Roma blanks, Mi­lan re­cover

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Jack Bon­aven­tura’s cheeky free kick and some sen­sa­tional Gian­luigi Don­narumma saves gave Mi­lan a slen­der vic­tory over Pescara.

The Ros­soneri had the chance to re­cap­ture third place and make up for the dis­ap­point­ing 3-0 de­feat to Genoa mid­week. M’Baye Niang re­cov­ered from flu symp­toms to start, but Da­vide Cal­abria, Leonel Van­gioni, An­drea Ber­to­lacci, Luca An­tonelli, Mati Fer­nan­dez and Riccardo Mon­to­livo missed out.

It was a very bright start by the vis­i­tors at San Siro, as Gian­luca Caprari and Alessan­dro Crescenzi put sev­eral dan­ger­ous crosses into the box.

Jack Bon­aven­tura’s half-vol­ley was smoth­ered by Al­bano Biz­zarri and Car­los Bacca came slid­ing on to a Suso cross, but couldn’t quite steer it past Biz­zarri.

An­other cou­ple of Suso as­sists were pre­vented from reach­ing Bacca by slight de­flec­tions, as the Colom­bian was marked care­fully.

Mattia De Sciglio was left un­marked to vol­ley from eight yards, but Biz­zarri per­formed a great re­ac­tion save on his fin­ish and the fol­low-up from off­side Niang.

It was very ob­vi­ous by his move­ments that Niang was still suf­fer­ing from the ef­fects of the flu, but he still man­aged a huge leap for a glanc­ing header that thumped the up­right just be­fore half-time. Bacca wanted a penalty for an An­drea Coda foul as he went to nod the re­bound and it looked like a very strong shout.

After the restart, the game sud­denly ex­ploded into life. Jack Bon­aven­tura was brought down on the edge of the box and he took the free kick him­self, plac­ing it un­der­neath the wall as it jumped and into the near bottom cor­ner, com­pletely wrong­foot­ing the goal­keeper.

Mo­ments later Pescara thought they had equalised, but Caprari was flagged off­side. No sooner had they fin­ished protest­ing than Bacca had come slid­ing on to a Niang as­sist and hit the post from point-blank range.

Pescara turned on the siege with Ah­mad Be­nali fir­ing over after shak­ing off Gomez, then Led­jan Me­mushaj and Al­berto Aquilani both went for the Francesco Zampano cross, clat­ter­ing into each other. Aquilani came off worse and had to be re­placed by ex-Mi­lan youth prod­uct Bryan Cris­tante.

It was wide open in the sec­ond half, as Suso tested Biz­zarri from a tight an­gle and Gian­luigi Don­narumma flew for a sen­sa­tional trail­ing hand save on Me­mushaj’s scorch­ing strike as it was go­ing into the top cor­ner. On the re­sult­ing set piece, Don­narumma was again alert on Me­mushaj’s header.

Mario Pasalic, on loan from Chelsea, fi­nally made his Mi­lan de­but and nod­ded a Suso cross over the bar.

Pescara had an­other goal ruled off­side, as Rey Manaj was off­side when Don­narumma par­ried a Me­mushaj ef­fort into his path.

Bryan Cris­tante drilled just wide, but in seven min­utes of stop­pages the Delfini poured for­ward, Caprari’s won­der­ful lob fin­ger­tipped away by Don­narumma at full stretch.

Mean­hwile, Roma’s run of four con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries came to a halt at the Castel­lani thanks to the hero­ics of Lukasz Sko­rup­ski.

In the first cou­ple of min­utes Lukasz Sko­rup­ski, who is on loan from Roma, flew to fin­ger­tip an Edin Dzeko header out from un­der the cross­bar. Mo­ments later he was called into ac­tion quite spec­tac­u­lar again, one-handed to deny Mo­hamed Salah’s strike from 12 yards.

There was a cu­ri­ous mo­ment when Giuseppe Bel­lusci brought down Dzeko on the edge of the area and the ref­eree flashed a yel­low fol­lowed by a red card, but quickly re­alised it was a case of mis­taken iden­tity and it was the de­fender’s first book­ing.

Stephan El Shaarawy saw a cou­ple of ef­forts de­flected off tar­get, but Em­poli also threat­ened just be­fore half-time when Manuel Pasqual’s free kick swerved just past the up­right.

Bruno Peres re­turned from in­jury for the sec­ond half and drilled just wide of the up­right, while Mas­simo Mac­carone’s fin­ish was too cen­tral to trou­ble Wo­j­ciech Szczesny.

Yet Em­poli were inches away from tak­ing the lead on 81 min­utes when Saponara some­how kept the ball in play to pull back for Mac­carone in the six-yard box and the an­gled drive shaved a coat of paint off the base of the far post.

Roma threw ev­ery­thing at the Tus­cans and in the fi­nal min­utes Dzeko rose to meet a cor­ner, but the header was cleared off the line by Pasqual.

In stop­pages Sko­rup­ski com­pleted his man of the match per­for­mance with an­other great save on El Shaarawy’s vol­ley. On the re­sult­ing cor­ner Salah went down un­der a pos­si­ble tiny shirt-tug, but the flail­ing of the arms prompted the ref­eree to book him for sim­u­la­tion.

Sko­rup­ski was de­ci­sive again on El Shaarawy after a Salah counter, as Em­poli bolted the door shut.

Lega Pro C

Yes­ter­day Sira­cusa-An­dria ............................... 1-1 Cata­nia-Pa­ganese ............................ 2-1 Melfi-Vir­tus Fran­cav­illa ................... 0-1 Mo­nop­oli-Catanzaro ........................ 2-2 Taranto-Messina .............................. 1-1 Vi­bonese-Reg­gina 1914 ................... 1-0 Juve Stabia-Cosenza ........................ 2-0 Caser­tana-Fondi .............................. 1-1 Mat­era-Akra­gas ............................... 3-1

Yes­ter­day Ata­lanta-Genoa ............................. 3-0 Kur­tic 36’, 45+2’, Gomez 84’ AC Mi­lan-Pescara ........................... 1-0 Bon­aven­tura 49’ Cro­tone-Chievo .............................. 2-0 Trotta 45+3’ pen, Fal­cinelli 90+2’ Em­poli-AS Roma ............................ 0-0 Lazio-Sas­suolo ............................... 2-1 Lulic 50’ (L), Im­mo­bile 55’ (L), De­frel 57’ (S) Sam­p­do­ria-In­ter ............................ 1-0 Quagliarella 44’

Stand­ings

Ju­ven­tus AS Roma AC Mi­lan Lazio Napoli Ata­lanta Fiorentina Torino Genoa Chievo In­ter Sam­p­do­ria Udi­nese Cagliari Bologna Sas­suolo Pescara Em­poli Palermo Cro­tone

Serie B 11 11 11 11 11 11 10 10 10 11 11 11 10 10 11 11 11 11 10 11 9 7 7 6 6 6 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 1 1 1 1 0 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 3 3 2 2 1 1 4 1 4 4 3 2 2 23 8 27 2 26 12 23 3 17 14 22 2 22 12 21 3 20 12 20 4 16 13 19 2 13 10 16 3 20 13 15 3 12 10 15 4 11 12 15 5 13 14 14 5 12 16 14 5 13 16 13 5 17 23 13 4 11 15 13 6 14 19 13 6 9 16 7 6 2 13 7 6 7 19 6 8 10 21 5

Yes­ter­day Verona-Tra­pani ................................ 2-0 Vi­cenza-Peru­gia ............................... 1-4

Lega Pro A

Yes­ter­day Como-Ol­bia ..................................... 2-2 Cre­monese-Pis­toiese ....................... 2-1 Giana Er­minio-Rac­ing Roma ............ 3-0 Prato-Lupa Roma ............................. 1-2 Viterbese-Livorno ............................ 1-1 Arezzo-Re­nate ................................. 3-1 Alessan­dria-Siena ............................ 5-2 Car­rarese-Pi­a­cenza .......................... 1-0 Pro Pi­a­cenza-Luc­ch­ese .................... 0-0

AC Mi­lan’s Gian­luigi Bon­aven­tura cel­e­brates after scor­ing yes­ter­day Photo: AP

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