Milan 1-2 Lazio: Pandev Wins It in Extra Time (Coppa Italia Round of 16)

Chalk out another “big” one. At the end of 120 minutes of intense tactical battling Lazio knocked out AC Milan out of the Coppa Italia, courtesy of goals Mauro Zarate and Goran Pandev. Shevchenko’s opening tally was not enough for the Rossoneri, who exit the competition at the the Round of 16 stage.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side are not going through a very happy phase at the moment. They have lost 4 points relative to Inter in the last two rounds of Serie A, and have now seen the first trophy of the season (albeit the least prestigious one) slip away from them. The Biancocelesti on the other hand deserved their win after a solid performance, and it looks as if Delio Rossi’s side brought back their good form from the month of September. They will face the winner of Fiorentina vs. Torino in the quarterfinals.

Note: Sorry for the delayed updates. Pressing matters needed to be taken care of.

The first half of the match was nothing special. San Siro was cold, foggy, and there wasn’t much of a crowd in the stands. Very little excitement in other words, despite both coaches’ attempt to field competitive line-ups; the Coppa Italia is a competition lacking appeal for Serie A’s finest (that’s no surprsise) but it’s still a trophy nonetheless, and Lazio seemed a little more determined to get it. Tactically better and more convincing, the Biancocelesti however failed to produce a significantly higher number of chances than their counterparts.

Speaking of chances, let’s start with Milan’s: there was one for Shevchenko (one-on-one with Muslera, who saved the shot) and one for Flamini (shot wide). On the other end, Lazio replied with Lichtsteiner (also wide) and Pandev (powerful left-footer parried over the bar by Dida). Nothing doing. At half-time the score was still 0-0.

The second half started with Lazio being more enterprising. The Biancocelesti gained confidence as the minutes ticked by, and Dida (playing well in the evening) had to put his skills to the test a few times, notably on Pandev (mid-range effort) and Kolarov (long-range free-kick). Then, Emerson naively got himself sent off for a second yellow, a mere 7 minutes after earning his first and with over a quarter of the game (actually more than that as it turned out) left to play. The match started to get tense. Even the normally mild-mannered Ronaldinho gave in to nervousness, and elbowed Rozenhal in the chest. The referee did not see.

Milan appeared to be in trouble, yet the Rossoneri would take everyone by surprise and the lead by the same occasion. The provider? The player who, back in the day (actually not so long ago) was capable of sending the San Siro crowd wild: one mister Andriy Shevchenko. The Ukranian striker received from Kaká on the right, turned on his defender and fired a powerful diagonal left-footed effort inside the far post. Muslera couldn’t get to it, 1-0 Milan.

Delio Rossi, who had brought Zarate on for Rocchi a few minutes earlier, was obviously very disappointed. He ordered his troops forward, in search of an equaliser Lazio rightftully deserved. And eventually they found it it, in the dying minutes of the game. Pandev received the ball in the box, was upended by Favalli, and Ayroldi pointed to the spot. Mauro Zarate did the honours from 12 yards to send Dida the wrong way, turning the score to 1-1 on full-time. Extra time was needed.

Galvanised by their equaliser at the death, Lazio continued to build up momentum. And they immediately grabbed the lead, when Goran Pandev put in his own rebound from close range after Dida had parried his first attempt. It was a goal the Macedonian striker had steadfastly pursued for the entire match, looking to score at every opportunity. 2-1 Lazio.

Milan reacted with pride, and their pressure resulted in Ronaldinho hitting the post from a close-range free-kick. But fatigue was setting in, and with a man down the Rossoneri were forced to to capitulate. In fact it was Lazio who came close to scoring their third goal, as the 30 minutes of extra time came to a close. At the end of the night, Milan were out and Lazio through to the quarter-finals.


 AC Milan
[Match Highlights]
S.S. Lazio
GOALSCORERS: 77’ Shevchenko (M), 87’ pen. Zarate (L), 92’ Pandev (L).
MILAN (4-3-1-2): Dida – Antonini (77’ Jankulovski), Senderos, Kaladze, Favalli – Flamini, Emerson, Seedorf (70’ Zambrotta) – Kaká – Shevchenko (85’ Cardacio), Ronaldinho. (bench: Kalac, Maldini, Darmian, Strasser). Coach: Ancelotti.
LAZIO (4-3-3): Muslera – De Silvestri, Diakité, Rozehnal, Kolarov – Dabo (85’ Mauri), Ledesma, Lichtsteiner (42′ Meghni) – Foggia, Rocchi (73’ Zarate), Pandev. (bench: Carrizo, Brocchi, Belleri, Cribari). Coach: D.Rossi.


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Posted in Coppa Italia, Lazio, Milan |

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