spots right to the end, as even losing at the 90th minute to an own goal means something. It is a shame, as we certainly deserved better than defeat.”

The game was almost decided from the spot after Michele Pazienza's arm blocked a Kaka cross. Although Iezzo saved it, the fact remains it was a harsh decision because the two players were only a yard apart.

“You cannot award a penalty for a handling offence when he is a metre away, as he can't chop his arm off,” snapped Reja.

“Penalties should only be given for a clear scoring opportunity, an intentional handling offence or a visible foul, as spot-kicks can change a game.

“We put four at the back and three in midfield, because we needed to ensure we were not overrun by Milan. I left the two strikers on so they could hold up the ball and keep the Rossoneri on their toes.

“It is true we were a little timid in the first half, as we are usually far more vivacious, but clearly the atmosphere of the event got to us.”

Ezequiel Lavezzi was once again inspirational and kept the Milan defence busy single-handed.

“Argentina have some great players, but Lavezzi belongs in there and is up to their standard. We really need this player.”

Ancelotti: Who'd have thought it?!
3.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti admits “few thought after the first two games we'd be on top of the table” as Milan lead Serie A for the first time in four years.

The Rossoneri lost both their opening matches to Bologna and Genoa, prompting calls for Ancelotti's dismissal, but they recovered and in Week 10 are out in front.

It is the first time they have been in the top spot since May 16, 2004, when they won their last Scudetto.

“We are not racing against Inter in particular. We are racing against ourselves and pushing to get more tempo, determination and movement. We had problems and are slowly getting over them.

“Admittedly, few thought after the first two games that we would be on top of the table so quickly.”

They are top after tonight's hard-fought 1-0 win over 10-man Napoli, in which Kaka had a penalty saved before German Denis' own goal.

“The team took the right approach all the way through and fought hard, trying to play right to the end, when we received our just reward.

“I think we had many, many chances - no doubt helped by the extra man - but we attacked from all sides and got the full-backs forward too.”

There was controversy over the penalty, as Kaka's cross struck Michele Pazienza's arm when they were 1.84m apart.

“Kaka wanted to put in the cross, he didn't aim at Pazienza's arm. It is a handling offence and in my view it is a penalty kick,” insisted Ancelotti.

At this stage last season Milan were floundering, especially on home turf, but have now won five on the trot at San Siro.

“This year we have more strikers at our disposal compared to last season, when at this stage we were without Ronaldo and Pato plus Inzaghi had injury worries.

“There are many more options now and that gives us remarkable potential upfront.”

Milan are already looking ahead to January, when David Beckham will arrive on loan from LA Galaxy for a couple of months.

“Beckham can play in any of our three midfield roles. He is no longer a winger, as he has lost the pace necessary for that position.”

Ancelotti opens 'new AC Milan era'
3.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti is confident he has finally found “my Milan” and that history can repeat itself with a win over Napoli starting a new era, just as it did in 1988.

“The 4-1 result in January 1988 was when Milan showed what they were truly made of, so I will embrace that memory ahead of tomorrow’s game and am convinced we will do well,” smiled the man who was a midfielder in Arrigo Sacchi’s squad that day.

The Rossoneri had a dismal start to the season with two straight defeats, but have since notched up an impressive run of victories and could become the new leaders by Sunday evening.

“This Milan belongs to all of us. We have entertaining play, fast passing and dribbling, but have also learned how to use other weapons in our armoury.

“In certain moments of a match it is not possible to set the tempo, so other characteristics like sacrifice and altruism have to kick in. This year we have a variety of options and that is why we are doing better.

“Nonetheless, we have yet to prove ourselves and in 2004 were far more consistent. Andrea Pirlo is an important player in that respect and we hope to have him back in two weeks.”

Ancelotti last won the Scudetto in 2004, even though since then he has celebrated the Champions League, Club World Cup and European Super Cup.

The fact they are out of the top tier of European football this season means they can finally focus on the Serie A title again.

“We are thinking of the top of the table because it is an exciting target and we’ve been away from it for far too long,” continued Ancelotti in his Press conference.

To achieve that they must first knock down a Napoli side that has lost only once all season and recently defeated both Roma and Juventus.

“Napoli are back at the top of Italian football and are extremely competitive. Milan and Napoli have different styles of football, as we tend to pass the ball around more and they are quicker to push on goal.

“This side can be in the race right to the end, as they have enthusiasm and no European commitments. Ezequiel Lavezzi is a danger to any opponent and Marek Hamsik would have a place in all big clubs.”

Goals are certainly expected, as last season Milan won 5-2 at San Siro in a sparkling encounter, but lost 3-1 at the San Paolo to effectively destroy their Champions League hopes.

Ancelotti was asked for his comment on Jose Mourinho freezing Adriano out of the Inter squad for turning up late, but the hard taskmaster role does not suit Carletto.

“On Wednesday 12 players turned up late! If I were to adopt certain punishments, I’d end up fielding the youth team every week…”

AC Milan 1:0 Napoli - match report
2.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Denis og 86 (M)

Milan are top of the table after a dramatic late win over Napoli that saw Christian Maggio sent off, Kaka's penalty saved and a German Denis own goal.

This was a huge top of the table showdown as one point separated the southern leaders from Carlo Ancelotti's Scudetto contenders. Not since 1990 – the year Napoli last won the title – has a game between Milan and the Partenopei meant so much. Last season there were goals galore in a 5-2 thrashing at San Siro and Napoli's San Paolo victory that ended Rossoneri hopes of finishing in the top four.

The last away victory in this fixture was 2-1 on April 13, 1986, followed by eight defeats and seven draws. Marcelo Zalayeta was the only absentee for the visitors, but Milan had to do without Andrea Pirlo, Philippe Senderos, Alessandro Nesta, Kakha Kaladze and Mathieu Flamini.

There was a bizarre moment four minutes in when Walter Gargano's corner kick hit the bar, but it did so because it had already gone over the byline. Marco Borriello blasted over following Manuele Blasi's error and later Borriello had two close-range shots charged down by Paolo Cannavaro.

Marek Jankulovski exchanged passes with Clarence Seedorf only to have his finish charged down by defenders. From the subsequent Ronaldinho corner Massimo Ambrosini got a header, but Blasi performed a decisive goalline clearance!

However, at the other end Ezequiel Lavezzi's rocket stung Christian Abbiati's palms after Blasi had intercepted a midfield Ambrosini pass.

Ronaldinho was charged down in the box, then Kaka ballooned over when a lucky ricochet found him from eight yards. Dinho tried to squeeze his way through three players in the penalty area, but in the end the space just wasn't there. His free kick was also held by Gennaro Iezzo.

Milan were fortunate to escape when Abbiati made a fresh-air intervention on a free kick and the referee awarded a dubious foul on the goalkeeper. Kaka tested Iezzo and also skimmed the woodwork with another snapshot.

There was chaos on 41 minutes as Abbiati spilled a fierce Daniele Mannini effort from 20 metres, he also couldn't get hold of the Lavezzi follow-up which was dribbling towards an empty net before Daniele Bonera got back for a goalline clearance.

Kaka was booked for bringing down Lavezzi as the Argentine went on a sensational break from Milan's corner kick, skipping past four Rossoneri shirts.

Christian Maggio was also shown the yellow card for a clumsy intervention on Jankulovski and it was his second booking, so Napoli were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time.

Hamsik picked up a knock to the knee in the first half and made way for Salvatore Aronica. Kaka flicked on the ball for Borriello's wayward angled drive, but there was a fantastic opportunity on 48 minutes. Ronaldinho gathered a poor clearance and his shot was on target for the far bottom corner, but Iezzo got a hand to it at full stretch.

Seedorf blasted wide, but Dinho avoided a booking for his studs-up tackle on Fabiano Santacroce. The Italian international limped off and made way for Michele Pazienza.

Cannavaro did well to intercept Seedorf's through ball that sent Ronaldinho clear, but Denis found a hole in the Milan defence and Lavezzi finished the move with the ball in Abbiati's arms.

Milan went close as a corner fell to Gennaro Gattuso's half-volley, but ricocheted off Kaka to go wide. Alexandre Pato replaced Ambrosini for a 4-2-3-1 system in the final half-hour.

The ball ping-ponged around the six-yard box as Borriello's cross for Pato and then his follow-up shot were deflected by Iezzo at point-blank range. Ronaldinho drilled wide on the counter, but the last throw of the dice was Pippo Inzaghi for Borriello to break down 10-man Napoli.

A brilliant Cannavaro tackle stopped Pato's very dangerous counter-attack, but there was an incredible 10 seconds on 73 minutes in which Milan had three chances. Kaka hit the inside of the upright with an angled drive, Ronaldinho's effort was deflected and Iezzo beat away the third from Gianluca Zambrotta!

San Siro thought Pato had scored when he was allowed a free diving header at the back post, but he somehow nodded it wide from a yard! It was one of the misses of the season.

Kakha Kaladze made his comeback for Favalli, but Lavezzi was single-handedly keeping the Milan defence on their toes and earning free kicks. Kaka flashed another angled drive across the face of goal that skimmed the base of the upright.

The referee pointed to the spot with eight minutes to go for a handling offence on Kaka's cross, but it seemed an extremely harsh decision. Pazienza was very close to the ball and it appeared to be ball-to-hand. Milan also received a soft penalty to beat Siena 2-1 in the last round and, just as then, Kaka stepped up, but this time Iezzo held up a strong hand to parry! It was a great save, but the goalkeeper was at least a metre and a half off his line.

Moments later the Rossoneri were celebrating anyway, as Ronaldinho's free kick from a tight angle was accidentally nodded into his own net by Denis! The Argentine got the slightest of touches, but it was enough to strand Iezzo.

Denis tried to make up for it immediately and Abbiati plucked his looping header out from under the bar. Cannavaro had penalty appeals for a tussle with Zambrotta and 10-man Napoli tried until the end to get an equaliser, but this left space at the back and Gargano blocked Kaka with a splendid tackle.

On the counter Napoli went close as Pazienza prodded just past the base of the post from six yards.
Milan: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Bonera, Favalli (Kaladze 75), Jankulovski; Gattuso, Seedorf, Ambrosini (Pato 60); Kakà, Ronaldinho; Borriello (Inzaghi 70)

Napoli: Iezzo; Santacroce (Pazienza 55), Cannavaro, Contini; Maggio, Blasi (Russotto 87), Gargano, Hamsik (Aronica 46), Mannini; Denis, Lavezzi

Ref: Rocchi

Sent off: Maggio 44 (N)

Missed penalty: Kaka 85 (M)





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