history18 November 2021


31 May 2009: a special evening for us Rossoneri. We relive that historic afternoon at the Franchi

AC Milan's league season gets back underway with a trip to Florence after the international break. Facing Fiorentina at the Franchi has given rise to plenty of hard-fought fixtures in the past. Among the most significant - as we await the match on Saturday evening - was on 31 May 2009.

It was the last matchday of Serie A 2008/09 but it was like a final. AC Milan were in second place but level on points with Juve; Fiorentina, meanwhile, were three points behind in fourth and still well in the running for direct qualification to the Champions League. Prandelli's Viola had drawn their previous match against Lecce and needed a win to have any sort of hope (it ended 1-0 at the San Siro in the reverse fixture, Pato's goal). The Rossoneri and Ancelotti - who was coaching his final AC Milan game (his successor Leonardo was watching on from the stands) - needed to protect their chances at direct qualification to Europe's premier competition after a false step against Roma.

The Diavolo lined up in the familiar Christmas Tree formation: Inzaghi up top: Kaká and Seedorf off his shoulder. The prize up for grabs was massive and the tension was palpable in the first half. Fiorentina started strongly and pushed for the opener, creating chances through Semioli, Gamberini and Gilardino. The clearest opportunities, however, fell to Flamini and Zambrotta: the Frenchman struck the corner of the frame of the goal before the Italian forced Frey into a save. It was goalless at the break. The turning point of the match came in the 55th minute: Kaká, who in January seemed on the verge of joining Manchester City and in summer would leave the Club for Real Madrid, turned it home following a poor clearance from Gamberini to make it 1-0 to the Rossoneri. It was then the turn of Pato, who came on and wrapped up the result in the 75th minute; Kaká turned from scorer to provider and played Alexandre in to seal it style with a delightful dink.

It was a great result and a fundamental one in terms of ending the season on a high and going straight into the Champions League. After the full-time whistle, there was time for applause: captain Paolo Maldini, after making 902 appearances and winning 26 trophies with AC Milan, ended his extraordinary playing career. The spectators at the Franchi rose to their effort, especially his wife Adriana and young son Daniel.

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