Serie A - Milan held by Rossi's Fiorentina

Sat, 19 Nov 21:55:00 2011

Fiorentina held Serie A champions Milan to a goalless draw in new coach Delio Rossi's first game in charge at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Robinho Fiorentina Milan - 0

Substitute Alexandre Pato upon his return from a lengthy absence struck the post late on in what was the closest either side came in a match which promised much but crucially lacked a cutting edge in the final third.

The Rossoneri travelled to Florence riding a five-match winning streak, while the Viola hoped the arrival of new coach Rossi to the Fiorentina hotseat would bode well for an immediate impact, but the match duly ended goalless.

Milan welcomed striker Pato back after almost two months on the sidelines through injury, but the Brazil international was confined to the substitutes' bench as compatriot Robinho partnered Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front.

It was a scrappy opening period to the game as Fiorentina defended deep and soaked up incessant pressure from their purposeful visitors.

The first clear-cut opportunity of the match came on the half hour mark as Clarence Seedorf whipped over a devilish delivery from the left, and Alberto Aquilani rose high to head agonisingly over the crossbar with Artur Boruc comprehensively beaten.

Milan continued to attack and dominate the possession for the remainder of the first half, and Rossi promptly introduced Santiago Silva in place of Alessio Cerci in a bid to hold the ball up more effectively.

Four minutes after the break, Ibrahimovic and Antonio Nocerino each went very close with low drives from the edge of the Fiorentina box within the space of a minute, and the hosts were constantly forced under the cosh.

In a game in which both sides traded overly ambitious and poorly executed long-range efforts, it was Fiorentina defender Manuel Pasqual produced the best with a fierce drive from 30 yards which zipped agonisingly wide of the far post in the 73rd minute.

Massimiliano Allegri delighted the Milan supporters as he introduced Pato as a 69th minute substitute, and the Brazilian did not take long to make a real impact.

Indeed, eight minutes after coming on, Pato jinked inside a challenge from Houssine Kharja and unleashed a ferocious low drive, only to see his effort rebound cruelly off the far post with Boruc comprehensively beaten.

If the Pole was helpless on that occasion, he was to distinguish himself with a string of fine saves late on to keep the visitors at bay.

Another Milan substitute Urby Emanuelson turned a loose ball on target from close-range with an opportunistic flick, but Boruc was equal to it with a fine parry to safety.

Again, it was Emanuelson who was denied from close range as Boruc pulled off another incredible reflex stop in the 83rd minute, and Milan cut a hugely frustrated outfit at the full-time whistle.

Fiorentina have now mustered just one win from their last eight games, but the spirit characterised by Rossi's side represented some form of resurgence and the hosts celebrated their point jubilantly.

Dan Quarrell - follow on Twitter @danquarrell / Eurosport

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