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Ibrahimovic's Magnificent Goal Not Enough to Defeat Lecce

LECCE, ITALY - JANUARY 16:  Ruben Olivera of Lecce celebrates after scoring the goal 1-1 during the Serie A match between Lecce and Milan at Stadio Via del Mare on January 16, 2011 in Lecce, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images
Niccolo ConteContributor IJanuary 16, 2011

AC Milan played like kings at the top of the Serie A. Although they lost to Roma before the winter break, the rossoneri feared nothing. But away against Lecce, Milan were a shadow of themselves. 

The first half saw a radiant Lecce side defend with staggering patience against the rossoneri. Massimiliano Allegri's team was without shape, a thin and static group of players unable to break down the red and yellow wall before them. Lecce warded off the Milan attacks easily because they weren't being stretched out, AC Milan lacked an industrious forward who could spread himself to the wings and therefore spread the defence. 

Lecce were much more dangerous than their opponents, countering AC Milan's feeble attacks with fast-paced movements. While Lecce played as a team, Milan were misplacing passes and frustrating themselves. Massimiliano Allegri wrung his hands with worry, waiting for the halftime whistle.

Just four minutes into the second half a split-second of distraction by the Lecce defence lead to Ibrahimovic's legendary goal. Without even looking the Swede produced a magnificent volley from long-range, looping over the Lecce keeper into the far top corner. It is certainly best goal I've seen this season, and is probably among the best ever.

After that mythical goal, Lecce went back to working hard. The defence suffocated any other chances Milan tried to create, and the home side slowly accumulated momentum pushing forward. Amelia was forced to make a breathtaking save, but Lecce continued, forever desirous for the equalizer. It came in the 82nd minute, the brilliant Olivera left unmarked during a corner with the freedom to smack the ball past Amelia.

The final minutes were exhilarating. A furious Milan side over-committing in attack, leaving themselves open to Lecce's lightning transitions. The match finished 1-1, with Milan lucky to leave with a point, and Lecce proud of their strong showing against the league leaders.

No matter how many magical strikes Ibrahimovic produces, the team spirit at AC Milan fails to rise. While Olivera, Di Michele and Jeda broke down the Milan defence together, Ibrahimovic was the only reason Milan managed to score a goal. AC Milan has now conceded four points in their last two matches, if they continue like this, they'll be giving the scudetto away.

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