PALERMO 3 Bovo 9, Hernández 18, Miccoli 69
MILAN 1 Seedorf 55
Palermo preserved their unbeaten home record with a convincing win over a makeshift Milan side. The Sicilians are now only six points behind Milan and if they continue to play with the same desire and strength they have every chance of overtaking them. Milan was boosted by the return of the midfield maestro that is Andrea Pirlo, but still without Alexandre Pato, Marco Borriello, Alessandro Nesta, Mathieu Flamini, Kakha Kaladze, Giuseppe Favalli, Ignazio Abate and David Beckham. It was surprising that Palermo took so long to score – Cesare Bovo netted the first on nine minutes after atrocious defending by the Rossoneri. Bovo was unmarked from a corner and had the simple task of placing it in the back of the net.
Throughout the game the defending by Milan was awful, but not that surprising with Massimo Oddo at centre-back. Thiago Silva, who is 25-years-old, is still young and inexperienced to be holding the line for a club like Milan and Oddo, who has only started eight Serie A games, is not the best choice to strike up a partnership. The Rossoneri were unable to break through the Palermo defence fo long periods – probably through their unwillingness to use the width of the pitch, instead all of their attacks came straight down the middle making them predictable and easy to defend against as all the Palermo had to do was to get bodies behind the ball and just hit back on the counter, which they did with great success as Milan were lacking the legs to run back.
With both Borriello and Pato out injured, Milan had to make do with Klaas- Jan- Huntelaar in attack, who has only made cameo appearances all season, so it was no surprise that his shot on goal in the 24th minute was a weak attempt and showed that he lacked the confidence to hit the target with any real power. Another worrying sign from the Dutchman was his lack of familiarity with his teammates. This was on display a few times but most notably when he was standing in the way of a Ronaldinho shot on goal and inadvertently saved Palermo.
Abel Hernández, the 19-year-old, helped double Palermo’s lead when poor defending by Milan allowed him to get his shot in on the 18th minute after he took the ball away from Oddo with ease. With a 2-0 lead at half-time, they appeared comfortable to let Milan into the match, which almost gave them chances, but when a team is up by two goals they can afford to have all the bodies behind the ball and just catch the opposition on the counter. The match ended a resounding 3-1 to Palermo and Milan is all but mathematically out of the title race now.