Adriano Galliani predictably reiterated how winning Champions League games is in Milan’s DNA but last night, it really was. Leonardo finally took the courage to field his own vision of Milan and handed starting positions to Pippo Inzaghi, Alexandre Pato and Ronaldinho with Clarence Seedorf behind to support the attack-minded force. Refereeing mistakes were made on either side as the Rossoneri were fortunate not to have conceded a penalty but unlucky to have had a goal disallowed. The Sky Sports commentator summed it up perfectly: “It was a night of goalkeeping errors.” Dida and Iker Casillas both gifted the opposition their opening goals by committing horrendous howlers but it was Pato’s brace that secured Milan’s eventual win in this gripping European Derby. Following the final whistle, Kaka displayed no ill sentiments towards his former club and shared an embrace with Leonardo.
In Italy, Juve took on Maccabi Haifa, who were determined to either collect all three points or send the opposition to hospital. Juve dominated the physical game, that saw Haifa receive five yellow cards and one red for their horror tackles on the Bianconeri. Felipe Melo evidenced the Israeli side’s wantonly physical tactics – forced out of the game with an injury, he was left crying on the bench. While Ferrara changed formations for this match, fielding three behind David Trezeguet, the lone striker, it was only thanks to Gigi Buffon’s fabulous efforts at either end of the match, that the Bianconeri were able to savour their goal, which came from a Giorgio Chiellini header, and collect all three points.
Fiorentina once again carried the name of Calcio as they fought back from a goal down to sink Debrecen in a seven goal thriller. Adrian Mutu was preferred to Stevan Jovetic and the Romanian did not disappoint. He demonstrated his scintillating form by scoring a brace for la Viola. It was, however, a night of shoddy defences as the first half saw six goals. It was the Hungarian outfit who took an early lead and that shocked the Italians into gear. Mutu equalised and Alberto Gilardino handed Fiorentina the lead only moments later but the hosts still had it all to play for. Gergely Rudolf spectacularly equalised for Debrecen but, once again, their defence let them down as Mario Santana scored Fiorentina’s third. In the second half the Hungarians pulled one back but the purple boys managed to hold on and collect all three points. Two consecutive European wins and Fiorentina finally believe.
Inter once again fell to a disappointing home draw that has banished them to the bottom of their group as they seemed unable to replicate last weekend’s perfect performance against Genoa. Despite their hunger for European success, it was Dynamo Kiev that seemed more intent on winning as they dominated early on and scored to stun the home fans. It took a while for the Nerazzurri to reply but Dejan Stankovic scored only for Lucio’s own goal to hand Kiev the lead again. A revitalised Inter emerged after halftime and equalised almost immediately through Walter Samuel. His goal seemed to have inspired the game back to life and Inter desperately pressed forward. Unfortunately they lacked the vital magic touch to break down Dynamo’s defence and their European curse looks set to continue.