Milan 2-1 Roma: Dinho And Pato Down Roma
Milan were looking to put their recent troubles behind them as they welcomed Roma to the San Siro for the Serie A weekend posticipo.
The visitors took just two minutes to find an opener when Jeremy Menez made the most of a sloppy back pass to fire home from six yards. The Rossoneri came fighting back but looked extremely exposed as the Giallorossi continued to threaten on the counter attack.
Ronaldinho levelled the scoring shortly after the re-start as Milan were handed a lifeline from the spot. Alexandre Pato then silenced his critics as he rounded the keeper in spectacular fashion to gift the Rossoneri the lead with 20 minutes to go.
Despite being reduced to ten men in the final stages, the Rossoneri held out for the three points to ease the pressure surrounding their rookie coach.
Roma came storming out the blocks and took just 120 seconds to break the deadlock. After a scuffed back pass from Thiago Silva, Menez found himself clear on goal and he wasted nothing as he smashed the ball past a helpless Dida in the Milan goal.
The Rossoneri eventually picked themselves up after their torrid opening and on 15 minutes Andrea Pirlo tested Doni with a curling free kick from the edge of the box. The Brazilian stopper took no chances as he punched the ball clear with a number of players looming to knock it goalbound.
Just moments later Pato was set through on goal by Thiago Silva. The young Brazilian failed to take the ball in his stride however, and Doni made a quick intervention to deny his fellow countryman a great opportunity to level.
On 22 minutes the visitors almost doubled their lead when Daniele De Rossi fired a great effort towards the far post from 18 yards. The Giallorossi were denied this time by a prompt Dida, who tipped the ball wide with an outstretched arm.
Milan continued to charge forward despite Roma’s obvious threat on the counter-attack. Combined with both side’s poor ball retention, it made for great viewing as the Rossoneri looked to find a way back into the match.
Just minutes before the break the Lupi wasted a chance to go two up. Mirko Vucinic was sent through on goal by Menez and with Simone Perrotta free in the middle, the Montenegrin opted to shoot straight at the feet of a well placed Dida.
After the re-start Leonardo opted to throw on Filippo Inzaghi to give the Rossoneri some added clout up top. The hitman almost repaid his coach with an immediate equaliser as he headed a corner goalbound, only to see the effort cleared off the line by Nicolas Burdisso.
Milan were given a golden chance to get back into the match on 56 minutes when Burdisso made a rash challenge on Nesta inside the box, to gift the Rossoneri a chance for 12 yards. Ronaldinho stepped up for the subsequent penalty, and the Brazilian made no mistakes as he smashed the ball to the right of Doni.
On 63 minutes the home side should have taken the lead when Pato layed a wonderful ball square to Clarence Seedorf inside the box. The Dutchman took a great first touch but he could round off the move as he sprayed his shot just wide of the far post.
Just three minutes later however the Rossoneri went in front when Pato rounded two men and fired home in spectacular fashion. After taking down a great cross field pass from Ronaldinho on his chest, the Brazilian skipped past Riise and then rounded Doni to smash the ball into an unguarded net.
With ten minutes to go the Diavoli were left in ten when Massimo Ambrosini was sent off after picking up his second yellow for leading with an elbow.
The visitors looked to make their numerical advantage count as they came firing forward in the dying minutes in search of an equaliser.
Despite a number of quick breaks forward however, the Lupi failed to carve out any clear cut chances as the game became ever scrappier.
Leonardo’s men held out for a well needed victory, which could prove perfect preparation for their midweek Champions League clash against Real Madrid.