Milan and Genoa played a hugely entertaining, high-scoring match at the San Siro in which the Rossoneri breezed past the Genose side.
Within minutes of kickoff, Marco Amelia’s horrible clearance was caught by David Beckham who crossed over to Marco Borriello only for the forward to flick directly back to the keeper. Milan were the much stronger side during first quarter hour as they created several chances. On 12th minute, Massimo Ambrosini rushed into the penalty area and his dummy caused Giseppe Biava to trip him over for a soft penalty. However, Ronaldinho’s penalty was saved comfortably by Amelia. On 25th minute, it was Genoa who broke the deadlock against the run of play. Rodrigo Palacio’s cross from the right wing missed David Suazo but found Giuseppe Sculli who headed the ball down past a hapless Dida.
Within a few minutes, Milan received their second penalty. Borriello headed the ball down to Ambrosini in the penalty box. The Milan midfielder tried to dribble past Amelia as the goalkeeper caught him and referee pointed to the spot. Ronaldinho made no mistake this time as he smashed the ball in left-bottom corner of the net – his usual choice when taking penalty kicks. In the 38th minute, Milan’s domination paid off as they took the lead in a rather chaotic fashion. After several shots and follow-ups, it was Thiago Silva who managed to take a shot and score. At the break, Milan were 2-1 up.
Just three minutes after the restart, Milan doubled their lead. Ronaldinho produced a delightful through ball which was picked up by Luca Antonini. Near the byline, he cut the ball back for Borriello for a simple tap in. The same duo combined again on the hour mark. Borriello beat the offside trap for Antonini’s long pass and scored with a sensational bicycle kick. Any striker will be delighted to score such a goal and Borriello was no different as he took off his shirt during the celebration, receiving a yellow card for his efforts. Milan earned their third penalty of the match as Marco Rossi clumsily fouled Ronaldinho, catching the Brazilian by his neck. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar made no mistake from the spot as he scored his first goal at the San Siro and his third overall in Serie A. The action wasn’t over yet as David Suazo pounced on a defensive error by Alessandro Nesta to produce a solid left-footed shot which flew into back of the net. It proved to be just a consolation goal for Genoa.
Massimo Ambrosini: “It was very important to win because all the teams in the afternoon matches had won. Before the match against Palermo, we were on the right track. If we exclude that game, we were doing well. There is still a long way to go, and we need to continue like this.”
Gian Piero Gasperini: “We suffered a lot because of how Milan’s midfielders found space.” “Aiming for the Champions League, in my opinion, is an excessive objective. Firstly, we will think about earning as many points as we can, and then we shall see. But we don’t consider ourselves to be a top-four side.”
Milan thoroughly deserved yesterday’s victory as they played some delightful football, creating numerous chances throughout the match. David Beckham started his second loan spell with the Rossoneri on a winning note. He played in place of the injured Alexandre Pato on the right hand side of the trident forward. He slotted in perfectly in the team and did his job efficiently, producing several excellent long balls. It seemed that he has been playing for Milan for years! He even received a standing ovation from the crowd on his substitution. It was a nice gesture from Beckham when he encouraged Ronaldino to let Huntelaar take the third penalty.
Borriello showed characteristics of a true striker. Perhaps he should have taken the chance arising from Beckham’s cross early in the game. But he more than made up for that with the following brace. Ronaldinho rolled back the years with some neat tricks. More performances of this kind will be expected from the former Golden Ball winner if Milan want to catch up with Inter. Ambrosini showed tremendous enthusiasm and put in a man-of-the-match performance. He won two penalties and was involved in the build-up to the third goal. Apart from that, he displayed massive work rate to continuously win balls in midfield and support the strikers from deep.
In their next game, Milan travel to Turin to face a stuttering Juventus side. Even though the Old Lady won their game against Parma, the highly contrasting performances of Juventus and Milan will give Leonardo and Co. a massive confidence boost whereas Ciro Ferrara will have lots of food for thought.
Genoa could not take much from the match except Gasperini realizing that they are not yet a top four team. Their first goal was thanks to the creative Palacios and some poor marking by Abate. Their second goal was to an uncharacteristic mistake from Nesta, who actually has been in superb form lately. However, Suazo did show his strength in scoring that second goal. The on-loan Honduran striker will be a positive influence in Genoa’s second half of this campaign. Apart from those two goals, they were simply overrun by the Milan midfield. It seems that Amelia will not be getting the first choice goalkeeper spot soon as he displayed contrasting form today. Apart from the penalty, he made a couple of good saves. But he also conceded a penalty and his ball distribution was extremely poor. Genoa will be eager to forget the result quickly and look forward to the double encounter against Catania.
Milan 5-2 Genoa – Ronaldino (pen 32), Thiago Silva (38), Borriello (48), Borriello (61), Huntelaar (pen 74) – Sculli (25), Suazo (79)
Milan (4-2-1-3): Dida – Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Antonini – Ambrosini, Gattuso – Pirlo (Flamini 64) – Beckham (Jankulovski 76), Borriello (Huntelaar 66), Ronaldinho
Genoa (3-4-3): Amelia – Moretti (Modesto 37), Biava, Criscito – Rossi, Milanetto, Juric, Mesto (Zapater 62) – Palacio, Suazo (Crespo 78), Sculli
Milan – Genoa
3 – Corners – 3
16 (10) – Shots (on target) – 10 (4)
19 – Fouls – 22
2 (0) – Yellow cards (Red) – 3 (0)
1 – Offside – 1