As they say, form is temporary; class is permanent. Milan are back. Be very, very afraid. Forza Milano!!
Milan went top of Serie A for Saturday night at least after a stunning goal from Andrea Pirlo gave them a 1-0 win at Parma.
From almost 40 yards, Pirlo sent a superb shot beyond the impressive Antonio Mirante to give the Rossoneri a deserved first-half lead that they ended up clinging on to as Parma rallied late on. The victory, Milan’s first on the road since April, puts Massimiliano Allegri’s side on 11 points, although up to six sides down as far as eighth-placed Bari could feasibly leapfrog them after Sunday’s action.
Milan had by far the better of the first-half exchanges, almost breaking the deadlock in the second minute when Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired just wide after a superb passing move.
Alessandro Nesta had to be at his best to ease Hernan Crespo away from a simple finish 10 minutes later, but otherwise it was plain sailing for the Rossoneri, who took the lead in some style on 25 minutes.
Pirlo, 31, picked up the ball around yards from the edge of the box and, after moving on to his right, fired a dipping, curling shot that rose and fell in spectacular fashion to nestle under the crossbar. Mirante then kept his side in the match with a superb stop from Ibrahimovic after Ronaldinho put the Swede through, and the Parma keeper repeated the trick three times in succession after the Swede chased a lost cause, shrugging Massimo Paci off the ball but denied by a wonderful triple save.
Milan went agonisingly close to a second when Pirlo released Luca Antonini on the left, but his low drive across goal was slid behind by Luca Antonelli just as Robinho was readying himself to tap into the empty net.
The second half started fairly slugglishly, as Parma tried to force a chance without really delivering anything like a decent final ball as Nesta comfortably kept Hernan Crespo at bay. The visitors, meanwhile, sat back and looked for the odd break, Robinho’s scuffed shot well wide epitomising the opening quarter hour and his Milan career to date.
There was a burst of life in 63 minutes when Ronaldinho rolled back the years with a surging run and powerful drive that Mirante tipped over. Parma reacted well, fashioning their first half-chance in what seemed like an age when Angelo drilled a low cross just beyond Fernando Marques at the far post.
The hosts were looking more dangerous, particularly when Valeri Bojinov was brought on to support the previously isolated Crespo, who enjoyed the new space to win more headers, albeit without testing Christian Abiatti.
Parma had a penalty appeal waved away when Marques went down very easily under a challenge from Ignazio Abate, while substitute Blerim Dzemaili forced a smart stop from Abbiati as the home side started to control the game.
Ronaldinho spurned a superb chance to put the game out of sight with 10 minutes left when he put wide after leading a counter-attack: Alexandre Pato, on as a sub after returning from injury, was free in the middle, but otherwise the closing stages were all about Parma as the Rossoneri were forced increasingly deep.
But Pasquale Marino’s side were unable to break down a stubborn visiting defence as Milan held on to go top, one point ahead of Internazionale and Lazio.