Serie A - Milan beat Cesena for first win

Fri, 23 Sep 21:47:00 2011

AC Milan posted the first win of their Serie A in lacklustre fashion, beating lowly Cesena 1-0 at the San Siro.

AC Milan's Clarence Seedorf (R) celebrates with Taiwo (C) and Antonio Cassano after scoring against Cesena during their Italian Serie A soccer match at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan September 24, 2011 - 0

Clarence Seedorf's cross-come-shot went in at the far post just five minutes into the contest, and that was enough to separate the two sides.

Injury-ravaged Milan dominated possession but failed to convert that into as many chances.

Cesena, who have now lost their first four games of the campaign, lacked the players to get themselves back into contention in a drab encounter.

Seedorf was given a more advanced, creative role than he usually occupies for the Rossoneri, who were without a raft of their most attacking players. And in the early part of the match he seemed to revel in the freedom.

Only he will know for certain whether he meant to beat Nicola Ravaglia from a cute angle, but a meagre Milan crowd were delighted by the early breakthrough.

Antonio Candreva caused concern for the home side's defence - particularly for goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, who flailed at his low crosses.

One of them, midway through the first half, gave Cesena their best chance of an equaliser, with Jorge Martinez just millimetres away from connecting with the ball from point-blank range.

Milan took control of the first half from there, however, with Ignazio Abate almost playing the perfect pass in for the hard-working Antonio Cassano.

Five minutes into the second half youngster Stephan El Sharaawy almost doubled Milan's lead, rounding off a slick move with a shot which Ravaglia did well to parry.

Moments later Cesena broke, with substitute Citadin Eder in a great position, only to be felled on the edge of the area by a calculated tackle from Mario Yepes, who was lucky only to be booked.

But from there the game stagnated, with Cesena unable to create much danger, and Milan failing to take advantage.

Cassano tried to coax the Milan crowd back into song when his low effort was saved at the far post by Ravaglia with 25 minutes to go, but the effect was short-lived.

Moments later, he was unlucky to be denied a penalty shout as Rodriguez brought him down clumsily.

But against a side low on confidence, the absence of a second goal did not matter.

Milan will hope to have some crucial players back before they travel to the Stadio Olimpico to face Juventus in a week's time, while Cesena will target breaking their Serie A duck in a home clash against mid-table Chievo.

Napoli and Fiorentina drew 0-0 in Saturday's other game, both moving level on seven points with leading trio Genoa, Juventus and Udinese who all play on Sunday.

Fiorentina dominated the first half and were denied a goal when Morgan de Sanctis made a memorable point-blank save to turn away Cesare Natali's header. The game could have gone either way in an end-to-end second half.

Mark Patterson - on Twitter @markjpatterson / Eurosport

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