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AC Milan back to winning ways
October 25, 2007 09:13 IST
AC Milan got back to winning ways with a flattering 4-1 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in Champions League Group D on Wednesday.
Alberto Gilardino, preferred to Filippo Inzaghi up front, nodded in Andrea Pirlo's sixth-minute corner and Clarence Seedorf's cross on 14 minutes to boost the holders after a dreadful run of form.
The home side were still not fluent and the Ukrainians were in charge for long spells with Shakhtar's Italy [Images] striker Cristiano Lucarelli netting a rebound after the break before two controlled Seedorf strikes settled the game.
Milan, who were without suspended goalkeeper Dida, join Shakhtar on top of the group with six points from three games.
Carlo Ancelotti's men were desperate for the win after losing 2-1 at Celtic in their last Champions League match and being humbled 1-0 at home by Empoli in Serie A on Sunday to leave them 10 points adrift of leaders Inter Milan.
Any early nerves were quickly settled though when Gilardino twice pounced on some loose Shakhtar marking with fairly simple headers.
The 25-year-old almost left Milan in the close season after saying he felt under-appreciated but he made the most of his chances in the drizzle with Inzaghi out of form and Ronaldo [Images] still not fit enough to feature this season.
Paolo Maldini was not even on the bench after playing his first match of the season against Empoli following knee surgery but Kaka [Images] shook off a knee problem to start.
The Brazilian was not at his best, however, and missed several efforts, including one golden first-half chance when he scuffed his shot after racing clear from the halfway line. He struck the post in the second half and the ball ran along the line and out.
Milan had other chances and could easily have paid for their wastefulness with big-spending Shakhtar showing why they beat Celtic 2-0 and Benfica 1-0 in their previous group matches.
Former Livorno striker Lucarelli, who scored both goals for Italy in last Wednesday's 2-0 friendly win over South Africa, was a constant menace and lashed home a deserved goal after Milan had failed to clear.
Shakhtar's Brazilian contingent of Jadson, Ilsinho and Brandao all troubled Milan keeper Zeljko Kalac, playing after Dida was suspended for feigning injury at Celtic.
But Seedorf's cool head won the game for Milan when he twice rifled in from the edge of the area just past the hour.
UEFA Champions League 2007-08: The Complete Coverage