Marseille 1-2 AC Milan: Inzaghi Double Snatches The Points

Inzaghiii The legendary penalty box poacher earned Milan a hard-fought victory against a tough-tackling Marseille side.

Talk about a baptism of fire. Milan coach Leonardo walked into his first Champions League game at the helm of the Rossoneri to be confronted by heavy rain, a hostile and partisan crowd and one of the most improved sides on the continent.

And Marseille began the game in just the sort of highly energetic, ultra physical fashion that their coach Didier Deschamps would have asked for.

For the first ten minutes, Milan didn’t get to put their foot on the ball and weren’t allowed to settle as the French side did a passable impersonation of a Premier League team, all muscular drives from midfield, shoot-on-sight attitude and penalty area pinball.

Then the somewhat artless Milan began to show some class. Pirlo, Ambrosini and Seedorf began to slow things down in the middle of the park, passing backwards in order to go forward.

Just before the half hour mark, the Rossoneri finally got their reward. The increasingly impressive Seedorf skipped past a couple of challenges and sent a loopy, inch-perfect pass to the unmarked Inzaghi at the back post and the veteran goal-poacher beat the ‘keeper from a couple of yards out.

Milan looked to have doused the Marseille fire, although Storari did have to make his first meaningful save just a minute before half time.

It was a bit of a shock when Deschamps’ side came out in the second half like a team who had swallowed a lake full of isotonic drink. It must have felt like deja vu for Milan and they were immediately on the back foot just as they had been in the first period.

This time, however, the home side would get their reward.

After a sloppy foul from the still naive Pato, Cheyrou swung in a free-kick and Gabriel Heinze rose highest to fire a header between Storari’s legs for the equaliser.

The next 20 minutes were all about Milan weathering a storm as the home side threw everything they’ve had at the Rossoneri. It wasn’t subtle and certainly not pretty but Marseille are simply not that kind of side.

In the end, though, all the huffing and the puffing and the thumped crosses into the box amounted to not very much at all as on 72 minutes Seedorf again lifted a neat pass into the box and Inzaghi jabbed the ball home with the outside of his foot to score his 68th European goal.

A baptism of fire for Leonardo then, but he will be delighted that it was his side’s class that made the difference and snatched all three points. That, and the instinct and guile of one of the greatest goalscorers of all time.

Goal

~ by footballdirecta on September 16, 2009.

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