Milan vs. Roma  2 - 1

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Serie A wrap: ´Ibra´ shines for Milan

26 March 2012 19:16

AC Milan took an important step towards retaining their Serie A crown, coming from a goal down to beat Roma 2-1 on Saturday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's second-half brace cancelled out Pablo Osvaldo's strike just before the interval as Milan recovered to maintain their seven-point gap over Juventus.

The victory though came at a cost with defender Thiago Silva forced off inside 10 minutes after struggling through the warm-up.

The Brazilian joins Alexandre Pato, Robinho and Mark van Bommel on the sidelines ahead of Milan's crunch Champions League quarter-final first leg against holders Barcelona on Tuesday.

Osvaldo poked home Daniel De Rossi's deflected shot from four yards to give Roma a shock lead a minute before half-time but Ibrahimovic restored parity from the spot following a hand ball byDe Rossi.

Milan continued to press forward, but were repeatedly frustrated in their search for a winner.

Sulley Muntari struck the bar with a powerful finish, but it was Ibrahimovic who capped off Milan's fine comeack in the 83rd minute.

The Swede latched on to a long ball and audaciously lifted the ball over former Ajax team-mate Martin Stekelenburg before heading into an open net seven minutes from time.

Udinese received a boost in their bid for the last qualifying Champions League spot, moving up to third with Gabriel Torje's late strike earning a 1-1 draw with Palermo.

Fabrizio Miccoli's drive gave the Sicilian side the advantage on 31 minutes as they looked to avenged last season's 7-0 hammering at home to Udinese.

However, their players were left furious when Josip Ilicic was booked for simulation when his shirt was tugged in the box 10 minutes from time.

The resulting penalty could have given Palermo a vital two-goal cushion and the decision soon came back to bite them with substitute Torje netting his second goal of the season after taking advantage of Andrea Mantovani's error four minutes later.

The point moves Udinese ahead of Lazio (48 points) on goal difference ahead of their game in hand at home to Cagliari on Sunday while fifth-placed Napoli (47) host Catania.

Article

Galliani lauds Ibrahimovic

25 March 2012 17:47

AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani has lavished praise on striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic after he led them to a 2-1 win over Roma on Saturday.

The Sweden international was withdrawn at half-time in Tuesday night's Coppa Italia clash with Juventus in Turin, complaining of back pain.

He was considered a major doubt for the visit of Roma but not only did the forward start at San Siro, he turned the game around with a second-half double which earned Milan a precious 2-1 victory.

"Ibra has a bad back and it was unsure if he was even going to play," Galliani told the club's official website. "But then he scored two - he’s an extraordinary player.

"And Ibra's goals are always something special. He's fantastic, extraordinary."

Milan, however, lost Thiago Silva to a muscular problem that has ruled the Brazilian centre-half out of Wednesday night's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona at San Siro

Galliani feels the versatile Daniele Bonera, who was moved into the centre to fill the void left by Silva during the Roma clash, has already proven himself to be an able deputy.

"Bonera is having an extraordinary championship, probably his best since he arrived at the club," he said.

"We don't miss (Philippe) Mexes or Thiago Silva with him, as he never makes a mistake on the pitch."

Article

Stekelenburg lauds Ibrahimovic

23 March 2012 14:21

Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg has heaped praise on Zlatan Ibrahimovic ahead of his team's clash with AC Milan.

The Netherlands international, whose side travel to the San Siro to take on the Serie A leaders on Saturday, believes the former Barcelona striker is one of the best players in the world.

Stekelenburg, 29, also disagreed with criticism Ibrahimovic often failed to shine in European competitions.

"Ibrahimovic is a very strong player who always scores plenty of goals. He has won league titles with several big clubs and I think he is one of the best players in the world," Stekelenburg told Corriere dello Sport on Friday.

"I disagree with those who say that he is decisive in the league, but not in Europe. I don't know why people would say that. I would always want Zlatan in my team."

Roma have been inconsistent throughout the campaign, sitting sixth, but they are just four points adrift of third-placed Lazio.

Stekelenburg praised the style and philosophy coach Luis Enrique was trying to introduce at Stadio Olimpico.

"We always play to win. Coach Luis Enrique's football is one that manoeuvres from the back. It's a little Dutch. I like it and I'm at Roma for this reason," Stekelenburg said.

"You can see that the new philosophy is starting to take steps forward after some initial uncertainty, but we had a lot of new players who had to settle.

"Luis Enrique is passionate, obsessive and I like him."

Article

Totti ready for Milan battle

21 March 2012 15:04

Roma manager Luis Enrique will welcome back attacker Francesco Totti for their Serie A trip to AC Milan on Saturday.

The 35-year-old Italian missed their win over Genoa due to a thigh complaint.

Totti is rapidly nearing full match fitness again, and will reportedly return to the starting XI, as reported by La Repubblica.

Roma were beaten 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico earlier this season and will be looking to avoid a pair of losses to their fellow giants.

The Romans currently sit sixth in the Serie A table with 44 points from 28 games, trailing leaders Milan by 16 points and four adrift of third place, occupied by Lazio.

Serie A table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +48 84
2 38 +41 80
3 38 +17 64
4 38 +9 62
5 38 +20 61
6 38 +3 58
7 38 +6 56
8 38 +1 56
9 38 -2 51
10 38 -10 49
11 38 -5 48
12 38 -2 46
13 38 -6 46
14 38 +0 44
15 38 -9 43
16 38 -10 43
17 38 -19 42
18 38 -16 36
19 38 -30 32
20 38 -36 22