Bologna and AC Milan have met many times in Serie A, with there being various Rossoneri memories associated with the Dall’Ara. There was, for example, that epic victory in 2017 when Pašalić scored the winner for nine-man AC Milan against a Rossoblù side with a full contingent of players on the pitch. There was also that memorable comeback in 2013, with the Rossoneri coming from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 late on. Furthermore, David Beckham scored his very first Diavolo goal against Bologna in 2009. This week, we’re looking back at AC Milan’s 3-1 win in September 2012, a day when Giampaolo Pazzini stole the show.
SETTING THE SCENE
Going into the game at the Dall’Ara, things weren’t going particularly well for the Rossoneri: they’d suffered an opening day defeat to Sampdoria following a turbulent summer that had seen the veterans Gattuso, Inzaghi, Nesta, Seedorf, van Bommel and Zambrotta leave the Club and Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva move to Paris Saint-Germain. Massimiliano Allegri remained in charge, but it certainly looked to be the beginning of a new cycle. Players like de Jong, Montolivo, Zapata and Pazzini, the latter of whom had joined from Inter in a swap deal involving Cassano and been tasked with filling the big shoes left by Ibra, were new faces at Milanello.
After a disappointing season for the Nerazzurri, Pazzini was eager to bounce back and show his worth in Rossoneri colours. After coming on for El Shaarawy against Sampdoria, he was selected to make his full AC Milan debut at the Dall’Ara. The deadlock was broken after quarter of an hour, with Pazzini being brought down in the box and then stepping up to score the resulting penalty. The match was a tight affair, and Bologna managed to draw level through Diamanti at the end of the first half. However, the Rossoneri restored their lead in the 77th minute, when ‘Pazzo’ took full advantage of a mistake from Rossoblù goalkeeper Agliardi to bag from a few yards out.
ICING ON THE CAKE
With the home side throwing men forward, AC Milan finished things off five minutes from time. It all began down the right with De Sciglio, who shrugged off the attentions of two opponents before playing in a low cross that the Bologna defence didn’t manage to sufficiently clear. The ball fell to the onrushing Nocerino, whose attempt at goal was imprecise. However, Pazzini was there to meet it and, in true goal-poacher style, directed the ball into the net for his hat-trick. It was thus a dream first start for a player who went on to enjoy a positive season: he scored 15 goals in Serie A – the second-best tally of his career in the Italian top-flight – and made an important contribution to the Rossoneri’s successful Champions League qualification.
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