New Delhi: AC Milan and Torino shared a point each as the Rossoneri went behind to a goal from Roberto Stellone early on, but first half goals from Pato and Ronaldinho sent the Rossoneri in front, before constant Granata pressure in the second half paid off as the home side won a penalty and Alessandro Rosina converted it to make it 2-2.
Torino hosted Milan at the Stadio Olimpico di Torino on Sunday night in the last Serie A game of the weekend. Milan knew that after Inter's win in the derby D'Italia, they would have to win or lose serious ground to the current Italian leaders.
The Rossoneri were eager to produce a convincing performance after they struggled and then controversially beat Chievo 1-0 last week. Carlo Ancelotti’s side were galvanised by the return from injury of Andrea Pirlo. Torino were also desperate for some points this weekend as their 3-2 defeat at Catania last week left them just three points outside the relegation zone.
Milan got the play underway, with Andrea Pirlo in the starting eleven for the first time since his injury forced him out of action. Milan began the match in confident fashion, with skilful touches and accurate passing displaying the visitor’s superiority over the home side.
In the fourth minute Milan created a good chance after a team move, but Francesco Pratali was on hand to stop the danger. Torino’s star player Alessandro Rosina threatened a few times in the early exchanges, and was clearly the Granata’s most bright player from the get go.
Milan were keen to take shots from long range, and numerous players attempted to fool Sereni from distance. Torino followed the trend of the match and began to threaten with shots from outside the box. A long range effort from Blerim Dzemaili clipped the top of the bar and sent a wave of excitement around the stadium.
Torino shocked the visitors on 24 minutes by opening the scoring with a header from Roberto Stellone. Rosina’s creativity was the catalyst for the goal, with a fine cross from the left being met by a glancing header from Stellone to put the ball into the back of the net.
Milan responded three minutes later with an equaliser from Brazilian wonder kid Alexandre Pato. A great pass from Gattuso was controlled by the youngster and swept past Sereni into the Torino goal.
Milan were determined to go ahead in the encounter, and so they did on 34 minutes when a free kick was buried into the back of the net by Ronaldinho. A foul on Kaka at the edge of the area handed Milan a golden opportunity which they did not waste, as the Brazilian number 80 curved the ball beautifully into the top corner.
Milan continued to attack and press for yet another goal, but the Torino defence did well to keep them at bay and after a minute of injury time the referee sent the teams into the change rooms with the score at 2-1 for the Rossoneri.
The second half began with Milan putting the home side under pressure and dominating the midfield play with Gattuso and Pirlo working hard to win and retain possession. Within two minutes of the restart and great run from Pato nearly resulted in his second of the match, but his eventual shot from a tight angle went over the bar.
Two minutes later Dzemaili threatened to equalise with a wonderful strike from outside the area, but his effort went agonizingly wide of the post. Torino became dangerous and were constantly attacking and putting the Rossoneri in difficulty, but the Milan defence and the reflexes of Christian Abbiati were able to hold off the determined Granata offence, albeit with a bit of luck.
The pace of the play remained high for long periods of the second half, and a confident Torino constantly pushed forward in search of the equaliser, with Milan threatening with quick counter attacks and the corners that resulted.
In the 65th minute great passing play between Brazilians Kaka and Pato almost got the younger of the two on the score sheet again, but Sereni stood strong to deny the 19-year-old. Torino’s pressure was admirable, and the Granata kept Milan on the defensive for the majority of the second half.
In the 71st minute a dangerous cross from Rosina was floated into the Milan area and bounced invitingly along the six yard box before Ronaldinho cleared the danger. Five minutes later Torino were awarded a penalty after a cross from Rosina hit the outstretched arm of Kakha Kaladze. Rosino converted the spot kick, sending Abbiati the wrong way and making it 2-2 at the Olimpico.
Torino kept the pressure on the visiting Rossoneri, and the last ten minutes proved to be a nervous period for Carlo Ancelotti as an avalanche of Granata attacks needed determined defending and goalkeeping to keep the ball from bulging the net.
Milan were lucky not to concede in the last ten minutes of the match with a fiery Torino desperate to score the winner, but it was not to be, and a few minutes after a Ronaldinho free kick ballooned up into the stands the whistle was blown and the game ended with the score at two goals a piece.
Torino 2–2 Milan
Goals: Pato 29’, Ronaldinho 34’ (Milan) Stellone 25’, Rosina 76’ (Torino)
Torino: Sereni, Diana, Natali, Pratali, Rubin, Colombo, Dzemaili, Barone (Zanetti 71’), Rosina (Ogbonna 84’), Bianchi (Abbruscato 71’), Stellone.
Milan: Abbiati, Bonera, Maldini, Kaladze, Jankulovski, Gattuso (Shevchenko 79’), Pirlo (Emerson 73’), Seedorf, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Pato.
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