Balotelli, Kaka lead AC Milan to second straight win against Chievo
AC Milan picked up up back-to-back wins for only the second time all season with Mario Balotelli and Ricardo Kaka on target in a comfortable 3-0 win over struggling Chievo.
Balotelli gave Milan a flying start before Kaka, making his 300th appearance for Milan, doubled their lead before the break. The Brazilian added a stunning third before leaving the field to a standing ovation.
Only Milan’s wastefulness prevented them from winning even more convincingly while Cyril Thereau did his side no favors either by hitting a late penalty against the crossbar. The three points were still enough to lift Milan to eighth, six points behind the top five ahead of Sunday’s round of matches.
Milan were straight onto the attack, winning a corner which led to their opening goal in the fourth minute.
Nigel de Jong pulled the ball back for Adil Rami, whose cross was met five yards out by the outstretched leg of Balotelli, who got enough on the ball to divert it beyond Michael Agazzi into the far corner.
Adel Taarabt then stung the palms of Michael Agazzi as Milan built up a head of steam early on, forcing Chievo onto the back foot.
They doubled their lead in the 27th minute when Keisuke Honda’s cross was taken down on his chest by Kaka, who then tucked the ball under Agazzi to mark his 300th game for the Rossoneri with a goal.
Milan were dominant and they should have ended the half three goals to the good, but Honda somehow contrived to lift his shot over the crossbar from close range, with only Agazzi to beat from Balotelli’s pass.
It took them just eight minutes of the second half to put the result beyond all doubt with Kaka again scoring with a fine curling effort into the far corner of Agazzi’s goal from just inside the penalty area on the left.
Chievo almost crafted a bizarre goal direct from Simone Bentivoglio’s corner on the hour mark, but the ball rebounded to safety off the unguarded near post.
A profligate Milan spared Chievo from further damage with Balotelli and Taarabt both seeing shots blocked in a one-sided encounter.
The visitors then wasted their best chance of the game in the last minute when Cristian Zaccardo fouled Thereau inside the penalty area, but the Chievo striker hammered the spot-kick against the underside of the crossbar with practically the last kick of the game.
Meanwhile in Saturday’s other match, Davide Ballardini’s position as Bologna coach was left hanging in the balance after a 2-0 defeat at home to Atalanta left them in serious relegation danger.
Two quick-fire first-half goals from Giuseppe De Luca and Marcelo Estigarribia earned Stefano Colantuono’s men all three points to take them to within two points of the top five and keep their hopes alive of qualifying for Europe next season.
Bologna, meanwhile, could slip into the bottom three on Sunday with rumors growing that Stefano Pioli will be back on their bench for the trip to Inter Milan next weekend.