It's been almost 20 years since the Rossoneri last hosted Venezia at San Siro. It was 14 October 2001 and it ended 1-1, with Shevchenko on the scoresheet for the hosts. So we're about to witness the return of a fascinating fixture after a long time without the two sides meeting in the top flight. Venezia, in fact, haven't been in Serie A since that season - 2001/02 - after featuring in the top flight for three years around the turn of the millennium. The last time the Rossoneri beat the Luganari at home was on 7 November 1999: let's take a look.
SETTING THE SCENE
7 November, matchday 9 in Serie A: AC Milan welcomed Venezia to San Siro. The Leoni Alati were in last place in the league on five points; the Rossoneri, meanwhile, were in third on 14, behind Lazio and Juventus. Zaccheroni's AC Milan were the reigning champions of Italy but went into the clash with Venezia following a tepid 0-0 away at Hellas and a devastating defeat to Galatasaray in Istanbul, which saw them knocked out of the competition. Venezia - under club president Maurizio Zamparini - came to San Siro with a new arrival at the helm: Giuseppe Materazzi replaced Luciano Spalletti as the Arancioneroverdi's boss after the latter was let go in the wake of four consecutive defeats to Juventus, Inter, Perugia and Bologna.
A DANGEROUS AC MILAN SIDE
In front of the home crowd, Zac went with the 3-4-1-2 that allowed the Rossoneri to pip Lazio to the title the previous season. Maldini was out through injury, while Costacurta - who commanded a defence composed of Sala and N'Gotty - and Leonardo were returning from suspension, the latter slotted in just behind Shevchenko and Oliver Bierhoff. The surprise in midfield was the inclusion of Orlandini on the left, with Serginho dropping to the bench. AC Milan started the game really well, forcing two early chances through Shevchenko and Bierhoff. Leonardo was forced off in the 21st minute through injury; Weah came on in his place and the Rossoneri shifted to a 3-4-3 with the Liberian and Sheva on either side of Bierhoff. Venezia responded with two quick-fire chances for Valtolina, who twice tested Christian Abbiati. AC Milan struggled to unpick the lock as Venezia defended resolutely.
THREE GOALS IN TWENTY MINUTES
More action was required after the break and it was action that we got. Oliver Bierhoff gave the Rossoneri the lead in the 56th minute, coolly stroking home after a mix-up in the penalty area at the corner. By hook or by crook, AC Milan were 1-0 up. Ten minutes later, some rather indecisive defending opened the door for George Weah, who rounded the keeper and slotted home to make it 2-0. Appeals went up for a Venezia penalty in the 76th as they adjudged Costacurta to have handled it; AC Milan broke quickly and Shevchenko was brought down in the box by Casazza, penalty and a red card. Venezia had no substitutions left and were forced to be Bilica in goal, who incredibly denied the Ukrainian from the spot and kept out Weah on the rebound. A third attempt from Orlandini was not to be kept out, however, as he bagged his first Serie A goal on his forced AC Milan start: 3-0.
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