The opening 15 minutes was a more or less balanced game with both teams doing enough to cause trouble for the opposing team. Livorno were obviously not intimidated by their opposition, when in the 11th minute David Beckham was forced to make a last ditch tackle. Inside the 18th minute a corner resulted in three players going down, halting the game for several minutes, and from the replays it was evident that everyone was pulling at everyone else.
Contact in the area needs to be looked at closer as this incident proves. Two Livorno players and one Milan player were out of commission for several minutes because of players zeal to get to the ball, and accidents will happen. This also sheds some light on the refereeing decisions. Throughout the second half there were shouts for handball, off-side and rough tackling that were going on and not being noticed by the ref. This is because there are so many players and incidents for the ref to pay attention to that he will inadvertently miss something. This is maybe a cry out for video surveillance to be more prominent at games. People may drone on about how it will slow the game down, but all these stops by players either faking or just time wasting is doing the same. However, if they’re caught in action by video technology the right players can be penalised and it will cut down on time wasting.
As a result of the collisions in the box, Marco Borriello was slightly frazzled and not working as hard as he could. This however didn’t halt the Rossoneri’s attack and on 35 minutes a Ronaldinho screamer hit the post, while a couple minutes later Thiago Silva tried his luck at distance, but it was comfortable for the Livorno keeper in the end. The break did come just before half time when a floating ball from Beckham was fumbled by the keeper and Massimo Ambrosini pounced and scored Milan’s opener.
At half time Borriello was substituted for Klass Jan Huntelaar and in the 47th minute he showed how much he wanted to be on the field by having a shot on goal, though it was a comfortable save. In the 51st minute Huntelaar was at the receiving end of a brilliant pass by Clarence Seedorf, but he took the ball too far and again it was an easy save for the goalkeeper. This period of pressure by Milan had inspired Livorno because in the 53rd minute a shot from Claudio Bellucci was directed towards the goal by veteran Cristano Lucarelli. This had given Milan a sense of urgency, and there was a period of sustained pressure by the Milanese with Ignazio Abate going for goal but his strike was deflected around the post.
This was Milan’s opportunity to put pressure on league leaders Inter, who had their game against Parma postponed due to snow. It was not going in Milan’s favour and their calls for a late hand ball were also denied, which could’ve given them the opportunity to steal all three points. However, they leave the San Siro with just one point and remain eight points behind Inter, while Livorno are more than happy to leave with their much deserved share.