|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Milan take over at the top
Simon Evans | January 29, 2004 15:01 IST
European champions AC Milan moved top of Serie A on Wednesday after goals from Brazilian Kaka and Danish striker Jon Dahl Tomasson gave them a 2-1 win over Siena.
Carlo Ancelotti's side lead with 45 points while Roma are two points behind with Juventus in third place on 40 points.
Once again Brazilian Kaka, who scored twice in Sunday's 5-0 crushing of Ancona, showed why he is being talked about as one of the game's most exciting young players, with a confidently taken goal and a series of outstanding passes throughout.
Ancelotti, without the suspended defender Alessandro Nesta, opted to rest regular midfielders Rui Costa and Gennaro Gattuso and gave rare starts to Cristian Brocchi and former Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Redondo.
It took time for the reshaped midfield to settle and Siena, who had surprisingly left out strikers Enrico Chiesa and Nicola Ventola, enjoyed plenty of early possession.
But with Brocchi providing the running and aggression normally offered by Gattuso, Milan gradually got to grips with the game and took the lead in the 38th minute.
Andriy Shevchenko showed good awareness to thread the ball into the path of Kaka who skipped past Siena defender Stefano Argilli and coolly finished, sending Generoso Rossi the wrong way for his seventh league goal of the season.
Siena had a great chance to draw level before the break when their Norwegian striker Tore Andre Flo was pulled down by Milan captain Paolo Maldini, but Brazilian Fernando's weak 39th-minute penalty was saved by his compatriot, Dida in the Milan goal.
Milan almost added to the Tuscan's pain when Shevchenko unleashed a dangerous shot from outside the area which Rossi did well to push wide.
Rossi was at fault, though, for Milan's second, nine minutes after the interval, when failed to hold on to a long range effort from Cristian Brocchi and Tomasson pounced to slot home the loose ball.
Shevchenko hit the post when Milan had been awarded a close-range free-kick from a tight angle after Rossi picked up Gianni Guigou's back pass as Milan looked to seal the victory.
Former Chelsea striker Flo gave Siena a slimmer of hope in the 87th minute with a left-foot strike after a deflected shot from Roberto D'Aversa fell to him at the back post, but it was too late to mount a serious challenge.
Milan could easily have grabbed a third with Kaka forcing another save out of Rossi and, in the final moments, an unmarked Tomasson headed over the bar from a promising position.