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The Archive

October 2004

Sampdoria 0:1 AC Milan - match report
30.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Shevchenko 76 (Milan)

Substitute Andriy Shevchenko keeps Milan in the title race with a victory away to Sampdoria just hours after the birth of his son.

Shevchenko was only on the bench after driving back from Milan in the morning to be with his wife Kristen at the birth of their first son, Jordan. With Pippo Inzaghi and Jaap Stam out injured and Andrea Pirlo rested, Hernan Crespo forged a new partnership with Jon Dahl Tomasson.

Sampdoria had their confidence boosted by a 2-0 victory away at Chievo midweek and were starting to find their form, although their record against the big clubs over the last year and a half has not been impressive.

Kaka was lively from the start, but his finishing left something to be desired, then Crespo's cross-cum-shot skimmed the far post with Francesco Antonioli beaten.

Milan were dominating early on, but Sampdoria had a great chance when Massimo Ambrosini flung himself at Cristiano Doni's shot from eight yards, then Fabio Bazzani volleyed well over.

The first real save of the game arrived after half an hour, as Kaka threaded through for Tomasson and the Dane's fierce strike was well parried by Antonioli.

Kaka then chested down Billy Costacurta's pass and volleyed only to see it charged down by teammate Crespo. Paolo Maldini then charged forward on a counter-attack that was only scuppered by Cristian Zenoni's foul.

Former Milan goalkeeper Antonioli performed another fine reaction save on Kaka just before the break, but Crespo set him up with a stunning 'rabona' - crossing his legs and striking the ball with the back foot.

The visitors continued to pule on the pressure in the second half with Crespo firing over and just failing to get on the end of Gennaro Gattuso's cross.

But once again Samp were dangerous and Cristiano Doni slid on to Zenoni's low cross only to fire it over the bar.

Carlo Ancelotti made two changes on the hour mark, introducing Serginho and Shevchenko for Clarence Seedorf and Tomasson.

Perhaps the Blucerchiati's best chance of the game so far came moments later, as Francesco Flachi spun round his defender and brought a fantastic save out of Dida.

Milan struck on the counter-attack with Serginho's pace, but his cutback was deflected just past both Crespo and Shevchenko.

The deadlock was eventually broken in chaotic fashion. Serginho combined with Crespo and sprinted into the box, but Antonioli's point blank save only went as far as Shevchenko.

It rounded off a wonderful day for the Ukrainian, who barely slept and only arrived at the Stadium four hours before kick-off after attending the birth of his son, so he performed the classic 'rocking cradle' celebration with his teammates.

Sheva then set up Crespo, but the Argentine's shot was too weak to trouble the goalkeeper, while Flachi took advantage of Costacurta's error and nearly caught Dida unawares.

Milan-owned striker Vitali Kutuzov came on for the closing stages, but Shevchenko challenged him for the ball and his fine lob was slapped out of the top corner by Antonioli.

He was determined to get another goal to dedicate to his son and his angled drive was well blocked at the near post. But Bazzani did his level best to spoil the day with a splendid turn and volley that whistled past the upright, then Sergio Volpi's solo effort was closed down by Maldini.

Sampdoria: Antonioli; Zenoni, Pavan, Falcone, Sacchetti; Diana (Rossini 87), Volpi, Palombo, Doni (Kutuzov 82); Flachi, Bazzani

Milan: Dida; Costacurta, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso (Pirlo 72), Seedorf (Serginho 65), Ambrosini; Kakà; Tomasson (Shevchenko 65), Crespo

Ref: Farina

Juve pace worries Ancelotti
29.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti admits that Juventus’ stunning start to the season has put his side under pressure.

"Seeing Juventus go so well does increase the heat on us," said the tactician whose side are already five points behind the Bianconeri.

"They have set off at quite a pace and that means that we must be alert for every single one of our games.

"However, I think that we are putting them under pressure too given our recent displays."

Juventus have dropped just two points so far this season and have won all of their Champions’ League games to date.

"I’m surprised by their consistency at both home and abroad," added the former Bianconeri boss. "But I’m convinced that we are still in with a chance, as are Inter."

The San Siro giants face Sampdoria on Saturday and the tactician expects a difficult encounter at the Stadio Marassi.

"Walter Novellino’s side is playing well right now as their win at Chievo on Wednesday illustrates," he added.

"Who will play? I will probably make a few changes to the side that beat Atalanta 3-0 and I think it is only right to do so.

"Shevchenko? He is a candidate to be rested even if I’m not saying whether he’ll do so tomorrow."

Two men who won’t be available are Pippo Inzaghi and Jaap Stam who are struggling with worrying injuries.

"In order to be precise, you need to talk to the doctors," he replied. "They were both seen yesterday and that’s it. We have nothing to hide."

There are suggestions that Inzaghi’s ankle injury may even require another operation.

Gattuso pens Milan renewal
28.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan have announced that Gennaro Gattuso has extended his contract with the club until 2009.

The Italian international, known for his non-stop running and tackling, joined the club in the summer of 1999 from Salernitana.

Gattuso is somewhat of a fan favourite at the San Siro after cementing his place in the side under boss Carlo Ancelotti.

He’s considered such an important figure that he is expected to be handed the captaincy when Paolo Maldini finally retires.

Meanwhile, the Milan trio of Kaka, Dida and Cafu have been called up for Brazil’s game against Ecuador next month.

AC Milan 3:0 Atalanta - match report
27.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Tomasson 51 (M), Kaladze 71 (M), Serginho 91 (M)

Even after rotating much of the squad, Milan confirm their fine form with this comfortable victory over bottom of the table Atalanta.

The Rossoneri needed a victory to keep up with leaders Juventus following last week's derby stalemate, but had to do without Alessandro Nesta, Jaap Stam, Clarence Seedorf and Pippo Inzaghi. Jon Dahl Tomasson was this time given the nod to partner Kaka and Andriy Shevchenko. Nesta was surprisingly replaced by Argentine defender Fabricio Coloccini for his first appearance of the season.

Atalanta were the only team still without a win coming into this game, but had a secret weapon in former Milan legend Demetrio Albertini.

Milan had a strong start and after four minutes Kaka's angled drive skimmed the far post, but Atalanta hit back with an Igor Budan counter-attack and Dida rushed off his line to narrow the angle from close range.

Andrea Pirlo's fierce drive from a good 20 metres almost took Massimo Taibi by surprise, but the former Milan goalkeeper managed to tip it over the bar.

Taibi ran off his long to stop Tomasson getting on the end of a splendid Kaka pass, while the Dane claimed he had been fouled in the area by Natale Gonnella a couple of minutes earlier.

On the half-hour mark the home side really should have taken the lead when Shevchenko allowed Kaka to spring the offside trap, but the Brazilian incredibly scuffed it well wide from a promising position.

Kaka went even closer soon after, as his effort took a strange bounce right in front of Taibi, but spared the goalkeepers' blushes as it came off the upright.

Atalanta were under siege and just before the break Taibi performed a splendid save on Kakha Kaladze, who tried to sidefoot it into the top corner from six yards.

This allowed Atalanta space to counter-attack and Budan wasted another glorious opportunity to give the visitors the lead against the run of play, though this time Dida had to work with a great fingertip save.

Budan fell under pressure from Coloccini at the dawn of the second half, but the Atalanta player was the first to assure it was not a penalty offence.

The deadlock was eventually broken after 51 minutes, when Pirlo's fine pass found Tomasson and he spun round Cesare Natali to place a low drive into the far corner.

Taibi was kept busy with another save on Christian Brocchi's fierce strike, but he could do nothing when Shevchenko pulled back for Kaladze's perfect angled drive into the far corner. It was an important goal for the Georgian, who has barely played for a year due to a series of injuries.

Another player who has struggled with injury, Serginho, put the seal on this win by running on to a long Manuel Rui Costa pass and placing his cool finish past Taibi.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Coloccini (Costacurta 64), Maldini, Kaladze; Brocchi, Pirlo, Rui Costa; Kakà (Serginho 85); Tomasson (Ambrosini 65), Shevchenko

Atalanta: Taibi; Innocenti, Gonnella, Natali, Rivalta; Zenoni, Albertini, Marcolini (Pazzini 73); Lazzari, Montolivo (Inacio Pia' 66); Budan (Bernardini 75)

Ref: Bertini

AC Milan vs. Atalanta - match preview
27.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have to beat bottom of the table Atalanta if they are to stop Juventus running away with the Scudetto. The Rossoneri have had problems breaking down the smaller sides who come to the San Siro mainly to defend, but Atalanta have such an open approach that it’s unlikely to be the case.

Ex-Milan striker Gianni Comandini will be unable to face his former teammates after picking up a one-match ban, but Demetrio Albertini is set for an emotional return to the club he stayed with for over a decade.

A victory is key for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, who currently lie five points adrift of leaders Juventus. Jaap Stam and Dario Simic are still out with ankle problems, but Kakha Kaladze should replace Giuseppe Pancaro at left-back with Paolo Maldini again in central defence. We’re likely to see a bit of squad rotation with Christian Brocchi and Massimo Ambrosini coming in to the side.

Milan (probable): Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Brocchi, Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kaka; Tomasson, Shevchenko

Atalanta(probable): Taibi; Rivalta, Natali, Gonnella, Bellini; Zenoni, Albertini, Marcolini; Montolivo; Budan, Pazzini

Berlusconi: Cassano not for us
25.10 || webmaster


AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has played down their interest in AS Roma striker Antonio Cassano.

Speaking after the 0-0 draw with Inter last night, Berlusconi said: "I don't think he is a player we will be signing.

"No matter how much talent a player has, if he doesn't have the right character he cannot fit into our squad.

"I only want to see the best players at Milan."

AC Milan seek to beat Inter for Kompany
25.10 || webmaster


AC Milan have stepped up negotiations with Anderlecht over defender Vincent Kompany.

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City rivals Inter are favourites to land the 18 year-old, though the youngster has refused to move to the San Siro in January.

That has left the door open to Milan, where vice-president Adriano Galliani is attempting to thrash out a deal which would see Kompany signed in January, but immediately loaned back to Anderlecht for the rest of this season - and possibly next.

Inter are desperate to bring Kompany to Italy in the winter market, with coach Roberto Mancini unconvinced by his present defensive options.

San Siro Coaches content
24.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Roberto Mancini and Carlo Ancelotti conceded the points were right to be shared, even though both feel they deserved more.

“I am happy with the draw,” said the Milan boss after this 0-0 draw, “as we hardly ever suffered at the back and had a fair few chances to take all three points."

"The whole back line played very well and the entire squad made few mistakes. We allowed Christian Vieri and Adriano to have chance apiece in the first half, but apart from that we kept possession and effectively controlled the game.”

Ancelotti surprised many by opting to start with Hernan Crespo, never taking Pippo Inzaghi off the bench.

“I chose Crespo during the week because he is finally beginning to hit form and always works hard for the squad. His fitness condition perhaps meant he lacked a bit of sharpness, but he did well. I wanted a striker who could move off the ball and especially at creating space in the box, whereas Jon Dahl Tomasson tends to go deeper.”

A contender for Man of the Match – an award that eventually went to Alessandro Nesta – was Kaka.

“Kaka created space well and pierced Inter by starting out from a deep role, so he is definitely close to matching the form he showed last season.”

The Inter camp was also relatively content with the result considering the span of the encounter.

“I think that over the 90 minutes we had the clear-cut chances, but overall I suppose the draw is the right result,” commented Mancio.

“We had three great chances with Christian Vieri early on and then a couple with Adriano, but the important thing is that Inter fought hard and tried to win it. After that, it’s not exactly an embarrassment to draw with a side like Milan.”

Kaka was a particular danger and forced several Inter defenders into bookable offences.

“Both Esteban Cambiasso and Juan Sebastian Veron were trying to create play,” explained Mancini, “which is why they sometimes lost sight of Kaka in that dangerous role between midfield and attack.”

“Milan have been using this rhombus midfield longer than us and therefore use it better for the moment, but one of our main problems is that we give the ball away too much. I wanted to win, so I introduced Andy van der Meyde to put them under pressure on the flanks.”

The defences were key, in particular Alessandro Nesta, who was voted Man of the Match and marked Adriano out of the game.

“I think the only defenders in the world right now who can stop Adriano are Nesta and Jaap Stam. They need the physique and technique to hold him off and Nesta did it very well.”

Nesta looked back on the game with regret, as both teams had good scoring opportunities at the packed out San Siro.

“Looking at the second half I think we could have won it with a bit more conviction and it’s a shame to let this result go,” said the defender. “Adriano is huge, fast and has a thousand different ways of scoring, so it went well today. I think there are too many games this season and that showed in the second half, as you can’t recover playing every three days.

This result has Juventus celebrating, as they open up a five-point lead at the top of the table.

“Juve still have to play against the big teams,” pointed out Nesta, “and hopefully they’ll drop a few points along the way.”

Alberto Fontana has surprisingly pushed Francesco Toldo on to the sidelines this season, but once again proved he is a solid goalkeeper.

“Both sides played to win and had plenty of chances, with a goal ready to come at any moment, so I think the fans enjoyed themselves,” said the 37-year-old. “The only thing missing was a goal.”

He performed a particularly tricky double save on Andriy Shevchenko and Hernan Crespo at the dawn of the second half.

“I tried to read the game, although I knew that Shevchenko could have scored if he had gotten a foot to it, I had to take the risk.”

Fontana cherished the jersey of Milan captain Paolo Maldini after the game and issued a strong statement to all fans of football.

“If the Balon d’Or has never been given to someone like Maldini, then those who judge football have some serious problems. There are two sides to every team and scoring goals isn’t everything.”

AC Milan 0:0 Inter Milan - report
24.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Stadio San Siro

Juventus stretch out a five-point lead after Milan and Inter stall each other's progress in a hard-fought local derby.

This was Inter's best chance in several years to win the Derby della Madonnina, as they were fresh from a 5-1 demolition of Valencia midweek. Milan had also beaten Barcelona in the Champions' League, but Jaap Stam was out with an ankle injury, so Paolo Maldini moved back into the centre and Giuseppe Pancaro came in. Hernan Crespo was surprisingly given the nod to partner Andriy Shevchenko against his old club.

Roberto Mancini said he'd rather lose that send his team out looking for a draw in his first Milan derby, so Javier Zanetti was given the right-back role with Esteban Cambiasso protecting the defence in a rhombus midfield. This was the same line-up that started that incredible second half in Valencia.

The San Siro was completely sold out for over 79,000 fans, supporting Paolo Maldini's claim this week that "Milan is the Capital of European football."

The Rossoneri had a very aggressive start, but Inter had the first chance after three minutes when Emre Belozoglu threaded through for Christian Vieri and his shot was smothered by Dida.

Shevchenko ran down the right and his wayward angled drive nearly turned into an assist for Crespo, but the Argentine just failed to make contact as he slid in.

Moments later Vieri chested down a long Giuseppe Favalli ball forward, but his shot was inches wide of the near post. Alberto Fontana then got down well to intercept Crespo's cutback for Shevchenko.

Marcos Cafu's cross was palmed out for a corner with some difficulty as Crespo prepared to pounce, then Kaka shook the side-netting with one of his trademark runs.

Kaka was often dangerous and skipped past Marco Materazzi and Esteban Cambiasso, so Ivan Cordoba brought him down just outside the box, but Andrea Pirlo's free kick was deflected.

There was panic in both defences in the space of 30 seconds. First Alessandro Nesta's desperate challenge stopped an Adriano counter-attack, then Paolo Maldini immediately set Shevchenko running, forcing Fontana into two rushed lunges at the ball to clear before the Ukrainian and then Crespo could pounce.

The home side began to control the tempo as the first half wore on, while Inter seemed to rely more on their pace in counter-attacks. Cafu sprung the offside trap on Pirlo's pass, but his angled drive was easily controlled by Fontana.

Moments later Shevchenko wrestled with Favalli to get on the end of a searching pass, but the defender and Fontana were able to smother the danger.

Adriano was relatively quiet in the first half, but in stoppages he intelligently flicked the ball over Nesta and Gattuso at the byline, leaving both stranded only to hit the side-netting with his angled drive.

At the dawn of the second half Gattuso chased Adriano to close down one of the Brazilian's counter-attacks, then Cafu's fine work set Kaka running and Marco Materazzi was booked for bringing him down.

Soon after, Pancaro's shot was nearly tapped in by both Kaka and Shevchenko, but Favalli dived in to disturb the Ukrainian.

At the other end Nesta struggled to prevent Adriano getting his shot in after a stunning flick from Emre, who reached his leg back over his head in a scorpion-like movement.

The game sprung to life again and Fontana timed his exit perfectly to slide on to Crespo's feet as he prepared to tap in Kaka's fine pass.

A long-range Dejan Stankovic effort stung Dida's palms, then Nesta put in a crucial tackle from behind to pluck the ball off Adriano's feet during one of his trademark powerful runs down the left.

There was a fantastic chance for Inter on 67 minutes, as Veron's free kick was only parried by Dida and Nesta again intervened with a desperate challenge to stop Vieri tapping in from six yards.

Milan had their own great opportunity on 72 minutes when Cafu's cross found the head of Shevchenko, but it was just wide of the far post.

Clarence Seedorf was struggling throughout the second half with a thigh problem and made way for Massimo Ambrosini, then Jon Dahl Tomasson took over from Crespo.

Ambrosini shoulder-charged Emre off the ball and handed Adriano a free kick 31 metres from the goal-line, but this time the Brazilian drilled it wide.

Kaka overhit his pass for Tomasson, then Vieri turned a header well wide of the target from Favalli's cross.

Obafemi Martins has been out of action for several weeks with a calf injury and took over from Vieri in the closing 15 minutes, while Andy van der Meyde replaced Emre.

Shevchenko's glancing header was well held by the dependable Fontana, but Favalli was booked for a body-check on Kaka after he had skipped past both Materazzi and Javier Zanetti.

Paolo Maldini pushed forward a little more and Kaka nodded his cross wide of the target, but Massimo Ambrosini had a fantastic chance to score soon after. Another Cafu cross found the midfielder unmarked at the back post, but he elected to head it into the ground and it bounced over the bar.

Kaka gathered from Pirlo and turned quickly, but drilled his shot wide, as the defences won in this intense encounter.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Ambrosini 69); Kakà; Crespo (Tomasson 73), Shevchenko

Inter: Fontana; J Zanetti, Cordoba, Materazzi, Favalli; Veron, Cambiasso, Stankovic; Emre (van der Meyde 75); Vieri (Martins 79), Adriano

Ref: Rosetti

Clash of the titans - A preview of the Milan derby
23.10 || ART

The derby match proudly considered by the people of Milan as the biggest in the world tops the bill in Italy as AC Milan defend their recent ascendancy against city rivals Internazionale at the San Siro.

Many cities around the world might contest that description but Milan can certainly claim the title as "best in Europe" as, unlike rival claimants in Madrid, Munich, Manchester, Glasgow or Liverpool, they can claim two teams who have won the two biggest trophies available - the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

AC Milan, bankrolled and owned by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, have won six European titles and three world titles while Inter have won two of each but the residents of Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo might still dispute the claim.

In recent years, AC Milan have had the indian sign over Inter who have not won a major trophy since 1998 (the UEFA Cup) and not lifted the Scudetto since 1988-9.

Reigning Italian champions AC Milan have also had the better of the derbies in that time with the trend perhaps most emphatically displayed in 2001 when they spanked Inter 6-0 in the derby at their shared San Siro home, the most one-sided match ever in a fixture with a 96-year history.

Both teams are riding on the crest of the wave in Europe and both have virtually sealed their place in the Champions League by winning the first three matches in their respective groups.

Milan continue to have the upper hand in Serie A and are second only to leaders Juventus while Inter are sixth.

However, there is a new feeling of optimism in the black-and-blue half of the northern Italian city and it has largely been engendered by the consistent brilliance of Brazilian forward Adriano.

Some are even having the temerity to suggest that Adriano is now the equal of his compatriot and former Inter team-mate Ronaldo who departed for Real Madrid amid much acrimony in 2002 shortly after leading Brazil to World Cup glory after two years when Inter had stood by him during a series of serious injuries.

AC Milan skipper Paolo Maldini admitted that he and his fellow defenders would have to keep a close eye on Adriano.

"Adriano and Ronaldo are both crucial players," he told club website "But they are crucial in different ways."

Time will only tell whether the balance of power is truly shifting in Milan but a victory for Inter would certainly fuel the feeling in Inter coach Roberto Mancini's first derby since swapping Lazio for Inter in the summer.

Long-serving skipper Javier Zanetti admits he is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with the city rivals in the match known in Italy as the "derby della Madonnina" (derby of the little Madonna) in honour of the golden statue of the Virgin Mary on top of the city's majestic Duomo (Cathedral).

"I think there will be lots of goals," said the Argentinian to club website "So long as we score one more (than Milan) that's the important thing.

"We are really looking forward to it because playing in the derby is a dream for all of us. I am in the same situation as my team-mates - I don't know if I will play.

"We have a squad full of stars and anyone could get the nod."

Sheva admires new Inter
23.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko is looking forward to the derby as a great game of football, heaping praise upon his opponents.

“I would love to play alongside Adriano one day,” smiled the Milan hero, “and Roberto Mancini is a Coach that I’d like to get to know better.”

These are not the usual statements players make ahead of a clash with their local rivals, but Shevchenko laughs off any suggestion he’d move across the city.

“The Nerazzurri’s style of play this season is far more entertaining and aggressive than in previous years. I am curious to see how Mancini has been able to teach his players this change of attitude so quickly.”

Another contributing factor to the change in Inter’s fortunes has been the form of Adriano.

“I don’t understand how people can compare him to Ronaldo,” stated Shevchenko. “They have totally different physiques, movements and positions within the squad. However, Inter also have other great players like Juan Sebastian Veron, Dejan Stankovic, Edgar Davids and Christian Vieri.”

Adriano and Shevchenko are two contenders for the Balon d’Or, but the Ukrainian reveals why he isn’t losing sleep over personal trophies.

“I think I’ve done enough to deserve that most prestigious individual prize a player can have,” he told ‘La Repubblica’ newspaper, “but if I don’t win then I don’t mind. Any day now my son Jordan will be born and he will be the most precious gift of all.”

Maldini: Milan is Calcio Capital
22.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Paolo Maldini claims Sunday’s derby showdown will prove the San Siro is “the Capital of football,” but Adriano isn’t giving him sleepless nights.

“This is going to be the 258th Derby della Madonnina in all competitions,” noted the legendary captain, “so we could say that Milan is the Capital of European football. Even when I retire and merely become a fan, this match will be the centre-point of the season.”

The Rossoneri have dominated this fixture in recent years, winning the last four Serie A meetings, but their opponents have found new verve with Coach Roberto Mancini.

“We are both going into this game on level terms, even if we have the best record over the last few years,” added Maldini. “It’s still early in the Scudetto chase, but it can only be a crucial moment as Juventus and the two Milan clubs are the only ones who can take the title.”

Both teams will be particularly fired up after earning impressive victories in the Champions’ League midweek – Milan beating Barcelona and Inter demolishing Valencia 5-1.

“It’s not a new experience for me to face a truly strong Nerazzurri side,” assured the veteran. “After all, I played against Giovanni Trapattoni’s record-breaking team in 1989. Mancini has certainly improved their style of play, but we have to wait and see what the results are.”

He also faced Ronaldo during his heyday and insists that after that experience, Adriano is not giving him sleepless nights.

“In his first year in Serie A Ronaldo was unstoppable,” he recalls. “He had an extraordinary speed of movement that I’ve never seen before or since. Adriano has strength combined with technique, so you have to use your head with him. If you just go for a physical battle, you’ll come off worse.”

Carlo Ancelotti’s outfit has been struggling in defence, but the return to full fitness of Jaap Stam shored them up for a clean sheet against the mighty Barcelona.

“It is hard playing out wide on the left at my age,” noted 36-year-old Maldini, “but I have plenty of time to recover before Sunday night. In any case, this won’t be a battle between Adriano and our defence, or Andriy Shevchenko and their back line. This is going to be a clash of two great teams.”

Ancelotti relishes victory
20.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti admits Milan were fortunate to get all three points, but insists they deserved to beat much-fancied Barcelona.

“Both teams played well and showed great quality throughout the game,” he said after the 1-0 win. “Neither side tried to limit the other and everyone was eager to simply be better than their opponents.”

Andriy Shevchenko’s header proved enough to ensure the Rossoneri’s 100 per cent record, but the Spaniards rattled the woodwork twice.

“Had Barcelona equalised they would not have been robbing us, but Milan did play very well for an hour and I think overall it is a deserved victory. I think we played very well for an hour, but we became tired and were forced to sit back. They are a formidable team and it certainly wasn’t easy to beat them, so it was inevitable we’d struggle a little at the end.”

Nonetheless, Milan had several good scoring opportunities that failed to give them another safety goal.

“We knew that putting balls deep would hurt the Spaniards,” continued Ancelotti, “so both Pippo Inzaghi and Shevchenko did well to run on to diagonal balls.”

There is another extremely tough test for Milan on Sunday evening, as Inter are fresh from a 5-1 destruction of Valencia.

“I must say that today’s defensive performance was very comforting,” noted the Coach after Jaap Stam’s return, “even if Adriano is the most dangerous striker in the world right now.”

This match was not only a showdown between two European giants, but also Frank Rijkaard’s return to face his old club.

“It was a special emotion for me walking into the San Siro,” said the Dutchman, “as I spent such a great period of my life here and the Milan fans will always remain in my heart.”

Rijkaard had some reason to curse his luck after Henrik Larsson and Iniesta rattled the crossbar, but did not criticise the Rossoneri.

“The only thing I didn’t like about our performance was the fact we hit the crossbar and didn’t score. I think the team that wins always deserves that result, so our compliments go to Milan.”

The Rossoneri now charge out in front of Group F with a 100 per cent record, while Celtic are almost out of it after losing 3-0 at Shakhtar Donetsk. This makes the next Champions’ League clash at the Nou Camp even more intriguing.

“Barcelona always want to play our style of football against any opponent,” added Rijkaard, “so I hope the game at the Nou Camp will be another interesting encounter.”

AC Milan 1:0 Barcelona - report
20.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Shevchenko 31 (M)
San Siro (76,059)

Andriy Shevchenko's header proved enough to get the better of Barcelona, although the Spaniards hit the woodwork twice.

Two of the most attack-minded teams in Europe faced off at the sold out San Siro for an historic meeting of Arrigo Sacchi's best students. Carlo Ancelotti and Frank Rijkaard forged a world-class midfield partnership at Milan in the 1980's and are now making their mark as Coaches.

Jaap Stam made his comeback from almost six weeks out with a sprained ankle to start in defence, pushing Paolo Maldini into his old left-back position.

The first shot on target was from Andriy Shevchenko after three minutes, but it was too weak to really trouble Victor Valdes. Pippo Inzaghi was just unable to get on the end of Andrea Pirlo's through ball despite keeping onside.

Barcelona mainly aimed long-range efforts from Xavi and Rafael Marquez, but they flew well wide of the target.

Shevchenko ran on to Kaka's pass and managed to squeeze his shot between two defenders, but Valdes was ready with a splendid reaction save at the near post.

Henrik Larsson's looping header was well over the bar after a defensive error by Pirlo inside the box, but the ex-Celtic man went much closer soon after as Ronaldinho's dummy left him unmarked and his rising druve thumped the crossbar on 19 minutes.

Moments later Milan had a great chance when Shevchenko sprung the offside trap on Clarence Seedorf's chipped pass and tried to cut across for Inzaghi, but Valdes and Giovanni van Bronckhorst combined to clear.

Pirlo went for glory when he snatched the ball off Carles Puyol, but his shot did not trouble Valdes and it might have been better to pass it to the unmarked Inzaghi.

Milan were beginning to push forward a little more and they broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark. Marcos Cafu swept in a cross from the right and Shevchenko rose to nod in, although goalkeeper Valdes had mistimed his exit and left himself in no man's land.

Ronaldinho exchanged passes with Larsson to get into the box, but Stam put a foot in to weaken the shot so that Dida could control easily. Almost all Barca's moves came down the right flank, where Belletti was often left unmarked.

Ronaldinho hit his shot into the ground but Dida was prepared, then Stam intercepted a dangerous Deco cutback.

The Rossoneri had a strong start to the second half and within a minute Kaka's through ball had reached Inzaghi but Valdes dived on to his feet before he could place the final toe-poke.

Seedorf then saw his effort from the edge of the box deflected out for a corner, while Shevchenko's delightful first touch on the Dutchman's long ball forward was hooked back for Inzaghi and Valdes intercepted.

Shevchenko went for glory himself soon after and drilled a fierce drive just wide of the far post. It was a game blissfully free of fouls and with precious few free kicks.

Inzaghi gathered Paolo Maldini's pass and squeezed his shot in, although Valdes was ready, then Kaka's acrobatic finish from a Shevchenko cross was easily dealt with.

Dida's first real save of the match came on 67 minutes when Ronaldinho skipped past a defender and aimed his low drive at the far corner, but his fellow Brazilian fingertipped it round the post.

The first booking arrived soon after, as Kaka spun round a defender and was running off on a promising counter-attack when Puyol lunged at the young starlet in a cynical foul.

Carlo Ancelotti strengthened the midfield by introducing Massimo Ambrosini for the not 100 per cent fit Inzaghi. Milan had Jon Dahl Tomasson out injured, while Hernan Crespo is still struggling for form after a series of muscular problems.

Belletti's angled drive skimmed the far post, then Dida took the sting out of Xavi's acrobatic effort as Barcelona started to push forward insistently. Serginho and Hernan Crespo came on in the closing stages, but the Spaniards hit the woodwork again with Iniesta's rising drive from the right.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Stam, Maldini; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakà (Serginho 83); Shevchenko (Crespo 88), Inzaghi (Ambrosini 76)

Barcelona: Valdes; Belletti, Puyol, Oleguer, Van Bronckhorst; Xavi, Marquez, Deco; Larsson, Eto'o (Iniesta 68), Ronaldinho

Ref: Poll (Eng)

AC Milan vs. Barcelona - match preview
20.10 || Seamus

Mouth-watering is just about the perfect descriptor for this European clash of the titans.


The San Siro is the stage for the biggest Champions League fixture of the week, and probably of the tournament so far. One would expect both of these teams, positively dripping with talent, to be in the shake-up when we reach the latter stages of the competition. Having sealed the Scudetto for the first time in five years last season, there is little doubt the AC Milan have their hearts set firmly on lifting the prestigious European Cup at the end of May. This fact may even go some way to explaining their sluggish start in Serie A - are they saving their best football for Europe? Nevertheless, despite not sparkling on the domestic front they have picked up 9 points in their last three league outings and are primed to move up a gear.

In contrast, Barcelona’s domestic form has been majestic. Injuries have heavily blighted the near perfect situation they now find themselves in – joint top of their group with two victories and 5 pts point clear of Valencia (9 clear of Real Madrid) at the summit of La Liga. This will easily be Barca’s toughest test so far this season as the domestic fixture list has allowed the team to be softly broken in to what will be a very hectic campaign. We could learn nearly as much about Barca in ninety minutes in Milano as we have all season – all of Europe will see if Rijkaard’s sublimely gifted team can come up with the answers when the continent’s elite ask the tough questions.


If rumours are to be believed, Carlo Ancelotti has a fully fit squad to chose from. If so, it will be something of a novelty and a first for this season. With early, unexpected defensive frailties evident at the back, it’s hard to know what Ancelotti’s first choice backline is. With insecurities in the Stam-Nesta partnership, expect Maldini to partner the latter. The only other point of note is the return of the much-maligned Pippo Inzaghi. He should come straight into the team to partner Shevchenko in attack.

Fortunately, Carles Puyol is said to have shaken off a minor knee injury. Essential news, as Rijkaard is intending to field Marquez in the midfield holding role vacated by the crocked Edmilson – impossible if Puyol is unavailable. Other than that it’s very much as you were, as the numerous absentees and unfit players make guessing Rijkaard’s eleven far easier than it could be.


Kaka. The team’s midfield is packed with quality, so it’s hard to pick one out. If Milan are to succeed they will have to frighten the Barca defence and make the midfield think twice about pushing forward. Although he hasn’t really sparkled yet, the brilliant Brazilian is capable of unnerving the most confident performers. A symbolic playmaking battle with Ronaldinho could be in the offing.

Xavi. The diminutive schemer has been one of Barca’s most consistent and impressive players – maintaining his outstanding performances from last season. Possession will be everything in this match with so many players that are superb on the ball. With his vision and bright running, Xavi’s ability to break up possession AND hurt the opposition with incisive passing could be crucial.


AC Milan (4-3-1-2): Dida, Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro, Pirlo, Gattuso, Seedorf, Kaka, Shevchenko, Inzaghi
Subs: Fiori, Coloccini, Ambrosini, Rui Costa, Serginho, Tomasson

Barcelona: (4-3-3): Victor Valdez, Belletti, Van Bronckhorst, Oleguer, Puyol, Marquez, Xavi, Deco, Ronaldinho, Larsson, Eto’o
Subs: Jorquera, Fernando Navarro, Messi, Iniesta, Gerard, Giuly

Barca "bring best out of Milan"
19.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Jon Dahl Tomasson is out of tomorrow’s San Siro showdown, but Carlo Ancelotti insists Barcelona will suit the Rossoneri’s characteristics.

“This is a high-profile encounter,” commented Carlo Ancelotti, “and Milan have usually played well when the pressure is on.”

The two teams currently dominate Group F with six points apiece to Celtic and Shakhtar Donetsk’s zero, so victory will ensure passage into the next round. The Stadium is almost entirely sold out already and fans are expecting plenty of goals.

“The problem with these teams built to attack, as both Milan and Barcelona are, is that it’s difficult to find a balance in defence. The Blaugrana managed it and that is testament to Frank Rijkaard’s courage.”

This is a familiar arena to the Dutchman, who won several trophies as part of the all-conquering Milan team that included Ancelotti among its ranks.

“Those players who worked under Arrigo Sacchi were able to learn what is needed to be a good Coach,” revealed the Rossoneri boss. “I never saw Rijkaard get angry and we forged a great midfield partnership.”

As befits two former midfielders, it is here that the two Coaches see the key to this clash of the titans.

“We know Barcelona’s strengths and weaknesses,” assured Ancelotti. “The tactical set-up will be essential rather than the actions of individual stars. Both teams will try to be better than their opponents rather than try to limit them, so winning back the ball in the centre of the park will be the real battle.”

There are some injury worries, as Tomasson is not part of the squad, but Hernan Crespo and Jaap Stam return from their setbacks.

“Jaap Stam is doing well and could play, but it all depends on my decision. Pippo Inzaghi is given extra strength by the possibility of matching Alfredo Di Stefano’s tally of 49 European goals.”

The Dutchman has been out of action since suffering a sprained ankle over a month ago and has only featured in one Serie A game so far – the 2-2 draw with Livorno in Week 1. Crespo has barely set foot on the field due to a series of muscular problems.

Milan squad:

Gk: Abbiati, Fiori, Dida

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

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

F: Crespo, Inzaghi, Shevchenko

Parma's Gilardino keen on AC Milan
18.10 || webmaster


Parma striker Alberto Gilardino admits he is flattered to be linked with AC Milan.

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Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani refused to deny reports yesterday that they had struck personal terms with the young centre-forward ahead of a possible January agreement with Parma.

For his part, Gilardino admitted: "There have been five or six months of talk with my name linking me to this or to that great team. I have always said I would stay with Parma and here I have remained.

"The interest of Milan? There is no doubt, it is surely a beautiful thing."

Cagliari 0:1 AC Milan - match report
17.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Pirlo 20 (M)

Milan end Cagliari's unbeaten home run that stretched back to last year's Serie B campaign and take themselves within three points of leaders Juventus.

Cagliari went into this game having won their last nine consecutive home ties, while Milan had lost just once on their travels since the start of last season.

The Sardinians were without the suspended Mauro Esposito and injured David Suazo, but Rolando Bianchi was boosted by his three goals in two games for the Under-21 side this week. Gianfranco Zola was particularly eager to make an impact against Carlo Ancelotti, the Coach who effectively pushed him out of Parma and into the arms of Chelsea in 1996.

Carlo Ancelotti looked to the upcoming clashes with Barcelona and Inter by rotating the squad with Marcos Cafu, Jaap Stam and Hernan Crespo not even making the trip, while Pippo Inzaghi, Kaka and Gennaro Gattuso were rested.

Cagliari had the first scoring opportunity after just three minutes when Antonio Langella found space only to drill it wide of Dida's goal.

Paolo Maldini nearly scored a spectacular opener when he flicked a corner kick off his heel, but Brambilla was standing guard at the near post and was able to clear it off the line.

The deadlock was broken after 20 minutes in fine fashion. Andrea Pirlo gathered the ball midway through the Cagliari half, shrugged off a couple of challenges and unleashed a rocket into the far corner.

There was controversy just before the break when Billy Costacurta challenged Antonio Langella on the edge of the box, but the referee did not even award a free kick. Had he acknowledged it was a foul, the Milan defender would have been sent off as last man.

Rolando Bianchi burst through the centre of Milan's defence only to fire a weak shot straight at Dida. Manuel Rui Costa's dummy set up Clarence Seedorf, but the Dutchman dragged his shot wide of the target.

Andriy Shevchenko had two good chances at the dawn of the second half, then set up Jon Dahl Tomasson only for the Dane to slip at the crucial moment.

Both strikers were substituted by Kaka and Pippo Inzaghi for the final 20 minutes, but Zola wasted a golden opportunity by firing wide from a promising position.

The substitutions seemed to revive the Rossoneri and Kaka's effort almost squeezed past Katergiannakis at the near post, then he was forced into a tricky save on Inzaghi's glancing header.

Cagliari: Katergiannakis; Lopez, Maltagliati, Bega, Agostini; Abeijon, Brambilla (Conti 62), Gobbi; Bianchi (Albino 62), Zola, Langella

Milan: Dida; Kaladze, Maldini, Nesta, Costacurta; Seedorf, Pirlo, Brocchi; Rui Costa; Shevchenko (Inzaghi 70), Tomasson (Kaka 70)

Ref: Rodomonti

Leonardo: Sheva for Golden Ball
16.10 || webmaster


AC Milan executive Leonardo is stumping for Andriy Shevchenko to take home the UEFA Player of the Year award.

”In my opinion Sheva deserves it,” said the former Rossoneri star. “For what he has done and is continuing to do.”

The Brazilian also revealed that management were not looking to dip into the winter transfer market.

"Milan's squad is complete and full of champions,” stated Leonardo. “In January, there won't be the need to strengthen."

Cagliari vs. AC Milan - match preview
15.10 || Seamus

Cagliari have played well so far this season, and they will look to continue their form as they welcome Serie A giants AC Milan to the Stadio Sant’Elia for the sixth match of the domestic campaign.


Cagliari currently sits in fifth place, very surprising for a side which this time a year ago was plying their trade in the Italian Serie B. However, they have not achieved their position in a surprising manner. From their first five matches, they have won three, all at home. They have not scored more than two goals in either of the victories, but they have defended well enough to keep the opponent from breaking the match open. Cagliari started the season with a 1-0 victory at home against Bologna on a goal by Mauro Esposito. That was followed by a 2-1 loss at fellow newly-promoted side Fiorentina. They then came back to the Sant’Elia and defended their home turf with a 2-0 win over Siena, with goals by Esposito and the Honduran, Suazo. Then came a second away loss at the hands of Lecce, and back home to defeat Brescia 2-1 on an early Gianfranco Zola penalty and a late winner by Antonio Langella.

Milan, after starting the season in bad form, have in recent fixtures picked up exactly where they left off in their scudetto winning campaign of last season. Having only taken four points from their first three matches, many thought the side would not be able to repeat their exploits of the previous season. Oh, how wrong they were. Milan took away the full three points at the Stadio Olimpico, as Andriy Shevchenko again struck against Lazio by bagging a brace. In their last match, the rossoneri won comfortably at home 3-1 over Reggina. Andriy Shevchenko again grabbed a brace, and Kaka tallied the other goal.


Cagliari will field a similar side to that which defeated Brescia in their last match. However, they will be without team leading scorer Mauro Esposito, as he was shown the red card against Brescia.

Milan will most likely field a full strength side, although the full allotment of substitutions may be used, as they play Barcelona in a midweek Champions League fixture. Filippo Inzaghi has achieved full fitness, and will be ready to reclaim his rightful place as one of the best goal poachers in the world.


Gianfranco Zola (Cagliari) - After grabbing his first goal of the season in their last match, albeit a penalty, he will try to put one or more past his former manager at Parma, Carlo Ancelotti, who is now in charge of Milan.

Andriy Shevchenko (Milan) - With recent speculation listing him among the favorites for European Player of the Year, he will look to solidify his place at the top of the list.


Cagliari (4-4-2): Katergiannakis; Pisano, Loria, Bega, Agostini; Gobbi, Conti, Albino, Del Nevo; Zola, Langella

Milan (4-3-1-2): Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kaka; Shevchenko, Inzaghi


Cagliari have successfully defended their home pitch in all three opportunities so far, but Milan may have too much, as they have rediscovered the form which saw them win the scudetto last season. A well fought effort, but Milan are the favorites for a reason.

Gila shows transfer caution
15.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are being strongly linked with a move for Alberto Gilardino – but he’s not keen on a January switch.

"I don’t think it would be a good idea to move mid-season even if anything can happen," said the Parma sensation. "But I could even stay another year with my current club."

The Italian hotshot was one of the most wanted players during the summer yet remained at the Stadio Tardini.

Although he’s had a difficult start to the season, there are signs of improvement after he netted his first goal for Italy in the 4-3 win over Belarus.

"I have to thank Coach Marcello Lippi and captain Fabio Cannavaro who helped me to deal with the pressure I was under," explained the 22-year-old.

"Having the faith of Lippi in this difficult moment for me was a surprise. He could have opted for someone else but decided to reward me for my work in training."

The former Under-21 ace has only been a part of the full national side for six weeks but he’s been made to feel welcome.

"This squad has a distorted image," he noted. "I found myself with real men, champions who know how to cope when things go wrong.

"My teammates were even a great help to me at half-time against Belarus, when I just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. I thank them all."

Seedorf: Real Milan will return
13.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf is confident that Milan will soon be playing to their full potential again.

The Rossoneri have had a few difficulties so far this term but the midfielder is sure they will be back to their best.

"There are many aspects in which we must still improve," said the Dutchman. "But our perfect form is on the way and a great Milan side will appear."

The Italian champions return to action at the weekend against Cagliari, the first of nine key games in 29 days.

"This is a very important part of the season for us," added the former Samp player. "We are happy with the results so far but we are hoping for even better.

"We need to move up to the next level now because we have some fundamental games coming up against some prestigious clubs.

"Playing against teams such as Barcelona and Inter is really fascinating for me and my teammates."

So how does Seedorf rate his own form right now? "I’m in good shape and I’m fully fit again after my recent problems," he responded.

"But I, like the rest of the side, can still improve and that will happen given the amount of games coming up."

Pippo plans new contract
11.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi admits he hopes to end his career at the San Siro, while Roma are close to tying down troubled star Antonio Cassano.

“It is easy for a club to praise a player when he scores 20 goals a season,” noted the hitman, “but it’s a different thing to support him when he’s injured and doesn’t play. I want to thank the fans and Milan for their faith in me and will repay them for that.”

The Rossoneri have been penning new contracts with several top stars, including Andriy Shevchenko, Kaka, Dida and Clarence Seedorf.

“I have a lot more celebrations to make wearing this jersey,” added Inzaghi whose deal expires in 2008. “I want to end my career here and have already spoken to Vice-President Adriano Galliani about adding another year to my contract. He said I can swing by the office whenever I want.”

Inzaghi has been out of action for five months due to a recurring ankle problem that required surgery, but he is now just one goal away from Di Stefano’s 49 strikes in all European club competition.

“In the last few days everyone has asked me about that record. I only need one more goal to equal it and I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t say I can’t wait to score.”

There is also contract talk over at Roma, where Cassano’s recent bad behaviour has not swayed the club from trying to keep hold of him.

The talented youngster is only tied to the Stadio Olimpico until 2006, so failure to pen a new deal would see him sold off at the end of this season.

However, negotiations for a pay-per-view contract worth £30m over two years should give them the ready cash needed to give Cassano the same wages as Totti for £3m a season.

Brocchi begs for Lazio move
11.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Brocchi has openly pleaded with Milan to release him for a switch to the Stadio Olimpico.

“I am ready for Lazio,” stated the midfielder in the Corriere dello Sport. “If the subject comes up in January then I will leap at the chance to make this move.”

The two clubs had already started talks during the summer, but Brocchi’s transfer request came too late to find a suitable replacement and nothing ever came of it.

“I had already given my consent in August,” revealed the 28-year-old, “but Milan put a stop to it. I didn’t hear from anyone else after that, but if the negotiations resume then I would love to complete it this time. It is really very difficult to find room in the squad now.”

The reigning Serie A Champions are spoilt for choice in the centre and Brocchi is nothing more than a squad player, but he isn’t the only one sitting on the bench.

“When I signed for this club,” explained Vikash Dhorasoo, “I knew what my prospects were and am therefore entirely relaxed about it now. It’s not an easy situation, as at Lyon I was always a starter, but all I can do is work hard and be ready when the Coach needs me.”

Gattuso lectures Cassano
9.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Roma insist Antonio Cassano’s training ground walk-out was planned, while Gennaro Gattuso and Nils Liedholm give their view on the controversial starlet.

“Unfortunately,” noted Italy teammate Gattuso, “Antonio has to learn when to control himself and I ran him up to give him some advice. If he learned to use his brain occasionally, then he wouldn’t make these mistakes.”

Marcello Lippi’s decision to leave him out of the Azzurri squad for this week’s World Cup qualifiers focused even more attention on the wayward Cassano.

Red cards and training ground walk-outs have already characterised his season and yesterday afternoon it was reported he had stormed off the field during a friendly game against local side Tivoli.

However, both Roma’s press officer and Coach Gigi Del Neri later insisted that his substitution was pre-planned for the 57th minute of the match. On-lookers claimed that the replacement was not ready until a few moments after Cassano had left the field.

Former Roma legend Nils Liedholm also commented on the chaos surrounding his old club.

“Cassano is a modern Garrincha,” announced the Swede on his 82nd birthday, “while Francesco Totti is more like me. I tell the Giallorossi fans to relax, as with these two upfront they can win plenty of trophies.”

Whether Cassano will stay in a Roma jersey remains to be seen, as Milan and Juventus have both publicly confirmed their willingness to take on the rebellious youngster.

Milan eye Cassano too
8.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan are the latest club to invite Antonio Cassano to join them if he leaves Roma in the summer.

Juventus director general Luciano Moggi indirectly made a plea to the player this morning and now Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has done the same.

"Cassano doesn’t represent a problem for a Coach," said the tactician. "Here at Milan he would find the perfect environment to resolve his character problems.

"This club has helped a host of players in the past. There have always been and there are still some particular individuals at this club.

"But the air here at Milanello, created by this club, helps to keep everybody calm and tranquil."

Turning to the current campaign, the former Juventus boss was asked to comment on Milan’s poor defending at set-pieces.

"I think the less we talk about this the better, otherwise we run the risk of being terrified every time a free-kick is awarded against us," he noted.

"The problem is that the opposition put five in the box and we only have our four defenders and Andriy Shevchenko making aerial challenges as the rest of the side are pretty small.

"That is the situation at the present time but I’m looking to make some small changes in the future."

Milan are next in action in 10 days time when they travel to Cagliari before taking on Barcelona in the Champions’ League.

And the boss is confident that Jaap Stam, Hernan Crespo and Pippo Inzaghi will be available.

"Stam will be back in training next week," revealed Ancelotti. "Crespo is close to his best, he just needs to play a few games.

"Inzaghi? He still hasn’t got 90 minutes in his legs but he is already in decent form."

Cagliari return for Stam
7.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are confident that Jaap Stam will be available for the Week 6 trip to surprise package Cagliari.

The summer signing from Lazio has been sidelined for the last few weeks with injury but he is close to full recovery.

"Stam is well on the road to full fitness and it shouldn’t be too long now," said Milan medic Jean Pierre Meersseman.

"He is doing fine and there shouldn’t be any problems. He is very hopeful of being available for the game against Cagliari."

The San Siro giants look like they certainly need him after a shaky start to the new season defensively.

The side have often been caught out on set-pieces and the stopper’s imposing figure should certainly help to rectify that problem.

However, Stam’s name has today been linked with Real Madrid who are allegedly planning a January swoop.

The Madrid outfit apparently want Stam and are ready to make a £13m offer, or £6.5m plus Roberto Carlos.

The chances of that move though seem pretty slim given that the former Man Utd ace has only just arrived in Milan.

Inzaghi backs Golden Sheva
7.10 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi has backed Milan teammate Andriy Shevchenko to be crowned European Footballer of the Year.

"Sheva deserves the Golden Ball for all that he has achieved in these past few years," he stated.

"I hope that he does win it because it would also be an honour for us who play alongside him."

The Ukrainian is set to be one of the top contenders to lift the award following his 24 League goals last term.

And Inzaghi’s statement comes just a day after Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho also tipped the striker for the prize.

"Usually the choice is tied to the outcome of a major competition but Greece and Porto are not two heavyweights of the game," Mourinho told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Although Deco has been rewarded by UEFA for the Champions’ League and Theo Zagorakis for Euro 2004, I don't see them as candidates for the Golden Ball.

"Frank Lampard impressed in England and at the European Championships with his country.

"But Shevchenko made something more. He has been, and he is, fantastic in the world's strongest League for forwards.

"Scoring so much in Italy is a really exceptional achievement, one that in my opinion should be recognised."

Shevchenko has been a contender in the past and he admits he wants to finally get his hands on the trophy.

"I do think about it but I can’t vote myself so I just keep concentrating on my game," said the player. "I’m here to score goals and do well for the team.

"It would be great to win but if that doesn’t happen then I will be happy with just being successful with Milan as I have done in these years."

AC Milan 3:1 Reggina - report
3.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Shevchenko 11, 88 (M), Franceschini 59 (R), Kaka 66 (M)

Another Andriy Shevchenko brace ensured Milan's second win on the trot, but it was a controversial encounter that will be talked about.

The Scudetto holders were looking for their first home win of the season and confidence was boosted by their Champions' League victory against Celtic midweek. Massimo Ambrosini was suspended and Clarence Seedorf struggling for form, so Manuel Rui Costa stepped in to the midfield along with Andrea Pirlo and Kaka. Pippo Inzaghi was on target during Wednesday's game and started alongside Andriy Shevchenko.

Reggina were unbeaten coming into this game and had the same counter-attack tactics that had proved successful here for Livorno and Messina already this season.

It took just 11 minutes for the Rossoneri to break through with on-form Shevchenko. Kaka went past his marker and cut through a fine pass for the Ukrainian to sweep it into the roof of the net.

The players all ran over to the bench and performed the Brazilian cradle celebration to mark the birth of Billy Costacurta's son Achille yesterday morning.

This goal freed up some space on the field and Milan began to take control with Rui Costa firing over the bar and Kaka using his pace to burst through the centre.

Pavarini was tested by a couple of efforts from Kaka, one intelligently set up by Rui Costa, and Shevchenko.

However, Reggina started to get back into the game towards the end of the first half and Dida rushed off his line to capture a throw-in only to be left stranded by Emiliano Bonazzoli's overhead kick, which was off target from a very tight angle.

Just as with the midweek win over Celtic, Milan seemed to take their foot off the gas in the second half and allowed Reggina to start passing the ball around.

Shevchenko fired an angled drive past the post, but Reggina were pushing and drew level from a set-piece. Shunsuke Nakamura's free kick was met by Ivan Franceschini's header. The Rossoneri have repeatedly shown this season that they are weak at defending from dead ball situations.

Milan hit back and Pavarini flew to palm Marco Cafu's rising drive out of the top corner, but they restored their lead on 66 minutes. Shevchenko sprung the offside trap and saw his first effort charged down by Pavarini, but then intelligently cut back for Kaka to slam in from a more central position.

Reggina really should have equalised for a second time soon after, as Giandomenico Mesto's low cross found Bonazzoli only for the striker to somehow balloon over the bar from six yards.

Kaka skipped past defenders down the left wing and put in the cross for Jon Dahl Tomasson, who seemed surprised and did not tap it in from eight yards.

There was a very controversial moment in the closing minutes, as Reggina saw a goal by Milan-owned Marco Borriello disallowed. The incident that caused the foul wasn't clear, but it might have been a shirt tug on Alessandro Nesta.

The Rossoneri put the result beyond doubt in spectacular fashion less than a minute later, as Shevchenko charged down the centre and unleashed a missile that slotted into the bottom corner of the net.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Pirlo (Brocchi 90), Gattuso, Rui Costa (Seedorf 68); Kakà; Shevchenko, Inzaghi (Tomasson 65)

Reggina: Pavarini; Franceschini, Zamboni, Cannarsa; Mesto, Tedesco, Mozart, Colucci (Ganci 85), Balestri; Nakamura (Borriello 68); Bonazzoli (Dionigi 81)

Ref: Trefoloni

Mazzarri unveils Milan plan
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Source: Football Italia

Reggina boss Walter Mazzarri is unbeaten in his Serie A career so far and unveils his all-attack plan for getting the better of Milan.

“We must play to our utmost potential,” warned the Coach, “playing the ball quickly both upfront and on the flanks. Above all, we have to put the Rossoneri under constant pressure so they don’t have time to think.”

The Scudetto holders are still without a home League win this season after a draw with Livorno and defeat to new boys Messina, so Mazzarri is following their example for tomorrow’s encounter.

“We cannot waste our opportunities when we do manage to break through their defences,” continued the former Livorno tactician. “I think their real weaknesses lie down the flanks, as we can change from one side to the other and confuse them.”

Reggina are currently unbeaten this season with three draws and a victory against Livorno, but have only ever earned one point from their four trips to the San Siro.

“There was a lot of scepticism in pre-season, but the results have been above and beyond our best case scenario. This team has put in some great performances.”

Milan defence worries Nesta
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Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Nesta admits he has concerns about the quality of Milan’s defending this season.

The Rossoneri have conceded five goals in four Serie A games so far and the Italian has called for more focus.

"I would like to beat Reggina on Sunday 1-0 rather than 4-2," stated the international central defender.

"We have been caught out on too many dead ball situations so we really need to be more alert.

"It’s just one of those periods. We are conceding few shots but they are unfortunately going in. It is time to change that."

Four of those goals that Milan have let in have come against Livorno and Messina, so will the champions struggle against fellow minnows Reggina?

"We didn’t play very well in those two matches but things are improving," continued the former Lazio star.

"Reggina will look to try to contain us and play counter-attacking football. But we showed in the first half against Celtic that we are improving."

However, the Rossoneri struggled in the second period of that game and only won thanks to a late goal from Pippo Inzaghi.

"His return is very important for us because he is a player who comes with a guarantee of goals," concluded the stopper.

Meanwhile, summer signing Jaap Stam will not feature again due to injury. He’s expected to return to action in Week 6 against Cagliari.

AC Milan : Reggina - preview
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Source: Football Italia

The Scudetto holders seem to have pushed themselves out of their rut, but now face the only team to beat them on their travels last season.

Milan had fallen down to twelfth place with shock results against Livorno and Messina, but Andriy Shevchenko’s brace in the 2-1 win at Lazio boosted confidence and their standing. Massimo Ambrosini was sent off in that tie and is suspended, so Andrea Pirlo returns to the starting eleven. Pippo Inzaghi and Hernan Crespo are both looking for match fitness, so Carlo Ancelotti faces a difficult decision on who is to start this match.

Reggina were the only team to end Milan’s unbeaten away record last season with a 2-1 victory at the Stadio Granillo on May 9. The fact that they had sealed up the Scudetto a week earlier undoubtedly affected the performance, but the Amaranto are not to be underestimated as they are still unbeaten so far in the current campaign. Although Marco Borriello will be eager to feature against the club that still owns his contract, Emiliano Bonazzoli will get the nod following two splendid goals.

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

Reggina (probable): Pavarini; Franceschini, De Rosa, Cannarsa, Mesto; Tedesco, Mozart, Colucci, Balestri; Bonazzoli, Nakamura

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