With resurgent Parma at the San Siro following Milan's late game collapse to Napoli, the pressure was on for a victory. Milan desperately wanted the points and a chance to climb back into Champions League contention.
On the other hand, Parma was eager to prove that they belonged with the Serie A elite while Alberto Paloschi was hoping to find the netting against his co-owners, AC Milan.
The opening minutes involved exchanges of possession with Gennaro Gattuso attempting to leave Parma intimidated with some overly aggressive and clumsy tacking.
With only ten minutes gone, Dzemaili hit the crossbar on a thunderous shot from outside the box. Dida barely got his fingertips on the ball, but it was enough to keep the shot out of the net.
Only a few minutes later, Ronaldinho cut towards the center of the field on the counterattack, drawing two defenders towards him. He slid a through ball to Borriello who calmly slotted a shot through Mirante’s legs for the opening tally.
With Milan still up by a goal, Dida made a commendable save on Bojinov’s header from 7 or 8 yards out.
Late in the half, Ronaldinho picked up an odd yellow card during a period of confusion when two balls were on the pitch. Unfortunately, the yellow was never properly explained.
With less than 10 minutes gone in the second half, Antonini appeared to have pulled a hamstring and was replaced by Zambrotta.
Milan held a lengthy possession inside the box, but Pirlo had his shot blocked and Seedorf had a low efffort saved by Mirante.
Morrone has now deliberately spiked Ronaldinho’s calf and faked a head injury when no contact was made to that area of his body. Most casual fans will find this display to be despicable, and unfortunately indicative of play in Serie A. If the officials don’t crack down on this type of play acting, Serie A will continue to encourage players into unsportsmanlike behavior.
With 30 minutes remaining, Dzemaili is subbed off for Amoruso. Parma switched to a 3-man forward line in hopes of generating more offense.
As Pato cut in between two Parma players, he was brought down in the box, but the referee did not see it as a penalty. In the last several games, Milan’s opposition have played Pato physically and at times, unscrupulously, but have largely got away with it.
With 15 minutes to play in the match, Paloschi found himself behind Milan’s back line. With a glorious touch to control the ball, he put his shot over a charging Dida and just over the bar. It looked like the equalizer was at hand.
Davide Lanzafame, on for a tiring Bojinov, sliced a nice shot to the near post, but Dida again came up big and deflected the shot wide.
Milan spent the remainder of the half holding possession for long spells, but rarely attempting to unlock Parma’s defense for the insurance goal. However, late in regular time, Thiago Silva made a surging run which resulted in a pass to Borriello and his header on the return pass clanging the crossbar. The suddenness of his foray forwards and the speed with which he got into the box was astounding.
With the game into extra time, Ronaldinho again cut towards the middle, skipped past two defenders and sent a right-footed cross to Borriello who connected with a scissor-kicked volley. The ball went to the low near post, and past the outstretched hand of Mirante. The brace by Borriello put Milan un 2-0 and sealed the victory.
Ronaldinho looked extremely effective in space and especially on the counterattack, while Seedorf again shone in possession. The lack of width in attack, by Parma, failed to exploit the Rossoneri’s main defensive weakness, the fullback position.
The win moved Milan up to 4th place in the table, and back into a coveted Champions League spot.
Milan kept with their successful 4-3-3 formation.
DEF: Oddo – Silva – Kaladze – Antonini
MID: Gattuso – Pirlo – Seedorf
FWD: Pato – Borriello – Ronaldinho
Parma played with a flat 4-4-2 formation.
DEF: Zaccardo – Dellafiore – Panucci – Lucarelli
MID: Lunardini – Morrone – Dzemaili – Galloppa
FWD: Paloschi – Bojinov