Serie A - Milan teach Lecce top flight lesson
Eurosport - Sun, 29 Aug 21:54:00 2010
AC Milan welcomed Lecce back to the top flight with a 4-0 masterclass led by a double from Alexandre Pato in coach Massimiliano Allegri's first game in charge of the club.
New signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic took a seat next to Milan's vice-president Adriano Galliani to watch the Rossoneri's first league game of the campaign, and he might have been forgiven for wondering where he might fit into new coach Massimiliano Allegri's strike force.
Marco Borriello harried and made space, while Pato drifted, made wonderful runs and arrived on the end of innumerable through balls.
But the star turn was a rejuvenated Ronaldinho - not merely going through his repertoire of tricks, but also spotted making lunging interceptions which demonstrated real hunger and commitment.
Combined, they were far too much for last season's Serie B champions, who lacked the quality to compete with a Milan side playing freely at a good tempo.
Pato grabbed the first after 16 minutes after Massimo Ambrosini rolled a pass his way. He needed one touch to move into the penalty area and another to lash the ball right-footed into the far corner.
Seven minutes later Ronaldinho's corner was flicked on by Pato for the second. Borriello tried and failed to squeeze the ball through a goalmouth melee, but Thiago Silva was on hand to poke home at the second attempt.
The third typified the link-up play between Brazilians Ronaldinho and Pato which was exquisite at times. Ronaldinho's through ball beat the offside trap and left Pato one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and he tucked away his second goal of the game with ease.
Milan continued to dominate in the second half. Substitute Inzaghi was denied only by the post after an audacious chip struck on the run, and he was not far away with another first time hit from Daniele Bonera's cross.
Meanwhile Lecce created a handful of half-chances, mainly through debutant Uruguayan striker Javier Chevanton, whose finishing let down some determined build-up play.
Pato came off to a deserved standing ovation with a quarter of an hour remaining to allow Kevin-Prince Boateng to make his Milan debut.
And it was Boateng and fellow substitute Gennaro Gattuso's perseverance down the right wing which finally gave veteran Inzaghi the chance he needed to drill his first goal of the campaign past Antonio Rosati.
Milan will face stiffer tests this season but Allegri will have been delighted by the emphatic performance of his side, while for Lecce boss Luigi Di Canio there was little to take heart from after a stern examination on the opening weekend of Serie A.