Monday, 8 December 2008

Kaka Give Magic Againts Catania

Milan 1–0 Catania

Kaka Gives Milan Win Over Catania
Milan hosted Sicilians Catania this weekend, with the visitors having had a great season thus far, and had they won at home to Lecce last week they would have entered the top four. Milan's biggest problem at the moment has been the fact that their form has not been very good lately.

The Rossoneri lost at home to Lazio in the Italian cup a few day ago, and they were beaten 3-1 at another Sicilian team, Palermo last weekend. Prior to that they had drawn 2-2 at both Torino and Portsmouth in the League and UEFA Cup respectively.

Carlo Ancelotti's side needed a morale boosting win in this encounter, while Walter Zenga was aiming for a positive result away in the North of Italy.

First Half

The match kicked off at the San Siro, with Milan captain Paolo Maldini celebrating a staggering 619 Serie A appearances for the Rossoneri. The game began at a slow pace, with both sides passing the ball around in midfield and moving forward slowly.

The first real opportunity of the match fell to Milan in the 5th minute as a low cross from Kaka found the head of Andriy Shevchenko in the box, but his attempt went just over the bar. Three minutes later Milan were at it again, and a break through from Alexandre Pato saw the young Brazilian run towards goal before trying to give a through ball across to Shevchenko, but the Catania defence did well to cut out the pass.

In the 10th minute the Rossoneri continued to pile on the early pressure, and a free kick from Pato was almost turned into the goal from Maldini, requiring the fingertips of Bizzari in the Catania net to save what would have been the opening goal. Catania responded to the constant Milan attacking pressure a minute later, and they almost went ahead after their top scorer Giuseppe Mascara hit the post with a shot from outside the area.

The early stages were characterized by a number of good chances for the hosts to score, while Catania had a few opportunities on the counter attack. Attempts from Kaka and Emerson kept Bizzari on his toes. On 22 minutes yet the home side created another chance, when a good move down the right ended with a Kaka rocket that required another great save from the Catania keeper.

A clean entertaining game continued to prevail, with Milan pushing forward in search of the goal that would break the deadlock. In the 36th minute the Rossoneri wasted a great chance to take control of the match, but a great one two between Kaka and Shevchenko ending with the final pass being intercepted and put wide for a corner.

With two minutes left on the clock before the half time break Catania attempted a long range effort through Biagianti, but it lacked power and caused no problems for Abbiati.

A minute later a Jankulovski tried a powerful angled shot from the left, but Bizzari held strong, keeping Catania on level footing with their more illustrious opponents. The first half ended goalless.

Second Half

The second half began brightly for the Rossneri, and a shot from Kaka a minute after the restart signaled Milan’s intentions clearly.

The home side continued to apply pressure, aware that the three points in this game would bring find them within six points of leaders Inter Milan. Early long range efforts from Kaka and Gianluca Zambrotta did not trouble the Catania back line.

Gennaro Gattuso was a lion in midfield, keeping the Sicilians from creating any threatening opportunities, with the only attempts coming courtesy of sporadic counter attacks. In the 55th minute an acrobatic effort from Paolucci went high of Abbiati’s goal.

On 60 minutes a relatively quiet Kaka dribbled three players before being stopped at the edge of the box. Milan’s pressure with any reward was beginning to infuriate the San Siro crowd, with some sections whistling after missed opportunities.

Three minutes later Milan won a free kick and the resulting pile driver from Pato demanded the best of saves from the incredible Bizzari. Milan’s pressure eventually paid off and in the 65th minute a header from Kaka went into the back of the net following a slight deflection from Stovini. Milan gained in confidence and the boost allowed them to push forward with added fervor.

In the 70th minute the ball fell for Flamini on the edge of the Catania area, and the Frenchman’s shot was cruelly deflected agonizingly wide of the post. Two minutes later Milan were on the hunt for their second after Kaka and Pato broke free and pushed towards goal. Kaka ran down the left, and his cross went just out of reach for both Jankulovski and Shevchenko.

In the 74th minute Catania were dangerous and Abbiati had to be awake to deny Mascara’s header from bulging the back of the net. A few minutes later Flamini hit a left foot rocket in the Catania area but Bizzari was equal to the effort.

With twelve minutes left on the clock Kaka unleashed a stunning long range curler, but his effort went just over the bar. On 82 minutes a great ball into the area from Kaka found Pato, but his control let him down and Bizzari pounced onto the loose ball.

The last few minutes were quiet for Milan, with Catania beginning to come back into the match with last minute pressure not producing anything for the visitors, despite a possible hand ball in the box from Kaladze not considered voluntary by the official. After two minutes of injury time the referee ended the game with the score at 1-0 for the Rossoneri.


GOALS: Kaka 65’

MILAN: Abbiati, Zambrotta, Kaladze, Maldini, Jankulovski, Gattuso, Emerson (Favalli 46’), Flamini, Kaka, Shevchenko (Antonini 81’), Pato.

CATANIA: Bizzari, Stovini, Silvestri, Terlizzi (Tedesco 63’), Sabato, Ledesma, Carboni, Biagianti (Plasmati 68’), Sardo, Mascara, Paolucci (Martinez 74’).

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