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Milan (5) 0-0 (3) Panathinaikos

Milan: Abbiati (46′ Amelia); Zambrotta, Nesta (61′ Sokratis), Thiago Silva (46′ Bonera), Antonini; Gattuso (75′ Abate), Seedorf (61′ Strasser), Flamini; Merkel (78′ Novinic), Borriello (67′ Beretta), Oduamadi (78′ Oddo) .

Panathinaikos: Tzorvas (46′ Karnezis); Seitaridis (61′ Karagounis), Boumsong (85′ Dimoutstos), Kante (85′ Mavrias), Spyropoulos (67′ Bjarsmir); Simao (85′ Ioannidis), Katsouranis (61′ Marinos), Govou (61′ Vyntra), Ninis (61′ Da Silva); Leto (85′ Seeriegi), Cisse (Petropoulas).

Last weekend, Milan failed to win against Arsenal and Lyon in the Emirates Cup, and prior to that lost to A.S. Varese on friendly, the boys of Massimiliano Allegri have finally won.

Allegri played 4-3-3 with youngsters Nnamdi Oduamadi and Alexander Merkel on the wings, while Marco Borriello in the middle. Also the defense was good with Alessandro Nesta-Thiago Silva playing.

With Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo staying at home, Milan couldn’t create many shoots on target during the first half and despite the ball-possession was almost equal, Pao were much more dangerous.

Already in the first minute Christian Abbiati had to work as Djibril Cissé tried to chip the ball over the Italian ‘keeper, but couldn’t find the net. It was Cisse again in the 25th minute, but Abbiati denied him.

Milan had some attempts too but none of them was very dangerous. The only ball that got into the net during the first half of Cisse’s just before the break, but the official called an offside, and saved the Rossoneri.

The Greek side found the net again through Sidney Govou ten minutes into the break but again the Italian giants were saved, as the referee didn’t think the ball got in even though you could clearly see it did.

No confirmed goals in total of 90 minutes, and the match went through to penalties shootout.

Milan: Mathieu Flamini took the first penalty and scored.

Pao: Gilberto Silva made it 1-1.

Milan: Gianluca Zambrotta netted too.

Pao: Giorgos Karagounis scored.

Milan: Ignazio Abate took it and scored it. 3-2.

Pao: Equalized again. 3-3.

Milan: Massimo Oddo found the net.

Pao: Antonis Petropoulos took it, and missed it! 4-3

Milan: Daniele Bonera took the last penalty… and scored! 5-3.

Milan win after penalty shootout thanks to Bonera, as the Rossoneri grab first-ever victory under Max Allegri.


Coach Allegri , after the match
: “After London and the USA I can go home satisfied. Also this evening we gave our all and created a lot while the energy lasted. To keep on working in a happy and relaxed manner is fundamental. I together with the team are getting to know each other, so they is plenty of room for improvement. Here there are quality players, which helps a lot. Antonini? It was he who gave me the opportunity to play him in midfield, because in football only skill is never enough. Merkel? He is skillful, knows his whereabouts on the pitch and has the right timing for his passing. He needs to grow, like the other youngsters, who all can comfortably hold their own in the first-team squad.”

Marco Amelia said: “I am satisfied about this evening’s match. I believe it was a good entertaining match despite uncertain conditions underfoot. I made a number of saves, but also Abbiati played a good first half. The fact we are taking steps match after match means there is a lot of hard work being done. As far as I am concerned, playing with different defenders gives me the chance to get to know my team-mates more and to create a feeling with all of them. What’s more, the coach can evaluate everybody. What’s certain is that we gave them a number of scoring chances, which is normal at this stage of the pre-season. As their goal goes, perhaps it was in, but I haven’t seen a replay of what happened. It can happen in football, though. This evening, anyway, the result wasn’t as important as what we showed the coach on the pitch.

Daniele Bonera told: “At the final whistle we thought the match had ended a draw; instead, there were penalties. We won and it worked out that my penalty was the winner. This is the first time that something like this has happened to me and it is a great feeling. I am happy especially about the spirit we showed. The match could have been more difficult than it was, seeing the state of the pitch, the opponents, the weather; however, we showed the necessary group spirit. Fitness level is improving and it is good to see that in the middle of different problems, we are working hard to improve. And it is the united spirit that gives us reason to hope. We haven’t had much time these past few days, so we have intensified our work rate in training. This will continue when we return to Milan and after resting a couple of days, we’ll get back training again.”

Alexander Merkel had to say: “I feel fine and I am happy. It is a magical moment because I am enjoying playing so much, between here and London I have played a lot. I feel the coach’s trust in me and this is important. During the match, I touch the ball often, I link up a lot with the team. I am just as happy with the players closer to me, Borriello and Pato, than with those who play deeper. I am in the middle of so many champions, and I hope I can learn a lot from them and become a champion too.