After having a fairly rocky start to the season, it seems like AC Milan are finally getting back on track to contend amongst the top of the Serie A. The Rossoneri’s latest signing, Mario Balotelli managed to drag the team to a very lucky 2-1 victory over Udinese at the San Siro. With these three points, AC Milan has managed to catch up to fourth place rivals Inter Milan who suffered a 3-1 loss to Siena this weekend. Starting to rise back up the table with a great debut performance from Balotelli AC Milan fans can now look to the rest of the season with a bit of hope and relief.
It took about 25 minutes for Balotelli to light up the Stadio Meazza with his first goal for his new club. The 23 million Euro wonderboy rifled a powerful left foot volley into the back of Udinese’s goal, giving AC Milan the lead in what would be a very tightly contested match. Already in their first match together, El Sharaawy and Balotelli seem to have an understanding which will create plenty of goals. It was El Sharaawy himself who created Balotelli’s two goals, assisting and procuring a controversial late penalty. Among the pair of young Italians is the energetic Niang, who seems to complement his attacking partners fairly well with his pace and hard work.
Udinese on the other hand seemed too tentative in their attempts forward. Long balls for Di Natale were occasionally threatening, but not good enough to create any goals. Udinese’s equalizer came ten minutes after halftime, a long ball flicked on by Di Natale past the Milan defence for Muriel to center to Pinzi for a quick finish. Udinese was forced to defend for the rest of the second half, Padelli made some impressive saves to keep his team alive, but also getting a bit of luck with a shot by Balotelli barely deflected onto the crossbar by an Udinese defender.
The most controversial moment of the match came in the 93rd minute of the match, El Sharaawy breaking forward into the box, going down after a slide tackle from Heurteaux. The Udinese player had got the ball before knocking down El Sharaawy, and while the rest of his team protested, the referee awarded the penalty which would be the last kick of the game. Mario Balotelli told his teammates he’d take care of the penalty, managing to send Padelli the wrong way with a very cool side footed shot into the bottom left hand corner.
It was the debut of dreams for Balotelli, snagging his new club three points which they probably didn’t deserve. Even AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri acknowledged the luck his team had in getting the winner, “In the occasion of the penalty we were lucky. El Sharaawy touches the ball, then the Udinese defender touches it as well, and then El Sharaawy is taken down. It was given be given, just like it sometimes isn’t given: it’s all the more controversial because it’s 30 seconds from the end of the match”.
With the next two Serie A matches away at Cagliari, and then at home against Parma, AC Milan is going to have to solidify their position with two wins. Winning the next two matches is all the more important because after that Barcelona will be visiting the San Siro in the midweek, followed by the Milan derby that weekend. Mario Balotelli may have managed to make his mark on the Serie A with a fantastic debut for AC Milan, but it’s going to be a very different matter against Barcelona.
What are your predictions for AC Milan’s upcoming matches? Can Mario Balotelli continue performing, and maybe even score a few goals against Barcelona and his former team Inter Milan? Share your comments below!