Friday, 9 September 2011

AC rescue point in lively opener

First half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Cassano rescued a point for the Italian Champions in a enthralling start to the Serie A season.

Early strikes from both of Lazio's new look centre forward pairing Miroslav Klose and Djibril Ciise looked to have given Lazio a shock victory at the San Siro, however a Ibrahimovic tap in and a Cassano header earned a share of the spoils for the Serie A champions.

Alberto Aquliani making his debut for the Rossenari should have given his new side the lead when well placed early on, however it was the Rome side who grabbed the early incentive via the German Klose.

Stefen Mauri did superbly to get a ball into the box under pressure from Luca Antonini, and Klose, with a superb first touch took the ball away from Alessandro Nesta, engineered some space in the Milan box to finish past Christian Abbiati. The finish was by no means world class, but the Italian keeper couldn't keep it out, and the goal gave Lazio a lead against the run of play.

The goal spurred Lazio on, and for 10 minutes AC Milan were all over the place, and Ciise, who was a consistent threat could have doubled Milan's trouble, only to put wide.

However Ciise's goal wasn't long in waiting as he headed home brilliantly to give Abbiati no chance whatsoever in the Milan goal.

An injury to Gennaro Gattuso saw Mark Van Bommel enter the fray and be it the change or the position Milan found them in, the Rossoneri responded brilliantly with two quick fire goals.

Their first goal was one of real quality, as Cassano, who had a quiet time with AC last year, played a superb one-two with Aquilani, before squaring the ball for the Swede Ibrahimovic who had the simplest of tasks to tap home from within the six yard box.

Kevin Prince Boateng, who on the whole had a quiet game for Milan, saw his shot from the edge of the area well saved by Albano Bizzarri, however from the resulting corner AC drew level. Aquilani's corner wasn't the best and Cassano at the near post headed past Bizzarri into the far corner. With neither post being marked by a Lazio player, the flicked header saw Cassano score his fifth league goal in the red and black of AC Milan.

The fourth goal of the match was the end of the chances in a brilliant first half in which neither side covered themselves in glory defensively, especially Milan who at times were very poor in allowing Lazio so frequent chances.

The second half failed to live up to the drama of the first half, with AC Milan dominating, however failing to have the cutting threat needed to get the winner.

Infact it was nearly Lazio that stole the points mid way through the half when the former Liverpool forward Ciise used his pace to get beyond the Milan defence and knock the ball past Abbiati only for Alessandro Nesta to somehow prevent the French striker from his second and Lazio's third.

Nesta prevents Ciise from giving Lazio all three points

Both Ibrahimovic and Boateng saw tame long range efforts easily saved by the impressive Bizzarri. The draw represented a fair result and both sides will probably be happy with a point.

Milan will need to improve defensively with two hard away games in both Europa and domestically up next in the form of the European Champions Barcelona and the Edison Cavani spearheaded Napoli, who will be boosted by the addition of Inter striker Goran Pandev for the visit of AC. Lazio themselves have Europe to contend with the visit of FC Vaslui, however a more difficult challenge awaits in Genoa who were very active in the Summer transfer window.

Antonio Cassano and Alberto Aquilani, AC Milan (Getty Images)
Both Cassano and Aquilani were key in Milans two goals

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