Milan end the season with a 2-0 victory at the Franchi and gain direct access to the next Champions League, Paolo Maldini receives the salute he deserves and officially enters the Rossoneri's legend.
(on the photo, the Franchi's salute to Paolo Maldini, who retires after 25 years at Milan in a legendary career)
FLORENCE - A decisive second leg match, after winning the first leg: this is the spirit with which Milan went on the pitch at the Franchi stadium for the last league match against Fiorentina.
The formation chosen by Carlo Ancelotti to try and consolidate the third place, and gain access to the next Champions League, is composed by Dida; Zambrotta, Maldini, Favalli, Jankulovski; Beckham, Pirlo Flamini, Seedorf; Kakà, Inzaghi. Gattuso and Nesta on the bench, which was great news ahead of next season. The Viola answered with Frey; Comotto, Gamberini, Zauri, Pasqual; Donadel, Montolivo; Semioli, Jovetic, Vargas; Gilardino.
It's the last match of Paolo Maldini, who after 25 years says goodbye to the Milan shirt and football. After the jeers of a small part of the San Siro stadium, last Sunday against Roma, this time in Florence there was a standing ovation for our Captain, who also received a special emblem from the Viola club from Frey. In another part of the stadium, meanwhile, there was a banner that said "Maldini, honor to your career".
In the initial part of the matches former Milan man Gilardino looked very motivated, as well as Jovetic, also one of the most feared players by the Rossoneri players. But the entire Fiorentina team looked sharp. Milan did not just look on, and in the 8th minute they came near the goal defended by Frey with Jankulovski: his shot was powerful, but it was deflected out. By who? According to the referees it was a Viola defender, but with great fair play Kaká admitted he was the one who touched the ball last and was thanked by referee Rizzoli. In the 16th minute chance for Fiorentina: Gamberini hit a header on a corner kick, Dida blocked it easily. In the 19th minute there was a nice idea by Pirlo for Jankulovski's run, but his long pass was just too long. In the 22nd minute Gilardino's nice header on a pass by Jovetic went wide. In the 24th minute big chance for Milan: pass back by Kaká for Flamini, the Frenchman's shot was powerful but it hit the crossbar. In the 28th minute Frey dove to keep out a dangerous shot from the edge of the area by Zambrotta. In the 42nd minute Fiorentina protested for an alleged penalty for a foul by Favalli on Gilardino: for Rizzoli, however, it was the former Rossonero who made a foul. Milan restarted with a free kick.
At the start of the second half, in the third minute, the Viola were dangerous through Gilardino, who with the tip of his foot fired it just wide of Dida's goal. A minute later, on a corner kick for Milan, Inzaghi headed it just over the bar. In the 10th minute came Milan's goal: Kaká accompanied the move of Zambrotta, who crossed it in for Inzaghi, the defence blocked it, Ricky scored with a low right footed shot. In the 17th minute another chance for the Rossoneri: Kaká served Inzaghi, who won the ball after a rebound and fired it just high. Now Milan started playing the better football, with Fiorentina lowering the rhythm considerably. The first two changes by the Viola both came in the 20th minute: Gobbi for Vargas, and Jorgensen for Jovetic. The last available change for Fiorentina was made in the 25th minute: Kuzmanovic in, Pasqual out. Milan's first change was made in the 24th minute: Pato for Inzaghi. In the 31st minute came Milan doubled their lead on a counterattack conducted by Pato and Kaká: deep ball for Ricky, lob by the 'duck' to beat Frey. In the 32nd minute Milan made their second change: Nesta, who made his first appearence in the league, in for Favalli. In the 36th minute there was also space for Gattuso, who made his return on the pitch after his knee surgery in December: he took Beckham's place. The match did not offer any more points of interest. There was only time for Paolo Maldini's final run, which put an end to his fantastic career, and he was accompanied by the embrace of all his team mates, his opponents, and the entire Franchi crowd. Milan are in the Champions League, Maldini is a part of legend.