Balotelli back on target as Milan beat Catania
Mario Balotelli scored his first league goal in over two months as struggling Serie A giants Milan secured a precious 3-1 win away to 10-man Catania on Sunday.sports Updated: Dec 01, 2013 19:54 IST
Mario Balotelli scored his first league goal in over two months as struggling Serie A giants Milan secured a precious 3-1 win away to 10-man Catania on Sunday.
Milan started their 14th game of the campaign 14 points off the first Champions League qualifying place and having been rocked by the announcement that chief executive Adriano Galliani would resign after 27 years at the club.
Galliani's future is as yet undecided, after club owner Silvio Berlusconi said Saturday he would remain in his post following a restructuring.
However this result, only Milan's fourth win of the campaign, will undoubtedly prove a huge morale boost to the Rossoneri amid what has been another disappointing start to the season.
Catania, who were reduced to 10 men just after the hour when Panagiotis Tachtsidis saw red for a foul on Balotelli, started brightly and took the lead on 13 minutes when a shot by Lucas Castro deflected off Antonio Nocerino and wrong-footed Gabriel in the Milan net.
Milan were soon back on level terms when captain Riccardo Montolivo rushed in at the back post to beat Mariano Andujar with a splendid first-time strike from a cross deep on the left.
Kaka spurned a chance on the half hour and minutes after the restart Nocerino narrowly missed making contact with the Brazilian's angled free-kick in front of goal.
Balotelli, who scored for Milan in a resounding 3-0 Champions League win away to Celtic in midweek, then spurned two chances in succession to give Milan the lead after Montolivo had crossed for the striker.
Balotelli, however, was not to be denied and finally ended his goal drought when he beat Andujar with a freekick on 63 minutes. It was his first league goal since a late consolation in a 2-1 defeat at home to Napoli on September 22.
Milan pressed home their advantage after Tachtsidis was given his marching orders two minutes after Balotelli's goal and Kaka virtually secured the points when he beat Andujar with a fine individual effort nine minutes from the whistle.