AC Milan silenced at San Siro, the party for the thousands of Rossoneri fans ruined, all gathered to see Ronaldinho in action. There just is something that still isn’t working in Carlo Ancelotti’s team…
The star on the field today was undoubtedly the Brazilian nº80, but in the end Bologna were the real victors, walking away with a deserved 2-1 win and showing an enviable cynicism: four chances, two goals. What better way to celebrate your return to the Serie A?
(From Gazzetta dello Sport): Carlo Ancelotti would have never imagined a season debut like this, after having selected two second strikers in his Brazilian-styled line-up. Clarence Seedorf and Ronaldinho took places behind Filippo Inzaghi, so it was all about combining class and improvisation with an instinct for goal. Especially since Milan had to make do without Kakà, Nesta, Gattuso, Borriello and Senderos, while Bologna manager Daniele Arrigoni selected a flexible formation: 4-2-3-1 in attack, 4-5-1 in defence.
It was an effective strategy from the Rossoblu, who came out onto the pitch with little respect for famous names and closed up Milan’s spaces effectively, although somewhat helped their opponents’ lack of mobility (especially on the wings, since Milan insisted too much on central plays). Ronaldinho’s moves (albeit spectacular) weren’t enough. He wanted to show the world that he was still the magician of yore, the one we all learned to love and applaud in Barcelona, however we only got to see a few minor examples of his amazing talent. Bologna played better, building their game intelligently and relying on basic but effective moves. In the 18th minute, taking advantage of a rusty Milan set-up, the visitors opened the score: it was a quick play by Adailton, C.Zenoni, C.Amoroso and Marco Di Vaio, finalized with a diagonal shot by the ex-Juve and Genoa striker. Christian Abbiati (preferred over Dida and Kalac) could do very little. 1-0 Bologna.
The shock of the goal awoke Milan, who eventually finally got out of their slumber and unleashed Gianluca Zambrotta. The Azzurri right-back started his usual pinpoint crossing delivery, including a great assist for Ronaldinho that the Brazilian playmaker put slightly off the mark (heading’s not exactly his specialty). Meanwhile, Dinho was raising the stakes, increasing the pace and putting himself at the service of the team. His fantastic through ball for Inzaghi, was chipped over the keeper by Pippo (like in the Champions League finals in Athens) but found its way wide past the goal line.
Milan were really putting up a fight, but given the trouble they were having in the middle they tried their luck with a few long-rangers. First Zambrotta, then Flamini, but Francesco Antonioli did nothing short of a miracle against the Frenchman. Hats off to him! A goal was in the air however, and after a potential 2-0 killer blow missed by Di Vaio (upon his umpteenth breakaway), Ronaldinho pulled out of the hat a perfect assist for Massimo Ambrosini, who headed it in past Antonioli. 1-1.
The second half began with the return of the prodigal son, Andriy Shevchenko. Jankulovski left the pitch and Ancelotti changed everything, moving Zambrotta to the left, Flamini to the right and launching a ruthless and explosive attack (Seedorf slightly further back compared to the first half). The strategy highlighted Ronaldinho’s talent, and permitted him to showcase the full extent of his moves: a public danger for a Bologna defense unable to contain him, Dinho dribbled in small spaces and started to provide assists left and right. In particular to Sheva who, in a one-on-one with Antonioli, missed a great opportunity for Milan to pull ahead.
Bologna did not give up, and applied Arrigoni’s strategy to the best of their abilities. Adailton and Christian Amoroso were replaced with Gaby Mudingayi and Massimo Marazzina. The excitement came always from breakaways, such as the one in the 21st minute when Di Vaio’s shot barely missed the goal. The clock was ticking and Ancelotti refreshed the offensive line: Inzaghi left the pitch and was replaced by Alexandre Pato.
Bologna were still alive and kicking however, and took advantage with cynicism of all the chances they had. Inspired by his illustrious Brazilian opponent, Francesco Valiani summoned the best Ronaldinho in him and drilled the ball into Abbiati’s top-right corner. It was minute 79. 2-1 Bologna.
Milan were llackluster and out of juice, but attempted a final rush forward in order to equalize. Not enough to worry the Rossoblu, who controlled the ball with confidence… Ambrosini’s substitution by Emerson was also futile, in part because confusion and lack of determination reigned amongst the Rossoneri on the pitch. In the end, it was a well-deserved victory for Bologna, which should make Ancelotti understand that (as Arrigoni said) apart from talent, one also needs hard-working players.
|GOALSCORERS: 18’ Di Vaio (B), 42’ Ambrosini (M), 79’ Valiani (B).
| MILAN (4-3-2-1): Abbiati – Zambrotta, Maldini, Kaladze, Jankulovski (46’ Shevchenko) – Flamini, Pirlo, Ambrosini (85’ Emerson) – Seedorf, Ronaldinho – Inzaghi (69’ Pato). (bench: Dida, Antonini, Favalli, Cardacio). Coach: Ancelotti.
| BOLOGNA (4-2-3-1): Antonioli – Zenoni, Moras, Terzi, Bombardini (90‘ Castellini) – Mingazzini, Volpi – Adailton (60’ Marazzina), C.Amoroso (60’ Mudingayi), Valiani – Di Vaio. (bench: Colombo, Britos, Bernacci, Coelho). Coach: Arrigoni.