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The Archive

November 2004

Kaka: "We're the best"
30.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus may be at the top of the League but Kaka insists Milan are still the best team in Italy.

"Milan are stronger than Juve," said the Brazilian. "Both are great sides but we are better than the Bianconeri.

"I can say that because I train with my teammates everyday and I know what potential we have in Italy and in Europe."

The Turin giants have made an exceptional start to the campaign and are currently four points clear of Milan.

"We need to try to reduce that gap as much as possible ahead of our game against them in December," continued the attacking midfielder.

"Milan are in some good form right now and so am I too. I’ve felt that I’ve played well in the last two games."

Kaka was heavily criticised by some earlier this term after failing to live up to his outstanding potential.

"I wasn’t worried because it isn’t always possible to play at the highest levels," the South American maintains.

"I’ve had to make slight changes to my game in order to improve but I’m happy with how things are going."

Platini snubs Golden Shev
30.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus great Michel Platini claims that Andriy Shevchenko doesn’t deserve to win the Golden Ball.

The Milan ace is being widely tipped to be named as the European Footballer of the Year but Platini disagrees.

The Frenchman maintains that Deco’s achievements with Porto and Portugal in 2004 merit recognition.

"I would give it to the Barcelona player," stated the three times winner. "Especially when you consider what he has won.

"Winning trophies is the only valid criteria to really judge who deserves to net the award."

Deco won the Portuguese title and the European Cup before his big money move to Spain.

Meanwhile, Platini also commented on the fortunes of his former club Juventus. "They got their transfer campaign right," he stated.

"They also have a great Coach in Fabio Capello so they are favourites to win Lo Scudetto. The Milan clubs are playing well but Juve are too good."

Platini was then asked whether he could one-day return to Juventus to work as a club official.

"I don’t think it is possible to have two relationships with the same lover," he replied.

The legendary No 10 was also quizzed on comparisons between himself and Milan ace Kaka.

"We are two different players," he explained. "I was more of a playmaker, whereas Kaka can play at speed. I don’t think we are similar."

Sheva up for FIFA award
29.11 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan ace Andriy Shevchenko is on the three-man shortlist for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

The Ukrainian striker has enjoyed a stunning 2004 and is now in contention with Ronaldino of Barcelona and Arsenal’s Thierry Henry for the honour.

Shevchenko has found the net with consistency for both club and country, ending the last campaign as the Serie A top scorer.

The winner will be announced on December 20 at FIFA’s World Player Gala at Zurich's Opera house.

In the past, national bosses voted for the winner but the sport’s world governing body have changed the system this year.

Male and female captains of every national team will be eligible to vote along with their tacticians, plus FIPRO – the global body for professional players.

Former Juve star Zinedine Zidane won the honour last year but this is the first time since 1999 that no Real Madrid players are included in the final three-man list.

Ronaldinho opens Milan door
29.11 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona ace Ronaldinho has fuelled speculation that he could be set for a future move to Milan.

The Brazilian is known to have real admirers at the San Siro and he’s admitted that the Italian side attract him.

"I like Milan because there are many of my friends there like Dida, Cafu, Kaka and Serginho," he’s quoted by the ‘Controcampo’ newspaper as saying.

But would Ronaldino fit in with the Rossoneri, given that the Scudetto holders already have Kaka on their books?

"It isn’t true to say that Kaka and myself can’t co-exist," stated the international, who added that he’s happy with life at the Nou Camp.

"We play together for Brazil where we have shown that we can be fielded simultaneously without any problems."

Meanwhile, former Milan boss Arrigo Sacchi is today being linked with a sensational – if unlikely – move to Spain.

The Parma official is apparently a contender to be appointed as the next boss of European giants Real Madrid.

President Florentino Perez is understood to have the name of the former Italian national tactician on his shortlist to succeed Garcia Remon.

Chievo Verona 0:1 AC Milan - report
28.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Crespo 50 (M)

Hernan Crespo scored his fourth goal in three games - and three different competitions - to keep Milan snapping on Juve's heels.

The Rossoneri have the opportunity to close in on leaders Juventus this weekend with the Derby d'Italia, but first they faced a tricky trip to the Stadio Bentegodi. Once again, Hernan Crespo was the only healthy striker available as Andriy Shevchenko, Jon Dahl Tomasson and Pippo Inzaghi are out injured. The Argentine has scored three goals in his last games between the Coppa Italia and Champions' League, so he was hoping to break his Serie A duck as well.

Chievo also had problems upfront, as Amauri is suspended, Federico Cossato and Sergio Pellissier struggling with minor injuries, but the hitman was able to start. It was a particularly special occasion for Coach Mario Beretta - a lifelong Milan fan.

The first shot on goal came after six minutes when Kaka's piledriver was smothered on the second attempt by Luca Marchegiani, then Manuel Rui Costa's effort was saved and Massimo Ambrosini nodded Marcos Cafu's cross wide.

Chievo were also dangerous when crucial challenges from Alessandro Nesta and Massimo Ambrosini were required on Cossato and Matteo Brighi inside the area.

It was a more open game as the first half wore on, as Crespo's volley was just wide, then Roberto Baronio's curling free kick went round the wall and past Dida, but the Milan goalkeeper was saved by the woodwork.

The Flying Donkeys hit the frame of the goal for the second time in a couple of minutes with Simone Tiribocchi's fierce strike after Cossato's smart lay-off.

Marchegiani did well to stop Rui Costa's deflected effort, then Seedorf sprung the offside trap on Kaka's fine pass and the veteran goalkeeper fingertipped it round the post from eight yards.

Cossato attempted to backheel Marco Malago's cross into the net, but couldn't quite get himself prepared in time.

Crespo has well and truly broken through his crisis, scoring his first Serie A goal with a Milan jersey moments after the restart. He combined with Kaka' and a lucky deflection left him free to sweep home from just inside the box.

The former Chelsea star had been bitterly criticised since his summer move, but has now scored in all three competitions over the last seven days.

Dida performed a magnificent save on Baronio's free kick, as it took a massive deflection off Seedorf and the Brazilian did well to change direction mid-air.

The goalkeeper was again decisive on Baronio's set-piece, then Mandelli's sliding tackle stopped Crespo turning in Kaka's low cross.

Chievo: Marchegiani; Moro, Mandelli, D'Anna, Lanna; Semioli, Baronio (Zanchetta 80), Brighi, Malagň (Luciano 72); Tiribocchi (Pellissier 57), Cossato

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Dhorasoo, Ambrosini, Seedorf (Gattuso 78); Rui Costa (Pirlo 86), Kakŕ; Crespo

Ref: Collina

Maldini puts faith in Inter
27.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

For the first time in his life, Paolo Maldini admits he is cheering on Inter against Juventus, while the Rossoneri captain congratulates Andriy Shevchenko.

“It really is Inter’s last chance to make their mark on this Scudetto race, while Juve are the most solid team in the division right now,” he said ahead of Sunday’s showdown. “Obviously we hope the Nerazzurri will do us a favour and win, but I don’t think I could ever say ‘Forza Inter!’”

Milan fans will find themselves supporting their archrivals this weekend in a bid to cut the six-point gap separating them from the leaders, but first they must get the better of Chievo.

“On paper we are favourites, but paper is so often torn up. The only Serie A match we’ve lost this season has been against newly promoted Messina, who were expected to lose at the San Siro, I really think that with so many games now absolutely nothing can be taken for granted.”

Chievo are also doing well in their own right and in fifth place, so a positive result in Verona is more than possible for the Flying Donkeys.

Milan are also stepping up a gear and their 4-0 demolition of Shakhtar Donetsk midweek will have boosted confidence, especially for Hernan Crespo and Kaka.

“Kaka takes so many risks to create something different for the team and that’s the way we like him,” continued Maldini. “We were all happy for Crespo and hope he can now break his duck in Serie A as well. The whole team has a long way to go, as so far I don’t think we’ve played an entire 90 minutes to the best of our abilities.”

Maldini is among the contenders for the prestigious Balon d’Or, but according to the latest reports his teammate Andriy Shevchenko has triumphed ahead of Deco and Ronaldinho.

“I would be only too happy if Sheva won the trophy,” smiled the veteran who is yet to pick up this award during a long and successful career. “He deserves it and the other names mentioned are not up to his standard.”

New Sheva injury scare
27.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko looks set to miss Milan’s games against Chievo and possibly Parma after tests showed his thigh problem has not healed.

The Ukrainian suffered the muscular strain during the 1-1 draw with Roma on November 7 and has struggled on despite the pain, scoring braces in the Serie A win over Siena and on international duty in Turkey.

However, tests today highlighted a small tear in the left thigh muscle and medical staff are suggesting he be rested for the next week or more.

“Shevchenko and Jon Dahl Tomasson are not ready to play this weekend,” confessed Coach Carlo Ancelotti. “It’s nothing serious and both will be available against Parma. Everyone should relax, there is nothing to worry about.”

Newspapers are nonetheless suggesting this injury would rule the Balon d’Or candidate out of important clashes with Chievo and Parma, as well as the Champions’ League trip to Scotland. Although the Rossoneri are already qualified for the knockout round, the top of the Group is still up for grabs with Barcelona.

Tomasson is also battling injury and Pippo Inzaghi is out for several months following surgery, but Hernan Crespo’s much improved form has given Carlo Ancelotti the option of allowing Shevchenko to recover.

The Argentine has hit back at his critics with three goals in two games against Palermo and Shakhtar Donetsk over the last week and hopes to break his Serie A duck as well this weekend.

“It gives me great pleasure to be able to thank those who had faith in me during these difficult first few months,” the former Chelsea star told the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’.

“This club is incredible and their organisation means you are free to concentrate only on hard work. Nothing is left to chance and in the tough times I knew that the medical and technical staff helped me through with a smile. Now the results are beginning to show.”

Sheva to win Golden Ball?
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Reports in Italy suggest that Andriy Shevchenko is set to beat rivals Ronaldinho and Deco to this year’s Golden Ball.

According to respected Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport the Ukrainian international has an unassailable lead over his Portuguese and Brazilian rivals.

“I don’t live for the Golden Ball,” insisted Sheva. “But if I don’t win it this year then I don’t know what more I have to do. If I do win it, then I will be very happy.”

Shevchenko helped Milan win Serie A last season by finishing Capocannoniere with 24 goals. He also scored his 100th League goal against Siena recently.

The competition, which is judged by France Football, was won last year by Juve’s Czech star Pavel Nedved.

If Shevchenko does pick up the coveted trophy, it will be the first time that two players from Eastern European countries have won the award in consecutive seasons.

Chievo vs. AC Milan - match preview
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have a good opportunity to close the gap on leaders Juventus, but face a tough task at the Stadio Bentegodi.

Andriy Shevchenko’s return from injury made an immediate impact with his brace to beat Siena, but Hernan Crespo finally grabbed his first official goal for the club in the Coppa Italia this week. The Argentine hopes that will kick-start his season in Serie A as well and should partner Sheva with support from Manuel Rui Costa, as Kaka is struggling with a muscular problem.

Chievo have been stuttering of late, but ended their own goal drought by scoring three in their last two games against Brescia and Parma. Brazilian hitman Amauri is suspended and Federico Cossato still battling a knee injury, so Simone Tiribocchi will probably start alongside Sergio Pellissier.

Chievo (probable): Marchegiani; Moro, Mandelli, D’Anna, Lanna; Semioli, Brighi, Baronio, Franceschini; Tiribocchi, Pellissier

Milan (probable): Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Rui Costa; Crespo, Shevchenko

Ancelotti silences critics
25.11 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti and his players are beaming after a confident demolition of Shakhtar, but refuse to take the second round draw for granted.

“We took a long time to get through because Shakhtar held possession well in midfield and we weren’t pressuring them enough,” explained the Coach after a stuttering first half.

“Once we increased that squeeze on them and the goal arrived, the team relaxed and performed brilliantly with pace.”

Milan were under increasing pressure soon after the restart, but Hernan Crespo and Kaka struck twice each for the final 4-0 scoreline despite an injury crisis.

“Everyone gave a fine contribution to this result, especially Crespo and Manuel Rui Costa, so I have a large group of players who can raise the team above the rest.”

Kaka was particularly impressive and bagged a brace to silence those critics who claimed he was a shadow of his former self.

“Those who expect Kaka to do as well as last season are ignoring the hard work he has done so far,” insisted Ancelotti. “We hope these two goals will help quieten a few of those critics.”

The tactician’s faith in former Chelsea man Crespo has also been confirmed with his third goal in two competitive games after he finally broke his duck in the Coppa Italia this week.

“I hope I was right when I said once Crespo starts scoring, he doesn’t stop. Taking that weight off his shoulders will help him find form quickly and you can clearly see his confidence is boosted by the way he moves.”

Milan will be in the unusual position of supporting Inter on Sunday night when they face Serie A leaders Juventus.

“Inter are our cousins and every now and then we must cheer them on!” smiled the Coach. “That is an important game for Milan, but above all for the Nerazzurri and they need to get that victory.”

Kaka also commented on those newspaper and media critics who said he had lost his golden touch this year.

“I am a Trequartista and like to play in a deep role where I can help others to score. If I hit the target then it’s a bonus, but it really isn’t my job to be a hitman. I know I am playing well and the club has faith in me, so I have never been concerned at my poor scoring rate this season.”

The Rossoneri’s first half performance did not raise hopes of a 4-0 rout, but Kaka insists football is more complicated than that.

“In all games you need patience for 90 minutes and today we proved that by scoring four goals after a difficult first half.”

Milan and Barcelona are now through to the knockout round, but Vice-President Adriano Galliani isn’t getting too excited about topping the Group after the Spaniards’ shock home draw with Celtic.

“Considering last season I jumped for joy when I saw we’d drawn Deportivo and the lower half of the table, I will keep incredibly quiet about the draw this time!”

A 4-0 defeat in La Coruna saw the Rossoneri crash out of the competition after a 4-1 victory at the San Siro.

CL: AC Milan 4 - 0 S Donetsk
24.11 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Kaka 52, 92 (M), Crespo 53, 84 (M)
San Siro

Hernan Crespo has truly broken through his bad patch with a brace as the Rossoneri beat Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 to reach the Quarter-Finals.

Injuries to Andriy Shevchenko, Jon Dahl Tomasson and the long-term troubles of Pippo Inzaghi meant that Carlo Ancelotti had little choice but to field a 4-3-2-1 system with Hernan Crespo as their only fully fit striker.

A point would be enough to ensure Milan qualified for the knockout stage, but ex-Inter boss Mircea Lucescu's Shakhtar Donetsk were also still in the running. Their last meeting was a 1-0 Rossoneri victory in the Ukraine thanks to Clarence Seedorf's late strike.

Ancelotti warned they would not go for a draw and that became clear after 90 seconds when Crespo held the ball up for Gennaro Gattuso's shot to be closed down. It was a fiery game and within four minutes both sides had a man booked.

Manuel Rui Costa combined beautifully with Crespo on the edge of the box and his fierce shot was palmed over the bar by an acrobatic Lastuvka save.

Soon after the Portuguese star couldn't quite turn in the box, then Kaka nodded Marcos Cafu's cross over the bar from seven yards and the goalkeeper rushed off his line to anticipate the Brazilian as he ran on to Seedorf's long pass.

Kaka was beginning to exert an influence and he combined with a delightful Seedorf backheel only for a perfectly timed and decisive Batista challenge in the box to curtail his run.

Shakhtar had a good chance on the half-hour mark, but Brandao's diving header was wayward, then the ball bounced around the penalty area and Dida did well to smother Duljal's toe-poke from six yards.

The visitors were gaining in confidence and a powerful drive from former Brescia midfielder Francelino Matuzalem was fingertipped round the post with Dida at full stretch.

Long-range efforts from Rui Costa and Kaka failed to really trouble Lastuvka, while Dida comfortably held Agahowa's strike. Rui Costa almost took full advantage of a defensive error on the stroke of half-time, but pulled the finish wide.

Milan were evidently distracted coming out of the break, as within seconds Agahowa was clean through and somehow blasted wide from a central position.

Moments later Dida scrambled across goal to push Matuzalem's snapshot round the post as Shakhtar poured forward with venom after Lucescu's half-time talk.

Donetsk's timid penalty appeals were waved away when Billy Costacurta blocked Agahowa's path, then Milan hit back and Lastuvka was quick to close down Marcos Cafu.

The move continued and Rui Costa's delightful chipped pass found Cafu, he crossed it in for Kaka's brave diving header to give the Rossoneri a precious lead.

Shakhtar fell to pieces after this shock and 60 seconds later Rui Costa threaded through for Crespo to spring the offside trap and waltz round the goalkeeper for 2-0.

It has been a special week for the former Chelsea star, who scored his first official goal for Milan in Saturday's Coppa Italia tie against Palermo and seems to have broken through his psychological block. He has also entered the history books by becoming the first player to score in the Champions' League with five different clubs: Parma, Lazio, Inter, Chelsea and Milan.

It was obvious his confidence was back, as Crespo's spectacular bicycle-kick on a deflected Rui Costa shot was just pushed out by a stunning reaction save from Lastuvka.

It was turning into a siege and Crespo skipped past a defender to cut back for Seedorf and the Dutchman's strike was again kept out by the talented Shakhtar shot-stopper.

Dida was concentrated on a long-range Vukic strike, but it was all Milan now and substitute Massimo Ambrosini's shot was charged down following another fine Rui Costa assist.

Even Paolo Maldini had a good scoring opportunity when he just failed to get on the end of Seedorf's cross, but Crespo was behind him and couldn't quite complete his turn.

Kaka was one on one with the goalkeeper, but was halted for an incorrect offside decision.

The third goal was always threatened and Kaka skipped past two defenders, Seedorf's header was kept out by a goalline clearance, but Shakhtar could do nothing on Crespo's follow-up.

It still wasn't over, as Vikash Dhorasoo sent Kaka through the centre and the Brazilian did the rest, leaving two defenders standing and placing his finish under the 'keeper's legs for 4-0.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Costacurta; Gattuso (Brocchi 83), Pirlo (Ambrosini 71), Seedorf; Kakŕ, Rui Costa (Dhorasoo 79); Crespo

Shakhtar Donetsk: Lastuvka; Stoican, Hubschmann, Lewandowski, Srna; Batista (Vorobey 62), Duljaj, Matuzalem; Agahowa (Marica 62), Vukic (Pukanych 80), Brandao

Ref: De Bleeckere (Bel)

Ancelotti demands Milan victory
23.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Although a point will be enough for qualification, Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti is demanding a victory against Shakhtar Donetsk.

"It is our objective to not only qualify for the knock-out stages but to do so by winning the group," he stated ahead of tomorrow’s Champions’ League game.

"I would like to see us put on a similar performance to the one when we beat Barcelona at the San Siro."

Milan and Barca currently share top spot in Group F after collecting nine points from four games so far.

The Rossoneri have already beaten their Ukrainian opponents 1-0 this term and the Coach is confident they can pick up three more points.

"I don’t think they’ve changed that much since our first meeting," he added. "They are a side who like to play good football.

"We were a little tentative when we travelled to the Ukraine but I think we will be in a better frame of mind tomorrow."

Milan’s goalscoring hopes are set to fall on Hernan Crespo given the fitness problems of Andriy Shevchenko and Jon Dahl Tomasson.

"I don’t consider our decision to sign Crespo as a gamble," noted the tactician. "Hernan has great quality and he’s getting over his initial problems."

What about the disappointing form of Kaka? "I think he just needs to continue with what he is doing," defended Ancelotti.

"He isn’t finished as a player even if he is going through some highs and lows at this moment in time. If he plays then I hope he does well."

Max ponders Milan exit
23.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Ambrosini is considering leaving Italian champions Milan at the end of the season.

Although he’s been with the Rossoneri for nine years, the Italian international is struggling for a regular first team shirt.

"I can’t be happy with this situation as I have rarely featured so far," he told the Corriere dello Sport newspaper.

"Nevertheless, I know that the competition for places will always be very tough at a club like this.

"I regularly think about my future and I’ve already spoken to the club officials about it given that my contract expires in 2006.

"I do want to play more often but I’m also aware that this is a club which guarantees a player great benefits. You can't get much better than Milan.

"A transfer? If the situation doesn’t change and a few concrete offers arrive then I will evaluate them."

The former Vicenza player has attracted transfer interest in the past with Juventus apparently keen.

However, the midfielder also has fans abroad as both Real Madrid and Barcelona could consider bids.

Meanwhile, Milan are said to be tracking River Plate youngster Maxi Lopez. The striker is tied to the Argentine club until 2006.

Crespo hits back at critics
22.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Hernan Crespo hopes that his first goal for Milan will finally see him net the respect he deserves.

The Argentine scored in the 2-1 win at Palermo on Saturday after enduring months of criticism since his summer move from Chelsea.

"I have to admit that a certain number of articles did hurt me," said the player. "I took them as a lack of respect.

"I sincerely don’t believe that I deserved such treatment, especially after what I have achieved in Italy in the past. I just needed a little more patience."

Crespo has had a difficult start to the new campaign but he hopes his strike will breath new life into his season.

"It is obvious that there is a special feeling associated with a first goal," continued the former Lazio player.

"I’m happy it has finally arrived but I have to admit that I was calm before and I won’t change now.

"I have the same amount of faith in myself as I had before, the same that the club had shown in me from day one."

Crespo may get another chance to shine on Wednesday in the Champions’ League as Andriy Shevchenko is a doubt.

The Ukrainian may be rested for the Shakhtar Donetsk game as a precautionary measure over a muscle problem.

"It will be a complicated game," added Crespo. "However, it would be great to score a goal at the San Siro."

Gilardino in Milan hint
22.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Parma hotshot Alberto Gilardino seems to have his eyes on a transfer to Italian giants Milan.

The youngster has been heavily linked with the Rossoneri and he now admits he’d be happy to join the San Siro outfit.

"It is my dream to play alongside Andriy Shevchenko," he told Controcampo. "I think I would do well alongside him.

"I could play as the main target man, while he could come from a deeper position. There would be nothing better than partnering Sheva.

"He definitely deserves to win the Golden Ball. He always seems to score goals. He’s the best striker around."

Milan are believed to be interested in the Azzurri ace even if the club have recently ruled out any January signings.

But Gilardino has seemingly opened the door for a switch as soon as the transfer window opens in the New Year.

"Parma and myself have come to an agreement that I will remain until June but football is a strange game," he stated.

Milan do have offensive problems given that only Shevchenko is regularly finding the back of the net.

Pippo Inzaghi is sidelined until February with injury, while both Hernan Crespo and Jon Dahl Tomasson are struggling for form.

Crespo: "I'm back"
21.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Hernan Crespo has finally broken his goal duck for Milan and Carlo Ancelotti expects it to be a turning point in their campaign.

“I dedicate this goal to my wife, my daughter, the teammates and fans who always supported me,” explained the ex-Parma, Inter and Lazio hero who netted in last night's 2-1 Coppa Italia win in Palermo.

“They all know how important it is for me to do well with the Rossoneri and have always showed faith in my abilities. This strike will help me to train with a more relaxed approach and it’s a weight off my shoulders. Now the goal has arrived, here’s hoping more will follow.”

Crespo had scored in the summer friendlies and mini-tournaments since his loan move from Stamford Bridge was secured, but a slew of missed opportunities in Serie A and the Champions’ League saw fans’ patience running thin.

“Goals are always important for a forward,” pointed out Ancelotti. “For Crespo in particular it can be a starting point for the rest of the season.”

The ex-Chelsea star has been bitterly criticised by impatient fans after injuries and poor performances hampered his return to Italy.

Milan have been overly reliant on Andriy Shevchenko – who has scored half all their Serie A goals so far – but Ancelotti believes this Cup tie has changed the stakes.

“Crespo was very important for this match, but we’ll see how it pans out for the rest of the season. I obviously expect this to be a crucial moment, because when Hernan starts scoring he doesn’t stop.”

The Argentine is now the favourite to partner Shevchenko in Wednesday’s Champions’ League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk, as a point will be enough to qualify for the knockout round.

Meanwhile, the atmosphere at Palermo is heating up after Coach Francesco Guidolin revealed he was hoping for a home draw against the visiting giants.

“We were rubbish,” blasted President Maurizio Zamparini. “I told Guidolin to attack them, but instead we played with about 25 midfielders and embarrassed ourselves in front of the entire country.”

This is certainly not the first time Zamparini has insulted his tactician in public and Guidolin’s safety first approach could cost him his job if he fails to beat Brescia this weekend.

Coppa: Palermo 1-2 AC Milan
20.11 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Goals: Crespo 53 (M), Seedorf 69 (M), Toni 79 (P)

Hernan Crespo scored his first Milan goal and they are on their way to the final eight after a 2-1 victory in Palermo.

The Rossoneri fielded a second string side in Sicily, but the Stadio Barbera was packed out and Palermo made it clear they wanted to go far in this tournament with Lamberto Zauli and Luca Toni upfront.

The Rosanero had a strong start and Fabio Grosso fired just wide before Terlizzi’s header skimmed the post, but Milan were certainly not sitting back and Hernan Crespo’s angled drive went close.

The former Chelsea striker has been criticised by the press and fans so far this injury-ravaged season, but he bagged his first official goal for the club after 53 minutes. Crespo sidefooted home Clarence Seedorf’s low cross to give Milan a precious away strike.

This gave the visitors more confidence and they started to rain down shots on Santoni from Rui Costa, Gennaro Gattuso and Crespo.

Seedorf had provided the assist for the opener and tasted the other side of glory soon after when blasting in Vikash Dhorasoo’s pass from the edge of the box.

Massimo Mutarelli wasted a good chance to get Palermo back into the game, which came moments later through their top scorer Toni, who took full advantage of a disastrous error from Christian Abbiati.

Now the momentum was with the Sicilians and Abbiati made up for his mistake by tipping Toni’s header over the bar,

Pepsi seal AC Milan deal
19.11 || webmaster


AC Milan have announced a long-term sponsorship deal with PepsiCo International.

Pepsi will become the official soft drink of the 17-time Italian champions and Gatorade the official sports drink.

The agreement, full terms of which have not been disclosed, will also see the AC Milan Lab and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute of Chicago collaborate on research to optimise athletes' hydration and performance.

Milan sales director Mauro Tavola said: "Partnering with Gatorade and Pepsi is a tremendous opportunity for AC Milan. Our teams uphold the same values and share a strong commitment to quality and excellence. We look forward to developing this mutually beneficial relationship."

As part of the sponsorship, Gatorade, Pepsi and Milan will conduct joint marketing activities including advertising and consumer promotions with the two drinks brands receiving on-field exposure.

Antonio Lucio, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for PepsiCo, said: "We are delighted by our partnership with AC Milan. We look forward to bringing the excitement and professionalism of AC Milan to consumers around the world."

Soccer star eyes Liberian presidency
19.11 || webmaster

Source: The Washington Times

Monrovia, Liberia, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Former World Footballer of the Year, George Weah has announced he will campaign and run to become president of his native Liberia next year.

For weeks, there has been a public clamor for him to run, and he acknowledged the populist support in a Monrovia radio interview, The Times of London reported Thursday.

"I will be a candidate in the presidential election," he said. "I have no choice but to accept the people's request."

The 38-year-old lives in the United States, but enjoys near god-like status in Liberia. He is already considered a favorite among some 20 other opponents in the country's first free elections in more than 20 years.

As a soccer striker, he enjoyed huge success with Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan. In 1995 he became the only player in history to win the European, African and World Player of the Year titles in a single year. He won the FA Cup with Chelsea in 2000, and later had a brief spell with Manchester City.

In 1995, when Liberia's national team faced suspension by FIFA, soccer's governing body, over outstanding fees, he paid the $5,000 shortfall.

Rui Costa shields Kaka from press
19.11 || webmaster


AC Milan veteran playmaker Rui Costa has leapt to the defense of young gun Kaká, as the Brazilian starlet has come under fire for a purportedly slow start to the campaign.

"He’s a champion whom Milan did well to buy in the summer of 2003," the #10 man told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I don’t think he is going through a difficult moment now, he’s making intelligent runs and working hard for the team.”

"There is always a time when the ball doesn’t go in.”

”I know as it happened to me when I didn’t score for a year, but you need patience,” urged Rui Costa. “It will be curious to read the judgments on Kaká when he starts scoring a few more goals, it will be different then - This is isn’t right."

Abbiati untouchable say Milan
19.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have issued a statement insisting that Christian Abbiati won’t leave the club in January.

The goalkeeper has been heavily linked with an exit given that he has spent the last two years as reserve to Dida.

But the Italian champions have today claimed that the international will remain with them at the San Siro.

"Reports are suggesting that Christian Abbiati will be sold but that is not the reality of the situation," the outfit stated.

"Abbiati is not available for transfer. There has never been any contact or negotiations with any other clubs regarding a move."

Abbiati has been associated with a host of clubs over the last year but Milan have managed to keep hold of him.

Sampdoria, Arsenal and Palermo have all shown an interest in the highly-rated shot-stopper in the past.

While whispers over recent weeks claimed that Abbiati could move to city rivals Inter, in a swap deal with Turkish midfielder Emre.

AC Milan in talks for Maxi Lopez
19.11 || webmaster


AC Milan will hold talks with the agent of River Plate striker Maxi Lopez next week.

Roberto Settembrini will be in Italy to meet with Milan chiefs Ariedo Braida and Adriano Galliani about the exciting youngster.

Lopez's contract expires in 2006 and he is rated in the Ł4 million class by River. Its understood Milan are considering the prolific forward for an end of season deal.

Milan close transfer window
16.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan maintain that they have no plans to make any signings during the January transfer window.

The Rossoneri have been linked with a host of strikers given their problems in attack so far this term.

But the outfit insist that they won’t be netting Alberto Gilardino (Parma), Fernando Torres (Atletico) or Bernardo Corradi (Valencia).

"There are players around who could interest us but we won’t be buying because we want to maintain our squad balance," stated Vice-president Adriano Galliani.

"To bring in an important player would mean to replace someone we already have. Given that we’ve got 14 top-class players, we don’t need anyone else.

"A team is only successful if there is harmony in the camp and we don’t want to disrupt that. Anyway, Pippo Inzaghi will be back from injury at the end of January."

Galliani added that the club don’t need a new forward as they arguably already have the best around, in the shape of Andriy Shevchenko.

"He deserves the Golden Ball," noted the official. "If he doesn’t win it this time then he might as well give up, especially as an award that never honoured Franco Baresi has problems.

"Shevchenko is simply fantastic and he’s excited me ever since he scored his first goal for us."

Meanwhile, the champions will be without defender Dario Simic for the next three months because of injury.

San Siro to go synthetic?
14.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

In a weekend where heavy rainfall and snow has affected Serie A’s games, it’s been revealed a synthetic pitch for the San Siro is ready to go.

UEFA have lifted their ban on artificial playing surfaces for the Champions’ League, UEFA Cup and other competitions from next season and some Italian clubs are raring to make the most of this change.

Milan and Inter have often complained at the uneven nature of the pitch in the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, especially since a third tier was added for the 1990 World Cup.

“If the Italian Federation gives us the go-ahead,” revealed Milan representative Alfonso Cefaliello, “then we would be ready to go. It would solve a lot of problems and halve the costs of maintenance.”

Artificial pitches had been outlawed after injuries and uneven bounces were reported in the early days of this experiment, but advances in technology mean the surfaces are reliable and above all not prone to flooding or ice.

The Milanese clubs are particularly prepared for this eventuality, as both the Milanello and Appiano Gentile training grounds already use synthetic surfaces.

“We were very sceptical,” noted Inter representative Luciano Cucchia, “but at the moment an artificial San Siro pitch is something we can’t help but consider. As the field is criticised by our own players and Coaching staff, it’s clear we have to do something.”

Both Roberto Mancini and Carlo Ancelotti have commented this season that they play better football on their travels, as they don’t have to deal with the San Siro field. The situation is so dire that the clubs have sections of grass flown in from around Europe to patch up the surface.

The pitch has already undergone this treatment twice since September and last year there were five at a cost of Ł100,000 each. It’s reported that making the entire field at the San Siro synthetic would be a one-off payment of Ł560,000.

“In Northern Europe we are already more accepting of this kind of surface,” explained Milan’s Danish international Jon Dahl Tomasson. “Of course a grass pitch in good condition is the best, but there are situations where that just isn’t possible. I’m convinced the future for both Scandinavia and Italy is synthetic.”

AC Milan 2:1 Siena - match report
14.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Shevchenko 25, 37 (M), Argilli 31 (S)

Andriy Shevchenko marks his comeback with his 100th Serie A goal and single-handedly puts Milan back on track.

After two consecutive draws against Roma and Brescia, Milan needed a victory to close the six-point gap to Juventus. Andriy Shevchenko and Gennaro Gattuso returned from injury, but Hernan Crespo was benched after his disappointing outings, while Siena were more confident after their 1-1 scoreline with Lecce midweek.

As expected, the Rossoneri pushed forward from the start and Marco Fortin was tested by Shevchenko and Giuseppe Pancaro, who couldn't make the most of a deflected Clarence Seedorf free kick.

Pancaro had another great chance to drill home from seven yards, but this time defender Daniele Portanova managed to intercept before it could cross the line.

Yet Siena were dangerous on the counter-attack with Paolo Maldini's challenge preventing Enrico Chiesa tapping in to an open goal from six yards.

However, it was that man Shevchenko who broke the deadlock yet again with his eighth of the campaign. Kaka's charged forward and rolled the ball across for the Ukrainian to fire in from the edge of the box.

Milan had seemed to solve their problems defending from set-pieces, but the old worries came back to haunt them on the half-hour mark. Chiesa whipped in a great free kick and Stefano Argilli was unmarked to nod in.

Shevchenko marked his comeback with his 100th Serie A goal, as a corner kick went past everyone to reach the Balon d'Or contender's toe at the far post, although the final touch might have been off Argilli.

Siena fought back again, but this time Mattia Graffiedi fired wide when he probably could have run forward into space.

Shevchenko's chance at a hat-trick went begging with a wayward header on Marcos Cafu's cross, then Argilli was decisive with a goalline clearance on Tomasson after Sheva's effort was charged down by Fortin.

Tomasson wasted the chance to make it 3-1 with a poor finish after great build-up play from Andrea Pirlo and Seedorf, then Dida parried a good effort from substitute Fernando Menegazzo.

Fortin fingertipped Sheva's header over the bar, then in the final minute the goalkeeper flew to palm out his solo effort.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Rui Costa 81); Kakŕ (Ambrosini 76); Tomasson (Crespo 86), Shevchenko

Siena: Fortin; Cirillo, Argilli, Portanova, Nicola; Camorani, Pecchia (Flo 75), Di Donato, Vergassola; Chiumiento (Menegazzo 46), Chiesa

Ref: Bertini

AC Milan : Siena - match preview
12.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

With Juventus moving six points clear at the top of the table, Milan know that nothing less than a victory over Siena will do in Week 12. The Rossoneri will start the game as favourites but it is clear that the champions are struggling for form after consecutive draws against Roma and Brescia.

The pressure is certainly on boss Carlo Ancelotti, whose decision to play with just Hernan Crespo up front at Brescia wasn’t welcomed by the club. Vice-president Adriano Galliani insisted that he must field two strikers and that will probably occur at the San Siro on Sunday.

Star striker Andriy Shevchenko should return from injury and he will be partnered by either the Argentine or Jon Dahl Tomasson – even if both are clearly struggling to perform at the highest levels right now. Jaap Stam, Filippo Inzaghi and Dario Simic remain sidelined with injury.

Siena will arrive in Milan with some selection problems, but are aware that the home side have struggled to get the better of smaller clubs so far this term. They will be eager to pick up at least one point after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Lecce on Wednesday when they perhaps deserved all three.

Manninger, Mignani, Foglio, Falsini and Colonnese are all injury doubts. While Rodrigo Taddei remains frozen out of the squad given his continuing contract dispute.

Milan (probable): Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakŕ; Tomasson, Shevchenko

Siena (probable): Fortin; Cirillo, Argilli, Portanova, Nicola; Chiumiento, Pecchia, Di Donato, Vergassola; Graffiedi, Chiesa

Ancelotti plays waiting game
11.11 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has paid tribute to Juventus’ stunning start to the campaign but believes Milan have time to recover.

The Turin giants moved six points clear at the top of the table last night after they beat Fiorentina, while the Rossoneri were held at Brescia.

"They have quite a lead already but we have time and the desire to recuperate," noted the tactician.

Ancelotti said he was reasonably happy with the performance on Wednesday but admits that it was tough without Andriy Shevchenko.

"He is an important player and we’re hoping that he can make a full recovery as soon as possible," he added. "I think he could be ready for Siena on Sunday.

"It is true to say that we are having a few problems in attack right now but I know the quality of my squad.

"I’m sure that my attackers will soon start to score with some consistency in the near future.

"Hernan Crespo? He’s getting back to his best while Jon Dahl Tomasson just needs a goal to get started."

Some have criticised Milan’s start to the campaign but Ancelotti feels that is particularly unfair.

"This is not a season to forget," he insisted. "We went into the Brescia match just one point shy of what we had this time last season.

"Anyway, I saw a much better performance from my team in the 0-0 draw than in the game against Roma on Sunday."

Brescia 0:0 AC Milan - match report
10.11 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan proved they are dependent on Andriy Shevchenko at the moment, as they played out a costly stalemate at the Stadio Rigamonti.

The Rossoneri needed a victory to close the gap on Juventus after their disappointing 1-1 draw with Roma at the weekend, but were forced to do without the injured Andriy Shevchenko. Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso were also rested in favour of Manuel Rui Costa and Christian Brocchi.

This is something of a local derby with nearby Brescia, who welcomed Gigi Di Biagio, Giuseppe Sculli and Marc Nygaard back from a one-match ban.

Simone Dallamano drilled an early effort wide for the Rondinelle, while they went very close to a shock opener after 12 minutes when Andrea Caracciolo charged forward and his shot was fingertipped on to the upright.

Caracciolo was a constant danger on the counter-attack as he regularly out-paced Paolo Maldini, testing Dida's reflexes again, while Milan hit back with Clarence Seedorf's long range effort and Kaka set up Rui Costa in a fine move that was parried at the near post by Luca Castellazzi.

Milan started to take control after that early period of uncertainty and Castellazzi flew to palm Seedorf's powerful long-range effort out of the top corner.

Andrea Pirlo cut back for Seedorf to again turn just wide as the rain began to pour down on the Stadio Rigamonti in the second half.

Kakha Kaladze's looping header went wide on Pirlo's cross as Milan kept on pushing for a winner, though Seedorf had yet another effort well saved.

Castellazzi did well to parry both Tomasson's strike and Marcos Cafu's follow-up, then Brescia ended the game in ten men after Di Biagio's petulant trip on Serginho.

Caracciolo's counter-attack was smothered by Dida, then Zambelli's angled drive skimmed the woodwork as Brescia refused to give in.

Brescia: Castellazzi; Stankevicius, Di Biagio, Mareco; Schopp (Zambelli 80), Guana, Martinez, Domizzi (Zoboli 83), Dallamano; Caracciolo, Nygaard (Sculli 78)

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Brocchi (Dhorasoo 78), Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakŕ (Serginho 74), Rui Costa (Tomasson 74); Crespo

Ref: Racalbuto

Sent off: Di Biagio 88 (B)

Brescia vs. AC Milan - match preview
9.11 || Seamus

Serie A Preview: Brescia-Milan
11/9/2004 6:34:00 PM

Second place Milan make their way to Brescia’s Stadio Mario Rigamonti for what should be a hotly-contested midweek fixture between two sides who have struggled to put together a good string of results.

Brescia have struggled to find any consistency in their form this season, only gaining points in consecutive fixtures once this season, those being back-to-back victories versus Parma and away to Sampdoria. In the former Brescia were down 1-0 after an early goal by Alberto Gilardino. However, they stormed back with two goals in three minutes, by Luigi Di Biagio and Andrea Caracciolo, respectively. Daniele Mannini added a third just after halftime to secure a 3-1 victory. The latter was a very hard fought match which saw Brescia come away with the full three points in a 1-0 win on a Di Biagio penalty goal. Brescia’s next two matches were both one goal losses. The first loss came at home against Siena on a lone goal by Fabio Pecchia, and the second at Livorno. Brescia had the lead in that match after Caracciolo gave his side the lead in the 24th minute, but Alessandro Lucarelli hit back just before halftime, and Alessandro Doga won it for Livorno in the 71st. This past weekend they got back in the win column with a 1-0 home win over Chievo, thanks to a last gasp goal by Marcus Schopp.

While Milan have been victorious in five of their last seven matches, they are still not displaying their top form, that which saw the rossoneri win the scudetto last season. Recent matches have seem them rely far too heavily on the goals of Andriy Shevchenko, although the Milan camp has stated repeatedly they do not depend on him. Of the last eleven goals Milan have put in the net, six have been scored by Shevchenko. The likes of Jon Dahl Tomasson and Hernan Crespo need to find their form soon, as striker Filippo Inzaghi will be out until after the winter break, and Shevchenko may miss this match because of a muscular injury.


Brescia won over the weekend, and will most likely field the same side that took the pitch in that match. Argentine midfielder Matias Almeyda will more than likely not make the squad, as he has recently stated he wishes to leave Brescia after a bust-up with the club’s supporters.

Milan will give a start to many of their second choice players, as several star members of the squad will miss this fixture through injury. As previously stated, strikers Shevchenko and Inzaghi are out for this match, and defender Jaap Stam will also be out of action until the new year.


Andrea Caracciolo (Brescia):
The young Italian has been instrumental to the few good results his club has attained this season, and they will need him to be on target to get any points from a determined Milan side.

Hernan Crespo (Milan):
After coming to the San Siro on loan from Chelsea this summer, Crespo has failed to get his name on the score sheet, and he will have several quality chances versus the Brescia defense.


Brescia (4-4-2):
Castellazzi; Martinez, Stankevicius, Zoboli, Mareco; Domizzi, Dallamano, Guana, Mannini; Di Pasquale, Caracciolo

Milan (4-3-1-2):
Dida; Costacurta, Nesta, Coloccini, Kaladze; Gattuso, Ambrosini, Serginho; Rui Costa; Tomasson, Crespo


Even with the confidence of getting the home victory this past weekend, Brescia will find it difficult to hold Milan from asserting their will, and the final tally will show this. A diligent effort by the home side, but not the result they had hoped for.

Brescia 1-2 Milan

Joel Whitehead

Sheva skips Brescia trip
9.11 || Seamus

Andriy Shevchenko has been left at home for tomorrow’s trip to Brescia, but Carlo Ancelotti insists Milan will be every bit as effective.

“Hernan Crespo will partner Jon Dahl Tomasson,” revealed the Coach. “Paolo Maldini and Andrea Pirlo also have a couple of slight muscular problems, so they will probably also be rested.”

The Rossoneri can barely afford to make so many changes after their 1-1 draw with Roma, as the weekend was an opportunity wasted to close the gap from Juventus.

“We have always done well away from home this season, but our victories were always slender and hard-fought. I want my team to take the initiative at Brescia and have more shots on goal.”

It’s likely we’ll see Manuel Rui Costa and Billy Costacurta in the starting eleven, but how will Milan respond to claims their attack is entirely reliant upon Shevchenko?

“Tomasson is on form and has played well, only lacking a bit of accuracy when it comes to the final ball,” insisted Ancelotti. “Crespo is coming off a negative season at Chelsea, but is starting to rediscover his fitness levels and give more depth to his movements. We don’t need to sign anyone in January, as Pippo Inzaghi will be back in early February.”

The strikers have been struck by a remarkable number of injury problems, although the club is quick to point out Shevchenko’s setback is not serious.

“He underwent tests and is already feeling much better,” explained Dr Jean Pierre Meersseman. “Shevchenko has been rested as a precautionary measure and he’ll be back to normal after a couple of days.”

Milan squad:

G: Abbiati, Dida, Fiori

D: Cafu, Coloccini, Costacurta, Kaladze, Maldini, Nesta, Pancaro

M: Ambrosini, Brocchi, Dhorasoo, Kaka, Pirlo, Rui Costa, Seedorf, Serginho

F: Crespo, Tomasson

Maldini up for Golden Ball
8.11 || Seamus

Unconfirmed whispers suggest that Paolo Maldini is one of 14 Serie A players short-listed for the 2004 Golden Ball.

Reports in Italy this evening claim that the Milan player is one of the 50 men up for the award organised by the France Football magazine.

They will reveal the names of all the contenders gunning for the prize on Tuesday, but there are already rumours circulating on who will feature.

The Italian top-flight will allegedly contribute 14 players along with Spain, while the Premiership should have no more than 12.

Maldini is said to be one of six Milan players included as the race to succeed Pavel Nedved as the European Footballer of the Year hots up.

It is also likely that both Traianos Dellas of Roma and Theo Zagorakis of Bologna will be up for the honour after winning Euro 2004 with Greece.

However, early indications suggest that the winner will either be Barcelona’s Ronaldinho, Andriy Shevchenko of Milan or Inter sensation Adriano.

Yet given that votes are handed out by a select panel of journalists, there could be a surprise with Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo or even Ruud Van Nistelrooy in with a chance.

Pippo has ankle surgery
8.11 || Seamus

Milan expect to be without Pippo Inzaghi for three months after he had an ankle operation today.

The Italian international has been hampered by the injury for a year and already went under the knife last April.

Jean Pierre Meersseman, the club’s chief medical officer, is confident that the procedure was a success.

Inzaghi is expected to be on the treatment table for 12 weeks, with his return pencilled in for February.

Milan rule out Gila bid
8.11 || Seamus

Milan, who may have to deal with an injury to Andriy Shevchenko, have ruled out a January swoop for Alberto Gilardino.

"I can categorically exclude his arrival," stated Vice-president Adriano Galliani. "Especially as I don’t think Parma have any intention of selling him in the New Year anyway.

"How can a club like Parma really do without Gilardino? The whole scenario is simply impossible."

The Rossoneri are being heavily associated with a move for the Italian international given their attacking problems.

Pippo Inzaghi has been ruled out until February, as he will today undergo surgery on his ankle for the second time in six months.

While both Hernan Crespo and Jon Dahl Tomasson are struggling to find any kind of form right now.

"I’m certain that Crespo will do well and I’ve told him that," added Galliani. "I’m not too sure that the players available in January are better than Crespo or Tomasson.

"Therefore I am 99.99 per cent certain that we will remain how we are and simply wait for Inzaghi’s return."

However, the club do need goals quickly given that Shevchenko is their only real scorer this season.

The Ukrainian has netted 13 out of 25 but could miss the midweek trip to Brescia with an injury.

He was replaced at half-time during the 1-1 draw with Roma last night with a slight muscle problem.

Milan don’t impress Berlusconi
8.11 || Seamus

Milan’s 1-1 draw with Roma last night has annoyed Rossoneri President Silvio Berlusconi.

"We gave Juventus a great gift," he stated given that the League leaders had surprisingly lost 2-1 at Reggina on Saturday.

"We needed to take advantage of that loss," he added. "We created at least seven really good opportunities but failed to finish them off.

"This is what happens in football sometimes. We were obliged to win but we wasted far too much. We were also a bit lucky in the second half."

Milan made a blistering start to the game as they dominated the early exchanges, scoring through Andriy Shevchenko.

But a young Roma side, after the early substitution of Marco Delvecchio, settled down to grab a point.

Despite Christian Panucci and Antonio Cassano still being ignored, Vincenzo Montella netted again to grab a draw.

Coaches explain San Siro turnaround
7.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti and Gigi Del Neri admit the draw was the right result and analyse what changed over the half-time break.

“Probably the pressure we put them under in the first half took a lot out of us, as we should have been a lot more than 1-0 up,” noted the Milan Coach. “Roma played well in the second half and deserved the equaliser.”

The Rossoneri were leading at the break and had dominated the opening period, but shared the points in a 1-1 draw.

“This is the major regret from this match, that we should have made more of our scoring opportunities. We were less organised in the second half and allowed Roma too much room to use their pace upfront. We should have taken the initiative more and controlled the tempo.”

Ancelotti surprised many when he put Hernan Crespo on for goalscorer Shevchenko in the second half, but he confirms it was due to an injury.

“Shevchenko had a slight muscular problem and was unable to continue. It was certainly not a tactical decision. I think that Crespo still has the time to prove what he is capable of and he is trying to find his form. Being booed by the home fans will only motivate him to do better.”

This performance certainly boosts Roma’s confidence, as the team was packed with youth team players and still managed to play on level terms with the reigning Italian Champions.

“The squad is a young one that needs time to grow,” noted Del Neri, “so we have accepted that this season is a transitional one.”

The first half started on the wrong foot and the Coach made a tactical substitution after just 21 minutes, replacing Marco Delvecchio.

“I would make the same starting choice again, but during the game I saw that Cafu was devastating down the right and our balance in that area was all wrong. It certainly wasn’t Delvecchio’s fault and he will be useful again in the future.”

Vincenzo Montella has been a key player this season and above all his passion helped the squad this evening.

“The important thing is that our players put pressure on the opponents all over the field, not just inside our own half,” added the Roma man. “Totti and Montella have to help the younger players by setting an example and giving them confidence.”

AC Milan 1:1 AS Roma - match report
7.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Shevchenko 6 (M), Montella 49 (R)

Andriy Shevchenko's strike was not enough as a spirited Roma performance earns a precious draw at the San Siro.

The Giallorossi have a poor record at the San Siro, last beating Milan here in 1987, while they were forced to reshuffle their squad due to injury worries. Simone Perrotta and Olivier Dacourt were out, while Christian Panucci and Antonio Cassano were officially outlawed as a disciplinary measure.

There was at least some good news, as Vincenzo Montella recovered in record time from an ankle injury to start, while Marco Delvecchio was surprisingly fielded out wide on the left.

Milan also had problems with Jaap Stam and Pippo Inzaghi undergoing ankle surgery this week, while Jon Dahl Tomasson was chosen to partner Andriy Shevchenko.

There was panic in the Roma area after 60 seconds, as Kaka charged into the box and was only stopped by a perfectly timed Matteo Ferrari tackle. Moments later Marcos Cafu ran on to a splendid Andrea Pirlo pass and placed an angled drive past the post.

Roma fought back and Montella took on the entire defence by himself, firing over the bar.

The deadlock was broken after just six minutes, as ex-Roma legend Cafu charged down the right flank and floated in a cross for the totally unmarked Andriy Shevchenko to nod in from eight yards. Both central defenders naturally gravitated towards Tomasson and ignored the Ukrainian's run.

The Roma defence was shaky and Paolo Maldini turned a Pirlo free kick over, then Tomasson sprinted past Traianos Dellas and placed his shot well wide.

Francesco Totti's intelligent through ball to Aquilani was intercepted, but Milan continued to look dangerous with Cafu given remarkable freedom. He pulled back for Shevchenko to balloon over the bar when Kaka might have been in a better position to score.

Kaka ran into the area and fell over Leandro Cufre's challenge, but the Brazilian was correctly booked for simulation as contact was minimal at best.

Delvecchio had his first start of the season, but it lasted just 21 minutes, as Gigi Del Neri replaced him with youth team product De Martino. It was a tactical choice, as Delvecchio was repeatedly losing Cafu down that flank.

Dellas rose to meet a Totti corner kick and Montella failed to redirect it past Dida by a matter of inches, then Tomasson's angled drive was deflected off target and the Dane was put under pressure by three defenders to fire wide.

Kaka is not on good form at the moment and wasted another good opportunity, while Totti fired a couple of long-range efforts well wide of Dida's goal.

There was panic in the Rossoneri area when a strange bounce took the defence by surprise, but first Montella and then Aquilani were unable to take full advantage of the situation.

Del Neri made another substitution at half-time, bringing on Philippe Mexes for Dellas, while Hernan Crespo surprisingly stepped in for Shevchenko. The Ukrainian had a slight muscular problem, but nothing serious.

The changes suited Roma more than Milan, as within four minutes they had drawn level. Mancini skipped past Gattuso, squeezed a pass through to Montella and although his first attempt hit the crossbar, the striker could not miss from six yards.

The Rossoneri seemed to be in shock at this early goal equaliser and Crespo nodded a Giuseppe Pancaro cross well wide. Cafu remained their most dangerous player and his angled drive might have touched Ivan Pelizzoli's fingertip as it whistled wide of the post.

Above all, Roma were much more aggressive and confident, pushing forward with all their players and not just Montella.

Pirlo's free kick wasn't cleared effectively and a Crespo header across the face of goal couldn't quite reach Tomasson.

Substitute Alessandro Costacurta went into central defence on the hour mark, pushing Maldini in to his old left-back role, while Manuel Rui Costa took over from Clarence Seedorf.

Kaka pushed forward with another promising move, only for Tomasson to hesitate and allow Gigi Sartor to close him down.

At the other end Mancini skipped past Cafu down the left flank and his cross was cleared by Costacurta with Montella ready to tap in. From the resulting corner kick Mancini found himself utterly unmarked from five yards, but he somehow slipped and delivered a weak finish into Dida's arms.

The home fans were not taking Crespo's errors kindly and he turned another header off target after good build-up play from Rui Costa and Kaka.

Totti turned a free kick over the bar, then Mexes rushed in to intercept Kaka's pass before it could reach Rui Costa on the edge of the box.

There was more panic in the box when Dida tried to control Cafu's backpass and had to sprint to clear it from Totti's feet on the six-yard mark.

Sartor limped off with an injury and made way for Giuseppe Scurto, leaving five Roma youth products on the field, including Totti and Daniele De Rossi.

In the final minutes Rui Costa controlled Kaka's pass and drilled an angled drive mere inches wide of the far post.

Rui Costa had another great chance in the last minute when his rising shot was palmed on to the crossbar by Pelizzoli. Montella's pass to Totti wasn't strong enough as it looked as if either team could win it in stoppages.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro (Costacurta 64); Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Rui Costa 66); Kakŕ; Shevchenko (Crespo 46), Tomasson

Roma: Pelizzoli; Sartor (Scurto 80), Dellas (Mexes 46), Ferrari, Cufrč; Mancini, Aquilani, De Rossi, Delvecchio (De Martino 21); Montella, Totti

Ref: Bertini

Injured Inzaghi extends
4.11 || Seamus

Pippo Inzaghi has extended his contract with Milan after being told that he will have surgery on Monday.

The striker has renewed his deal by a further season and is now tied to the club until June 2009.

Inzaghi met with club officials today to discuss terms but also finalise details regarding his ankle problem.

The Italian will go under the knife in Antwerp on Monday, for the second time in six months, and could be sidelined until February.

Meanwhile, it has also been revealed that Jaap Stam’s operation will take place on Friday in the town of Varese.

The Dutch defender has been hampered by an Achilles’ tendon problem and will have surgery tomorrow.

It’s believed that the summer signing from Lazio is also likely to be on the treatment table for around two or three months.

Milan dismiss transfer option
4.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan maintain that Pippo Inzaghi’s latest fitness setback won’t see them sign a new striker in January.

The Italian requires surgery on an ankle for the second time in six months and could be out of action for some time to come.

"We have a special rapport with Pippo and I’ve already told him that we will wait for his return," stated Vice-president Adriano Galliani.

"Despite what is being said, Milan will not bring in any new faces in January. We will calmly move forward with the players we have already."

Nevertheless, speculation continues to suggest that the reigning champions will sign a new striker.

Parma’s Alberto Gilardino is the current favourite after his explosion at the highest level over the last year.

He was being talked about as a target for the summer of 2005 but Milan may look to snap him up six months earlier.

Meanwhile, Inzaghi has wished his teammates all the best for the immediate future. "I hope that they can continue to win which will keep up my morale," he stated.

"If they win then that will make me happy. I still feel like a part of the squad even if I’m not there training with them at Milanello."

Although Milan say they won’t buy, the club have admitted that they could sell in the New Year.

Summer signing Vikash Dhorasoo has rarely featured in midfield since his free arrival.

"He is the only player who can leave," confirmed director general Ariedo Braida. "He hasn’t found room here and we will evaluate any offers."

Barcelona 2:1 AC Milan - report
2.11 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Shevchenko 17 (M), Eto'o 37 (B), Ronaldinho 88 (B)
Nou Camp

Andriy Shevchenko opened the scoring at the Nou Camp, but Barcelona turned it around with a last gasp Ronaldinho winner. Nonetheless, the Rossoneri need just one point from their remaining two games to be certain of qualification.

Shevchenko's lone strike proved enough to earn Milan all three points when these two games clashed at the San Siro a fortnight ago and another positive result would all but book their spot in the final sixteen.

Kakha Kaladze and Massimo Ambrosini replaced Giuseppe Pancaro and Clarence Seedorf, while Serginho surprisingly partnered Kaka as support for lone striker Andriy Shevchenko.

Barcelona were Coached by ex-Milan star Frank Rijkaard and they welcomed Ludovic Giuly back from injury, pushing Henrik Larsson on to the bench. There were 90,000 fans in the Nou Camp, including 3,000 travelling supporters.

The Spaniards took the initiative early on and Deco turned his header inches wide of the far post, while Milan wasted a counter-attack when Kaka hesitated.

The first shot on target came from the Rossoneri after a wonderful sweeping move down the left. Shevchenko's first time pass set Serginho running and Kaka's side-footed finish was plucked out of the air by Victor Valdes.

Milan were looking the more dangerous and it was that man Shevchenko who broke the deadlock yet again. He sprung the offside trap on Andrea Pirlo's pass, resisted an embrace from Oleguer and placed his finish into the near corner past the outstretched hand of Valdes.

The Ukrainian showed great strength to hold off the challenge and already had his dedication ready, as his first son Jordan was born on Friday evening.

Moments later they nearly doubled their lead, as Kaka also outsprinted the defenders and was only slowed down by the goalkeeper, but he couldn't get his shot on target from a tight angle.

Alessandro Nesta and the indefatigable Marcos Cafu combined to squeeze out Samuel Eto'o in the area, then Ronaldinho fired wide from distance. The Cameroon international was a constant danger and perfectly timed tackles from Ambrosini and Nesta were required to stop him in the area.

Deco swept another effort wide of the post, while Kaka's shot was smothered by a deflection.

Cafu was off the field for treatment after his lip was cut by an accidental clash with Ronaldinho and referee Urs Meier wouldn't allow him back on to the field, so Barcelona took full advantage of the extra man and scored the equaliser with Samuel Eto'o. Xavi cut his pass through the defence and Eto'o toe-poked it into the roof of the net from eight yards.

The Spaniards were gaining in confidence and just before the break Eto'o sprung the offside trap with his remarkable pace before slicing his shot wide.

The first booking of the game arrived three minutes after the restart when Kaka took his protests too far. The young South American was disappointing overall in this match.

Dida's error almost cost Milan dearly when he fumbled a Deco free kick, but the Brazilian made up for it with a point-blank save on Xavi. The move continued from the following corner and Dida was again firm on van Bronckhorst's angled drive.

At the other end Valdes had to sprint off his line and perform an acrobatic clearance to prevent Serginho from pouncing, but Barca began to lay siege to an increasingly tired Milan.

However, when the Rossoneri pushed forward they were extremely dangerous and on the hour mark Valdes performed a stunning one-handed save on Cafu's rising drive from a tight angle.

Moments later Valdes charged off his line to close down Shevchenko as he ran on to Serginho's crossfield pass.

Dida pushed Xavi's long-range strike over the bar and Milan were soaking up the pressure, so Carlo Ancelotti opted to throw on Seedorf for Serginho. The Dutchman was roundly booed by the Nou Camp crowd for his past with Real Madrid.

Alessandro Nesta's only defensive error nearly cost Milan dearly, as Dida only parried Xavi's low drive from the edge of the box and he recovered the rebound before Eto'o tried to kick it out of his hands.

Manuel Rui Costa, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona for the last two years, replaced the ineffective Kaka for the final 15 minutes. Rijkaard went for glory by throwing on Henrik Larsson for their only defensive midfielder, Rafael Marquez, in the closing stages.

Ambrosini did well to shut down Eto's effort after he had narrowed the angle too much.

Barca were putting on the pressure and eventually took the lead with two minutes left on the clock. Ronaldinho skipped past Nesta on the edge of the box and slammed the unstoppable shot into the top corner.

Substitute Henrik Larsson ballooned a late effort over the bar as Barcelona take what was eventually a deserved win.

Barcelona: Valdes; Belletti, Oleguer, Puyol, Marquez (Larsson 80); van Bronckhorst, Xavi, Deco; Ronaldinho, Giuly (Iniesta 67), Eto`o

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Gattuso, Ambrosini, Pirlo; Kaka (Rui Costa 77), Serginho (Seedorf 73); Shevchenko (Tomasson 86)

Ref: Meier (Swi)

Milan want Ronaldinho
2.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are preparing a sensational, even if seemingly unlikely, January swoop for Barcelona ace Ronaldinho.

Rossoneri Vice-president Adriano Galliani is a massive admirer of the Brazilian and the club are keen on his New Year arrival.

The Italian champions have problems in attack this season seeing as only Andriy Shevchenko is delivering the goods.

Jon Dahl Tomasson is not living up to his past performances, while Hernan Crespo and Pippo Inzaghi have been plagued by injuries.

Whispers suggest that Milan could tempt Barca to sell by offering Ł7m plus Manuel Rui Costa and Massimo Ambrosini.

It has even been claimed that initial talks could take place this evening after the two sides meet in the Champions’ League.

However, the chances of seeing Ronaldinho at the San Siro in January look pretty slim in all honesty.

It seems far more likely that the proposed move could in fact occur at the end of the season instead.

Ronaldinho, 24, joined Barca last season from Paris SG after a spell in his homeland with Gremio.

He’s netted one goal in seven League games this term, while scoring one in three European Cup ties.

Milan eye qualification
2.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti insists that his side are looking for qualification at Barcelona this evening.

The Rossoneri have a 100 per cent record in the Champions’ League and another win at the Nou Camp will see them through to the knock-out stages.

"We are in a good position but it is obvious that we hope to win and secure our place in the next stage," stated the tactician.

"It should be a great spectacle because they are playing some good football but we must try to end things tonight."

Ancelotti has named a 21-man squad but he is without Jaap Stam, Filippo Inzaghi, Vikash Dhorasoo and Billy Costacurta.

"We’ll play with a 4-4-2 and I’ll use the rotation system if necessary," continued Ancelotti. "I will select the players who are in the best shape."

Rumours suggest that star man Kaka may be rested for the tie but the South American is eager to play.

"I don’t know whether I will be left out," he stated. "I don’t feel tired though and I’d love to start every game.

"Barca? We know it will be tough but we want to just wrap up qualification as soon as we can."

Captain Paolo Maldini mirrored the youngster’s thoughts. "Experience shows us that the sooner you qualify the better," he said. "Therefore that is what we will do."

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