It was a long shot, but AC Milan remained in the 2009 Serie A title hunt going into Saturday's contest at Udinese. Those hopes were quickly dashed by a more aggressive and offensive-minded home side.
Gaetano D'Agostino scored the first goal off of a penalty kick (31'), and Christian Zapata blasted home a second half goal (49') when AC Milan failed to clear a corner, taking the match, 2-1.
It is Udinese's first home win against AC Milan since 2003. The victory keeps them close to a qualifying spot for the European play next season.
The game saw a juxtaposition of styles; while AC Milan controlled possession most of the game, Udinese took full advantage of its touches on offense. The home side tallied 26 shots, nine of which were on target. AC Milan, despite their number of possessions, only managed three quality shots on goal.
Milan certainly fulfilled the Italian stereotype of "possession football." Their opponents, on the other hand, provided a more entertaining brand of physical play on defense coupled with an opportunistic, insatiable desire on offense.
Udinese proved the aggressor all game. Its counter-attacks highlighted the club's exceptional speed and often left AC Milan players trailing after an interception. Defensively, they closed down well and were not afraid of the referee's potential reprimands.
Milan's attempt at offside traps proved futile as a host of Udinese attackers gained clean shots on goal throughout the first half. If it hadn't been for the timely play of Milan goalie, Dida, the Zebrette might have netted three or four more.
The Red-Blacks lone strike came too late when Massimo Ambrosini scored (90') a header off of a superb, arching Kaka cross that placed itself perfectly at the Italian midfielder's head.
Stoppage time did not slow down Udinese, however, as Fabio Quagliarella narrowly missed on the game's final shot attempt, hitting the left post.
The win secures Inter Milan the Serie A title, which is their first under Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho. More importantly it is the club's fourth consecutive title. This makes seventeen total Italian championships for Inter, which ties them for second most in Italian football history with their derby counterparts, AC Milan.
With rumors already circulating concerning the sale of Brazilian star, Kaka, it is sure to be a long summer for AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi. Only time will tell if it will be a summer of discontent or one of new, burgeoning hope going into the 2009-2010 season.
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