El Shaarawy, Milan Use Man Advantage to Down Catania 3-1

Tim Fontenault@Tim_FontenaultCorrespondent INovember 30, 2012

El Shaarawy was the hero once again for Milan.
El Shaarawy was the hero once again for Milan.Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Stephan El Shaarawy does it again.

After AC Milan went down 1-0 early in the first half on a header from former Rossonero Nicola Legrottaglie, the Rossoneri recovered and, with the help of a Catania red card, downed Gli Elefanti 3-1.

Milan are now unbeaten in three straight matches in all competitions and ended the month of November with only one loss.

Things are starting to turn around for a Milan team that struggled to find an identity after the summer cleansing of the squad.

That identity has now emerged in the form of a 20-year-old Egyptian-Italian who is taking the world by storm.

Stephan El Shaarawy once again led the Milan attack, scoring twice in the second half to run his total to 12 in Serie A this season, putting him four goals ahead of Lazio's Miroslav Klose in the race to win the Capocannoniere title as the league's top scorer.

Combined with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Capocannoniere title last season, a victory by El Shaarawy this year would mark the first time Milan won the title back-to-back since Gunnar Nordahl won the title three years in a row from 1953-1955.

Milan came out flat in the first half at the Angelo Massimino. Legrottaglie's goal came off a corner kick on which Milan's defenders were nowhere to be found. It seemed that the good fortune Milan had in the first few matches without captain Daniele Bonera was coming to an end.

However, after halftime, when it is reported that CEO Adriano Galliani visited the struggling side, Milan went into top gear.

Milan found themselves on the advantage four minutes into the second half, when Catania's Pablo Barrientos was sent off for swiping at the legs of Antonio Nocerino, who no longer had the ball.

Four minutes later, El Shaarawy picked up his 11th goal of the season, blasting a point-blank shot into the top of the net, despite reasonable cries for offsides from the Catania defense.

Milan found their stride with that goal, and they added to the tally three minutes later, when Kevin-Prince Boateng—who finally somewhat resembled the Boateng of 2010–mid-2012—danced away from the Catania defenders near the half circle and curled in a 20-yard bender for his first goal of the season.

Milan continued to press the issue for the rest of the half, but Catania did well to keep the Rossoneri at bay. Milan did themselves no favors either, missing at least two great opportunities to put the match to rest.

Catania thought they would have a sliver of hope during the five minutes of extra time after Boateng was sent off in the 90th minute for a challenge from behind.

However, any false hope Catania had quickly disappeared, when El Shaarawy was left wide open on the left side of the box, and doing his best impersonation of David Villa, the 20-year-old curled the ball around goalkeeper Mariano Andujar, off the post and into the net.

Milan will next be in action on Tuesday when they complete the Group Stage of the Champions League against Zenit St. Petersburg at the San Siro.


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