Lazio, Milan draw 2-2 in opener

BY foxsports • September 9, 2011

Defending champion AC Milan and Lazio produced four first-half goals in a 2-2 draw on Friday that opened the Serie A season two weeks late following a players' strike.

Newly signed Lazio forwards Miroslav Klose and Djibril Cisse put the Roman team ahead 2-0 with goals in the 12th and 21st minutes to silence the San Siro, but Milan equalized with strikes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Cassano in the 29th and 33rd.

''We played even with them,'' said midfielder Stefano Mauri, who provided the passes for both of Lazio's goals. ''Maybe we could have done better but a point at the San Siro is OK.''

Milan took advantage of its option to play on Friday since it opens the Champions League against last season's winner Barcelona on Tuesday.

Napoli, which is also in the Champions League, visits Cesena on Saturday, while Juventus hosts Parma on Sunday for the first official match in its new stadium. Inter Milan is at Palermo.

Also Sunday, it's: Catania vs. Siena; Chievo Verona vs. Novara; Fiorentina vs. Bologna; Genoa vs. Atalanta; Lecce vs. Udinese; and Roma vs. Cagliari.

Klose's goal began with a pass from Mauri that the Germany striker used two expert touches to control before shooting past defender Alessandro Nesta and goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.

Cisse and Klose both failed to convert on successive chances in the 17th after Nesta collided with Gennaro Gattuso, sending Gattuso to the hospital to have his eye checked.

Cisse then doubled the lead with a header from the center of the area following another pass from Mauri.

''Klose and Cisse have always scored goals. It's not like we just discovered them today,'' Mauri said.

Ibrahimovic scored into an empty net following a triangle of passes that began with newly signed Alberto Aquilani sending the ball from the top of the area to near the byline where Cassano slid it across to Ibrahimovic.

Three minutes later, Hernanes had a golden chance to restore Lazio's lead but the Brazilian playmaker shot wide from the center of the area.

After both sides settled down to start the second half, Cassano hit the post in the 63rd and Kevin-Prince Boateng followed with another dangerous attempt for Milan in the 64th.

Cisse nearly finished off a Lazio counterattack in the 65th but Nesta made an acrobatic display to stop the France international.

With Boateng suffering from an apparent bruised shoulder, Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri sent on Alexandre Pato as a third striker in the 76th but the Brazil international couldn't break the deadlock.

Still, Milan remained undefeated against Lazio at the San Siro since Sept. 1989.

''We struggled the first half hour when Lazio played well but then we did what we needed to do,'' Allegri said. ''It was the first match and we lacked some rhythm and pace.''


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