A Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike on the stroke of half time lifted Milan to a 1-0 victory over a resilient Fiorentina side to remain top of Serie A.
The game started at a frantic pace with both sides pushing forward and began to look to assert themselves on the game. Milan had the first effort on goal as Daniele Bonera forced Artur Boruc in to a smart stop, with the game little over a minute old, as he tested the Polish International from distance. Not long after the Viola found their feet with a neat passage of possession that ended with Gaetano D’Agostino’s delicious strike curling towards the top corner only for Christian Abbiati to fling himself towards it and deny the Italian International.
Both goalkeepers were to have busy nights and exchanged impressive stops again in wet and miserable conditions in Milan on Saturday evening. The pitch had a glossy shine from the drizzling rain that added a zip to both sides’ passing games and gifted the crowd a quick paced match as both sides attempted to make the ball do the majority of the work once in possession.
Next in to action was Abbiati again as Per Kroldrup looped a header goal bound but the Italian, who is in a fine patch of form that has seen him establish himself as the Rossoneri’s number one, did well to flick the Danish international’s effort over the bar.
The game began to gather momentum and both teams seemed encouraged by the conditions to take aim from distance as Clarence Seedorf unleashed a stinging strike that forced Artur Boruc in to another save as Fiorentina soaked up a long spell of Milan pressure.
Milan thought they had taken the lead when Robinho gathered a Seedorf pass and finished well, but the goal was ruled out for offside. Still, Milan would not need to wait much longer, this time; the magic of Ibrahimovic left the Viola in awe. The languid number eleven controlled the a cross field pass with his back to goal ten yards out, before flicking the ball up and acrobatically volleying the ball in to the ground and towards the bottom corner to give Boruc no chance. It was a moment of genius from the mercurial striker that has seen him score in all of Milan’s last three games and takes his tally to ten for the season.
The goal just before the interval was cruel on Fiorentina who had battled hard for the majority of the first half and the deficit seemed to take a lot of energy out of their play as the game failed to spark in to life once proceedings resumed.
It took the introduction of Kevin Price-Boateng to inject some vigour in to the match as the Ghanaian began to ride challenges and drive the Rossoneri forward once again. Late in the game “Prince” directed a low shot towards the bottom corner, but again Boruc was on guard with a neat save that showcased his skills once again that has seen the Pole emphasise his reputation as one of Europe’s best goalkeepers since his move from Celtic.
There was to be once last chance for Fiorentina as Alberto Gilardino cut the ball back in to the path of the onrushing Adam Llajic who struck his shot early but Abbiati was equal to the Serbian’s effort in palming the shot to safety. Milan snubbed out any late push the visitors tried and ensured their fourth consecutive win and consolidated their position at the top of Serie A.