AC Milan took one step closer to capturing its second scudetto in as many years by securing all three points during the visit to Parma.
It was a choppy game, but Mister Allegri will be happy with the concentration levels shown, especially late in the game. The opening 5 minutes was uneventful, seeing just one attempt at goal which was a speculative strike over the bar by MacDonald Mariga. On 10 minutes, Jaime Valdez showed good footwork to dance around Muntari before cutting inside Bonera and curling a decent effort a yard wide of Abbiati’s left hand post. Five minutes later, Mariga showed off his dribbling by getting around Sulley Muntari and Luca Antonini and earning his side a corner. Less than five minutes later, Milan launched a long ball forward by Bonera which found Ibrahimovic who neatly headed down for Urby Emanuelson, whose volley was handle by Cristian Zaccardo, earning himself a yellow and Milan a spot kick in the process.
It was none other than Ibrahimovic who stepped up and coolly slotted a low drive to the bottom left hand corner after looking the other way and getting the keeper to commit early. The goal was Ibrahimovic’s 20th of the campaign. Four minutes later, Milan went on a quick counter attack with some neat passing, a nice layoff from Ibra to El-Sharaawy who spread play out wide and Emanuelson’s cross found Ibra who headed back to Muntari who flailed on a spectacular overhead try. Muntari was back at it again with some nice footwork which won Milan a free kick. Ibra went for goal directly and Mirante parried but right to Emanuelson who blazed over the bar from four yards and really should have scored Milan’s second. The next ten minutes saw some choppy play, with Mariga leaving through injury and Paletta picking up a booking for stepping on Ibra when the big Swede turned his marker cleverly. On 40 minutes, Parma worked a short free kick which Giovinco turned on to Floccari who struck sweetly but the shot was deflected and easily saved by Abbiati. Two minutes later came a great chance for Parma, as Floccari headed a cross towards the back post but Thiago Silva was able to head the ball onto the crossbar and out for a corner.
Just before the end of the half, Ibra was presented a breakaway by Parma’s captain Morone who played a terrible backpass from midfield. Luckily for Parma, Ibra’s first touch let him down and the chance was squandered. A minute later, Ibra showed terrific control to bring down a floated ball over the top from Milan’s captain Ambrosini. He received the ball in the box, bravely dribbled at two defenders, and won his side a corner.
Parma started the second half well, with Jonathan showing his pacey dribbling to find some space and cross for Biabiany whose cross come shot went just wide. Parma continued to play well, showing pace and good dribbling to earn two corners, but Milan were able to hold them off. On 52 minutes, Ibra performed a lovely skill turn after bringing down yet another floated ball in, took a dribble and fired low and hard at the keeper who was able to make the save with his feet. On 55 minutes, Milan secured the three point when Urby Emanuelson went on a blistering run which started from midfield and ended with Urby rounding Mirante to the right and slotting him with his weak foot into the empty net. The game cooled off a little as Parma’s heads dropped and Milan took their foot off the pedal so to speak. Urby and Nocerino both missed solid chances on 60′ and 65′ respectively. 3 minutes later, Ibra chose to go for goal from a dead ball situation 35 meters from goal. The big Swede fired in a one hopper with pace that Mirante parried around his left hand post. Abbiati pulled off some good saves, the best being a deflected effort in the 84th minute that the Italian keeper did well to focus on. In stoppage time, Gattuso came on to a hero’s welcome in his return from the eye injury which kept him out of action for months.
Abbiati – 6.5
Antonini – 5.5
T. Silva – 6.5
Bonera – 6
Zambrotta – 6
Muntari – 6
Nocerino – 5.5
Emanuelson – 7.5
Ambrosini – 6.5
El-Shaarawy – 6
Ibrahimovic – 7
Maxi Lopez (78′), Aquilani (86′), Gattuso(90+1) – short cameos, N/A