Milan beat Empoli and are one point below the Viola. The result at the 'Castellani' remained 1-1 until the 86th minute, when in 4 minutes Milan first doubled the score thanks to a great Ambro, then sealed the victory with Kaká.
(on the picture, Pato's happiness after the 1-0)
EMPOLI - Milan presented themselves at Empoli, after the elimination from the Champions League, with the utmost concentration to reach the third-fourth place in the league, which would allow the team to qualify to the preliminary rounds of the next Champions League. But Carlo Ancelotti had to do without many players: Nesta, Jankulovski, Cafu, Serginho and Seedorf, but also the suspended Gattuso and the latest addition Filippo Inzaghi. At the 'Castellani' it was Maldini who played with Nesta at the center of defence, while on the left there's Favalli and on the right Oddo. In midfield there was an important chance for Gourcuff, who was preferred ahead of Brocchi, who had some problems to his knee. The Frenchman played alongside Pirlo and Ambrosini, while up front Kaká played behind Pato and Gilardino.
Regarding Empoli, Raggi was perfectly recovered and played from the start, as did Saudati, who also recovered from his fitness problems. With Marzoratti and Moro suspended and Pozzi injured, Abate is preferred to Vannucchi and Budel to Marianini.
The match started at a decent rhythm: Milan tried to control the match, but Empoli counterattacked very quickly. The Rossoneri struggled to make themselves dangerous. The first dangerous moment came in the 18th minute, when a shot by Pato troubled Bassi quite a bit. A minute later, the Empoli keeper was again a protagonist, as he failed to hold onto a cross by Oddo, and Pato was ready to take advantage. The Brazilian found the net and scored his sixth goal with the Milan shirt. The Rossoneri took the lead and soon later they were dangerous again with a Kaká-Gila move: the Brazilian played a nice pass, but it was not well controlled by the striker from Biella.
(Pato runs to hug Emerson after the goal)
With Milan's goal the match suddenly came alive, as Empoli did not accept losing, reacted and found the equaliser. A cross by Antonini became a perfect assist for Buscé, who beat Kalac and found his first goal of the season. Empoli coach Malesani, who was agitated from the start of the match, complained so much with the fourth man that the referee had to send him off.
After Gilardino came close again, Empoli threw themselves forward again, and in the 24th minute they came very close again with a close range header by Pratali. In the 36th minute turn and shot by Saudati which narrowly missed the goal. At the end of the first half the Azzurri wasted another big chance. Buscé sent the ball in from the right, Saudati dove in and hit the post.
Two changes for Carlo Ancelotti in the second half: the Milan coach inserted Brocchi for Gourcuff and Bonera for Oddo. The defender quickly played a good ball from the right for Pato, whose header was unprecise. In the fourth minute of the second half, another header, this time by Gilardino, troubled the Empoli defence, which managed to clear it for a corner.
Then came Empoli's first substitution, as they brought in Marianini for Abate. In the 11th minute the home team hit an incredible crossbar with a long distance shot by Marchisio, which anticipated the second change for the Azzurri. Giacomazzi in, Giovinco out. The third and final change was that of Tosto for Raggi.
Meanwhile, conditions on the pitch got worse due to the increasing rain. The play suffered from it, and tiredness set in. In the 33rd minute Ancelotti tried to insert Paloschi, who was inserted for Gilardino. The couple Pato-Paloschi is 36 years old together. The Brazilian tried another shot from distance, with a nice curling left footed shot, but he's unlucky.
In the 41st minute, Milan found a goal worth gold: Maldini made a run towards the by-line, gave the ball to Kaká who played it in for Massimo Ambrosini to head it in brilliantly. Ambro brought his team in front, scoring his fourth goal of the season in the process. In the 44th minute, Milan scored their third goal through Kaká. The Brazilian beat Bassi from the edge of the area.
The last five minutes rewarded Milan, who are now closer to the Champions League zone, now just one point away, due to Fiorentina's defeat away to Siena.
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