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I swear I'm gonna scour the bookstores just to buy Ibra's autobiography lol
The quotes from that book so far is priceless!
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Last-gasp Balotelli penalty rescues point for Milan
October 2, 2013 8:39am
Mario Balotelli rescued AC Milan with a disputed penalty in the 94th minute of their Champions League clash at Ajax Amsterdam on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), leaving the hosts to rue their failure to close it out after taking a 90th-minute lead.
Ajax had gone ahead through Stefano Denswil's header, but Italy striker Balotelli was given the benefit of a generous decision from Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson when he tussled with the hosts' Mike van der Hoorn deep into stoppage time.
The substitute defender looked more the victim than the aggressor as the pair tangled in the area, but the decision went the Italian's way and he stepped up to convert from the spot.
"When you score the first goal of the game in the 90th minute, it's logical you have to go on and win the match. I find it crazy we ended up drawing," Ajax captain Siem de Jong told Dutch radio after the Group H match at the Amsterdam Arena.
"But over the whole game a 1-1 draw was probably the right result," he added.
Ajax coach Frank de Boer had said that if Ajax were to stand any chance of finishing in the top two in a group that also includes Barcelona, they would need to beat Milan.
They looked well on their way when Denswil rose unchallenged to head home Lasse Schone's corner right at the death in a rare effort on goal from the hosts.
A dream result was snatched away, however, when Balotelli and Van der Hoorn locked arms in stoppage time and De Boer was in no doubt where he felt the blame lay.
"It looked to me that Balotelli was practicing judo, I saw that as an ippon," he told reporters sarcastically. "He tugged him over with two hands. It was no penalty."
De Boer, however, did say that Denswil had got away with an earlier incident in the 69th minute when he clearly handled in the penalty area but it was not spotted by the match officials.
"The ref would have been justified in awarding a penalty then but not for the incident at the end of the game," the Ajax coach added.
The result leaves Milan second in Group H on four points, two behind leaders Barcelona who maintained their perfect start with a 1-0 win at Celtic.
Ajax are third having picked up their first point of the campaign after losing 4-0 to Barcelona on the opening matchday.
Milan did not have a single effort on goal in the first half as they sat back behind the ball and comfortably dealt with Ajax's efforts to break through their lines.
The Italians seemed content with a point despite the relative inexperience of their hosts.
Home goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen was called into action for the first time to keep out Riccardo Montolivo's effort from a Kevin Constant cross in the 49th minute.
Then Balotelli, who had been largely anonymous in the first half but sprung to life after the break, came close with a looping shot just after the hour mark that forced the Ajax keeper to tip the ball onto the crossbar.
Cillessen, playing his first Champions League game, made another good stop five minutes from the end as Balotelli was allowed time to turn and shoot in the penalty area as the game suddenly burst into life.
"In the second half Ajax could not keep up the same level of performance. We started to play better and we should have won the game," asserted Milan coach Massimiliano Allgeri. - Reuters
Deja vu as Milan faces Barcelona amidst an injury crisis
October 22, 2013 2:29pm
AC Milan's story the last two years has been one of inconsistent form, a perennial injury crisis and losing to old rivals Barcelona.
So far this season, their form has been erratic as ever with only three wins in eight Serie A matches, and the injuries have continued to pile up. On Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), they will be hoping to vary the routine by beating the Catalans.
The two sides have met six times in the last two seasons with Barcelona predictably dominating. They have knocked seven-time champions Milan out of the Champions League twice in a row, in the quarterfinals two seasons ago and in the round of 16 last term, and enjoyed a win and a draw in two group stage meetings in 2011/12.
Milan's only win in those six matches was in the first leg of last season's round of 16 clash, but they were overwhelmed 4-0 in the return.
With Barcelona yet to concede a goal or drop a point in Group H, Milan clearly have a tall order although, whatever happens on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), both sides should comfortably progress, Ajax Amsterdam and Celtic having so far managed only one point between them.
For the second season in a row, Milan, which seems to be stuck in an interminable transitional phase, has made a slow start. They have taken 11 points from eight games in Serie A and have already dropped 13 points behind leaders AS Roma, suggesting that once again they will have to focus on next season's Champions League rather than challenging for the title.
Most of their points have been won through sheer grit and determination rather well-polished performances.
Remarkably, nine of Milan's last 13 goals have come in the last 10 minutes of their games, including all three they have scored in the Champions League.
Allegri's side scored both goals in the 2-0 win over Celtic in the dying minutes and needed a stoppage time penalty to draw at Ajax.
In the league, they scored twice in the last five minutes to draw 2-2 at Torino and repeated the trick in a 3-3 draw at Bologna, where they trailed 3-1 until the 89th minute.
Most frustrating of all has been the continued injury crisis with goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, defender Daniele Bonera and Mattia De Sciglio and forwards Stephan El Shaarawy, Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini all in the treatment room.
El Shaarawy has not played since September 1 after suffering first a thigh injury and then a microfracture of his foot, Pazzini has been out since May with a knee injury and Bonera since July.
Balotelli missed Saturday's (Sunday, PHL time) 1-0 win over Udinese with a thigh muscle injury he suffered during Italy's World Cup qualifier against Armenia and is doubtful for Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time).
Last month, former Milan forward Alexandre Pato, who suffered an astonishing sequence of muscular injuries at the club, questioned the treatment at Milan.
"During one-and-a-half years there, I played, I got injured, I was out for one month, I got injured again... Since I came back to Brazil, I haven't had any more injuries," said Pato, who joined Corinthians in January
"The treatment there is different," he said on a program on the Brazilian cable channel Sportv. "While are you out of action, you do some work in the swimming pool and a little bit of physiotherapy. Then in one week they make you put in a lot of effort.
"I think it all shows that what happened to me at Milan had nothing to do with me, as other players are still getting injured. I was not to blame."
Allegri replied at the time that Pato should have a sense of self-criticism instead of making "gratuitous accusations."
Barcelona dropped their first league points of the season in a 0-0 draw at Osasuna on Saturday (early Sunday, PHL time), when Lionel Messi came on in the second half for his first appearance since suffering a thigh injury at the end of last month. - Reuters
Champions League: Messi goal gives Barca draw at AC Milan
October 23, 2013 5:34am
ROME - Lionel Messi slipped past tight AC Milan marking to score in his first start since injury and give Barcelona a 1-1 draw on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) that keeps them two points clear at the top of Champions League Group H.
The Argentine struck in the 23rd minute with a slick finish to a breakaway move to cancel out Robinho's stylish ninth minute opener, which came during a frantic opening period of pressure from the home side.
Barcelona moved up to seven points, with unbeaten Milan in second spot on five, two ahead of Celtic which beat Ajax 2-1 in Glasgow.
However, coach Gerardo Martino was less than happy with a point from a match he felt Barca should have won.
"I think with the way the match went we dropped two points tonight. A point isn't any good for us and we deserved more. We created chances and deserved to win," Argentine Martino told Sky Sport Italia.
"It didn't work for the first ten minutes of the match, we gave Milan the initiative. We didn't play like we did for the remaining 80 minutes and we paid for it."
Milan, who were missing three of their usual attackers from their starting line-up, including Mario Balotelli, came racing out of the blocks, putting pressure on Barca's backline and a defensive error led to Robinho's goal.
The Brazilian beat the away side's dithering defenders to a high bouncing ball, and after exchanging passes with revitalized-looking countryman Kaka, slid a simple finish past Victor Valdes.
"Kaka played extraordinarily well. He had to play almost as a full back in the second half," said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.
"To be a champions you can't only do it with your feet, but also with your head. Kaka showed that tonight once again."
The home side rarely looked troubled in the opening period, but found themselves back to square one only 14 minutes after scoring when they gave the ball away sloppily to Andres Iniesta.
The Spain midfielder picked up the otherwise excellent Cristian Zapata's misplaced pass and slipped in Messi on the right.
The Argentine cut inside and drilled low to level the score with his 63rd goal in 81 Champions League appearances just as he looked to have lost his footing.
Barca dominated the second half against a tired Milan, but despite a couple of good chances couldn't make the most of their possession and had to settle for a point.
"Milan were as we expected them to be, very tight. We couldn't find space but we tried to win the game and in the end a point isn't that bad for either side," Iniesta said.
Iniesta should have given his side the lead in the 55th minute when he collected Xavi's delicate pass and managed to break through Milan's stout backline, only to scuff his shot at full stretch and allow Marco Amelia to make a good save.
However, the best chance of the night fell to Robinho only two minutes beforehand, the Brazilian inexplicably letting the ball run past him after being brilliantly found by Sulley Muntari with only Valdes to beat and letting a famous win slip away. - Reuters
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AC Milan gets much-needed boost with Honda move
December 11, 2013 10:14pm
Keisuke Honda. Sergio Moraes / Reuters
Japan playmaker Keisuke Honda will leave CSKA Moscow to join AC Milan in January, the Serie A club said on Wednesday.
Honda, whose contract at CSKA ends in December, will be a much-needed reinforcement for Milan who are ninth in Serie A, having managed four wins in their first 15 league matches.
"Keisuke Honda will be a Milan player from January 3," said chief executive Adriano Galliani. "We have already filed the contract, although we've been keeping it secret."
Galliani added that he expected Honda to make his debut at Sassuolo on January 12.
Honda, a CSKA player for four years since moving from Dutch club VVV Venlo and who won a Russian Premier League winners' medal last season, is central to all of Japan's attacking plans as they prepare for next year's World Cup in Brazil.
The bleach-blond 27-year-old is Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni's playmaker, forcing Shinji Kagawa to attack from the left which the Manchester United player has voiced his displeasure at.
Calm and assured in possession, Honda is a great reader of the game and astute at bringing teammates into play, while his dribbling is a hot commodity in a passing-dominated era.
He boasts a strong scoring record thanks mainly to his work at set pieces and was named player of the tournament as Japan won the 2011 Asian Cup.
He played for Japan at the 2010 World Cup, scoring the only goal against Cameroon and also with a magnificent free kick in the 3-1 win over Denmark as his side reached the last 16. - Reuters