Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
’s live coverage of the Serie A clash between Chievo and AC Milan
in Verona. It promises to be an exciting and intriguing encounter between two sides struggling for points, and you can follow all the action live as it unfolds on this page.
Heading into this afternoon’s match, Milan find themselves way back in 11th in the league table, having managed to pick up only 12 points from their 11 matches. The Rossoneri have also suffered back-to-back defeats in all competitions and will be desperate to pick up a victory at the Stadio Bentegodi.
Chievo are also in wretched form and are currently at the foot of the Serie A standings with just five points from 11 matches, having won just once all season. The Flying Donkeys are not flying so high anymore at the moment – their wings have been clipped!
Let’s bring you some team news now. The teamsheet is already out and I will type in the players’ names shortly, but I can confirm that Philippe Mexes
is back in defence for Milan after serving his suspension and Kaka
starts yet again.
Puggioni; Frey, Dainelli, Cesar; Sardo, Radovanovic, L.Rigoni, Pamic, Estigarribia; Paloschi, Thereau
Subs: Silvestri, Squizzi, Bernardini, Papp, Hetemaj, Dramè, Sestu, Improta, Acosty, Lazarevic, Ardemagni, Pellissier
AC MILAN XI:
Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Emanuelson; Poli, Montolivo, De Jong, Muntari; Kaka
Subs: Amelia, Gabriel, Bonera, Zaccardo, Cristante, Constant, Birsa, Niang, Robinho
So Chievo will start in a 3-5-2 system with Alberto Paloschi
and Cyril Thereau up front. The former is actually on loan to Chievo from Milan.
Milan will have a 4-4-1-1 system with Alessandro Matri
leading the attack and Kaka supporting him from the ‘hole’. The Brazilian playmaker has been in good form since re-joining the Italian giants from Real Madrid during the summer transfer window. Elsewhere in the Milan starting lineup, Philippe Mexes
is back in defence after serving his four-match ban and Urby Emanuelson
is preferred to Kevin Constant.
Wondering why star striker Mario Balotelli is not in the team? Here’s why: he is suspended. Surprise, surprise! The Italian striker misses out due to an accumulation of yellow card, while Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio, Giampaolo Pazzini and Matias Silvestre all are injured.
Just over 10 minutes remain until kickoff. The atmosphere is building on in Verona, although historically Chievo have struggled against Milan – the Flying Donkeys have beat the Rossoneri only twice – home and away – and have suffered 17 defeats. Only three matches between these two teams have ended in draws.
One game in Serie A today has already finished. Genoa beat Hellas Verona 2-0 at home. You can read the match report here
Back to our game in hand now, and there are just five minutes left until kickoff to what I believe will be a very intriguing and interesting match.
The pre-match rituals are taking place now and the game will start momentarily.
KICKOFF And we are underway now in Verona.
It has been a scrappy start to the match with the sides cancelling out each other in midfield. The supporters are in full volume, though!
Ignazio Abate’s persistence down the right earns Milan a corner that Kaka takes, but Chievo clear it away with ease.
Milan pressing on now as Abate drills in a cross from the right that Chievo somehow scramble clear. However, the visitors are not deterred and eventually earn a free around 35 yards from goal.
Kaka floats in a the free kick perfectly that Philippe Mexes heads towards goal, but it flies over the crossbar and does not trouble Christian Puggioni
in any way.
Ten minutes gone in the match and it has yet to go off into sparks. Milan edging Chievo in terms of possession but cannot really create anything of note.
CHANCE! Marcelo Estigarribia
gets the first shot for Chievo as he gets past Andrea Poli
and takes an attempt from outside the Milan box with his left foot, but it is high and wide.
The tempo is severely low in this encounter – the contest is still scrappy and without much rhythm or momentum.
Once again Abate floats in a dangerous cross from the right but it is cleared away by the Chievo defence without much ado. Milan have started to show some kind of urgency now and appear to have made it a point to use their right flank and Abate.
Kaka goes on a mazy and diagonal run from the midfield but he runs too much and eventually fails to do anything with it as he has to give up the ball near the right touchline.
Chievo go on a counter-attack after Kaka had failed to execute his run moments ago, and Marcelo Estigarribia
hits a ferocious shot on goal that Christian Abbiati
makes a good save to turn it away for a corner.
CHANCE! Bostjan Cesar
is left unattended to inside the Milan area but the Chievo defender’s effort on goal from the corner is off-target. A huge relief for the Rossoneri fans.
Now Milan go on the attack and Sulley Muntari
takes a shot on goal that is claimed comfortably by Puggioni. End-to-end action now.
Nigel de Jong
makes a meal of his free kick from over 30 yards. He manages to get a curl on it, but it is nowhere near the Chievo goal. Still goalless between Chievo and Milan in Verona, but the match has certainly picked up momentum in the last five or so minutes.
It would be interesting to note that despite Milan more attacking runs and hogging more possession, it is Chievo who have created the better chances – three of them in fact, two falling to Estigarribia, who is looking more and more dangerous with every passing minute.
Matri, who has been in really poor form this season, fails to collect a pass inside the Chievo box and is dispossessed with ease. Chievo appear to have resigned themselves to playing on the counter-attack but every time they press on, they look like breaking the deadlock in this contest.
Half an hour gone in the match and it remains goalless. It has been largely a quiet game with just a five-minute spell when the momentum increased. However, there is every possibility that it could all kick off – perhaps a Chievo goal could unlock things.
Milan are still dominating possession and territory, but Chievo are stagnating them in midfield, far away from Puggioni’s goal. Their strategy of sitting back and cutting out Milan’s passes and attacks is working just fine at the moment.
YELLOW CARD Bostjan Cesar
becomes the first player this afternoon to be booked for a rather unnecessary challenge on Kaka.
CHANCE! It’s scrappy and clumsy but it almost worked for Milan, who put Chievo under pressure inside the area. Matri gives the ball back to Kaka on the edge of the area, but the Brazilian’s final effort is scuffed and the home side clear the danger away just as the referee blows the whistle for an offside offence from Mexes.
Chievo are really stifling and frustrating Milan with their tactics. They know that a draw against the Italian giants will be a good result and if they can get a goal on the counter, then they could just sneak a win. Good strategy, I have to say, given that the Flying Donkeys are at the foot of the table and need to pick up points howsoever they can.
Good work from Alessandro Matri
, who collects a ball over the top with a deft touch and then plays it back to Andrea Poli
, who takes a shot on goal but it goes wide.
Two minutes to half time to what is still a goalless match that is finely balanced.
CHANCE! Milan craft yet another opportunity and once again it is Poli to whom it falls. Abate floats in a cross from the right that the Milan midfielder gets his head to before anyone, but it is nowhere on target.
YELLOW CARD Riccardo Montolivo
is shown the yellow card for what the referee deems is a deliberate handball in midfield. The Italian midfielder protests that he could not get his hand away in time for the ball that came at him, but the referee sticks to his decision.
HALF TIME: Chievo 0-0 AC Milan
The referee blows the half-time whistle and brings to an end what has been largely a disappointing first 45 minutes with proper chances few and far between. It is 0-0 between Chievo and Milan, who have been frustrated by the home team’s strategy of defending them and attacking on the counter.
Chievo had three good chances in the early stages of the match, two of them falling to Estigarribia, but for most of the contest it has been Milan doing all the running. The visitors dominated possession and territory, but except for Andrea Poli’s double-chances towards the end of the half, they have not really troubled goalkeeper Christian Puggioni
, who have had to make just one save in the opening 45 minutes.
Let’s look at the stats now from the first half. Milan have had nine shots compared to Chievo’s four, but both teams have had just one on target. The visitors had 74% of the possession and two corner kicks, while the hosts had one corner kick and just 26% of the possession.
The second half should get underway in a few minutes’ time. Coach Massimiliano Allegri will have to re-think his gameplan if Chievo continue to keep 10 men inside their own half. Milan desperately need a win today and have to do everything they can to get the points.
The two sets of players are now on the pitch and the second half is about to get underway.
KICKOFF Milan get the second half underway. It is goalless from the first 45 minutes. Hopefully there will be a goal or two in the second period.
CHANCE! Muntari goes close for Milan in the opening minute of the second half as he shoots on goal after finding himself in a good position, but it goes just wide. Christian Puggioni did have to stretch all the way to his left, though.
SUBSTITUTION Let me bring you some substitution news. Chievo made one change at the break: Perparim Hetemaj came on in place of Marcelo Estigarribia. I am not sure why it was made, perhaps it was an injury that the latter picked up in the opening 45 minutes.
Both sides look quite lively in the second half, certainly livelier than they were at the same stage in the first half. I have got a feeling that a single goal will settle this affair.
CHANCE! Luca Rigoni
squanders away the best chance of the afternoon as his right-footed shot from inside the area hits the side-netting! Kaka lost possession in midfield and Cyril Thereau collected it, passed it to Alberto Paloschi
on the left, whose left-footed shot from the left side of the box was kept out by Christian Abbiati
. However, the rebound fell to Rigoni, who could find the target from just yards out.
What a chance squandered away by Rigoni, who should have at least hit the target from that range, especially with the goal gaping wide open. Could they come back to haunt the hosts?
CHANCE! Kaka goes agonisingly close for Milan as he lets fly from 25 yards, but his effort goes just wide.
CHANCE! Urby Emanuelson
is so so unlucky! He finds himself with the ball unmarked and unattended to yards away from goal, and hits a left-footed shot with venom that Puggioni turns away.
CHANCE! Now Mexes for a ferocious attempt with a half-volley that is bang on target, but Puggioni does well to push his shot away. The Rossoneri are looking more and more likely to break the deadlock.
SUBSTITUTION Chievo make their second change of the afternoon. Vetaran striker Sergio Pellissier comes on for Cyril Thereau.
SUBSTITUTION Attack-minded change from Milan. Robinho replaces Muntari.
Milan are on full-attack mode as they earn their seventh corner of the afternoon, which they fail to capitalise on. Chievo coach Giuseppe Sannino is getting more and more animated with every passing minute, as his side look rattled at the back under the immense Rossoneri pressure.
CHANCE! Now Robinho gets onto the action as he collects a shot pass from the right from Montolivo inside the Chievo box and takes an attempt on goal. However, the Brazilian’s effort hits the side-netting.
A couple of minutes of ‘quietness’ in the match as Chievo manage to slow down the tempo. At this point, one would say that the home side would be happy to just earn a point, what with the incessant Milan pressure and chances that the visitors have created.
Chievo have the ball in the back of the Milan net but the referee rules it out for an offside infringement on the part of Alberto Paloschi, who looks frustrated at having his goal ruled out.
CHANCE! Wonderful football from Robinho inside the Chievo box to hoodwink his markers and set up Poli, whose shot from the edge of the area goes wide of target.
YELLOW CARD Luca Rigoni
is shown the yellow card for bluntly pulling back Urby Emanuelson just outside the box.
Urby Emanuelson tries to curl home the free kick but it hits the wall and goes out for a corner, which, once again, Milan fail to capitalise on.
SUBSTITUTION Milan coach Allegri introduces Kevin Constant in place of Andrea Poli, while Alberto Paloschi is replaced by Acosty Boadu-Maxwell for Chievo.
OFF THE POST! Robinho is so so close to breaking the deadlock for Milan! Constant is the architect of the chance as he slips a good pass to the Brazilian forward down the left and inside the Chievo box, but the former Manchester City player can only hit the post with just Puggioni to beat!
Milan are down to 10 men as Riccardo Montolivo
is sent off for a second bookable offence. He brings down Perparim Hetemaj and the referee deems it a yellow-card offence, and given that the midfielder was already on a yellow, he is dismissed. Dramatic scenes at the Stadio Bentegodi.
CHANCE! Yet Milan continue to create chances as we enter the final five minutes of this very dramatic fixture. It is Alessandro Matri who comes close this time as his left-footed shot from close range goes wide of the mark.
SUBSTITUTION Final change of the afternoon for Milan. Star playmaker Kaka is replaced by Bryan Cristante.
Three minutes to full time, Milan down to 10 men but still pressing on for a winner. Very, very dramatic and pulsating!
Milan coach Allegri is very, very animated on the touchline as he is frustrated at his players not being able to get the ball out of their own half. Chievo are pressing on in the final stages of the match and making sure that the ball stays inside the Milan area of the pitch.
RED CARD! Now Chievo are down to 10 men as Sergio Pellissier is shown a straight red card for protesting too much with the referee, who has allowed a Milan free kick! The veteran striker is furious with his dismissal and he came on only as a second-half substitute.
Three minutes of injury time have been awarded.
FULL TIME: Chievo 0-0 AC Milan
It’s all over at the Stadio Bentegodi where Chievo have held AC Milan to a goalless draw in Serie A. The teams each had a man sent off and in the end the spoils were shared.
In what was a clash between two sides desperately struggling for points, the first half left much to be desired. However, it all kicked off in the second period with Milan pounding on the Chievo box for the winner. In the end it did not come, but there was a dramatic finale. First Riccardo Montolivo was sent off for second bookable offence in the 83rd minute and seven minutes later Sergio Pellissier was dismissed for protesting too much with the referee. The goalless draw leaves both managers fearing for the axe.
Thank you very much for joining me today and I hope that you enjoyed our live coverage of the match here on Sports Mole. Enjoy the rest of your evening. It’s goodbye from me for now.