Brazilians Pato and Ronaldinho proved there is life after Kaka as they inspired AC Milan to a 2-1 victory at Siena in coach Leonardo's opening Serie A match in charge of the Italian giants. Pato scored a brace, but it was his Brazilian compatriot Ronaldinho who created both goals to help countryman Leonardo begin his reign with a win and instantly ease the pain felt by Kaka's switch to Real Madrid.
It was a marked turnaround for Milan, who had lost eight out of 11 pre-season friendlies and although this success against relative minnows will not be decisive in the scudetto race, Ronaldinho's performance inspired some hope. He may not have his explosive burst of pace of old, but he was incisive and creative, and almost scored with an ingenious second-half bicycle kick.
Pato had the first clear chance of the game, but his long range volley on ten minutes was deflected behind for a corner. Ronaldinho was impressive playing in the hole behind Pato and Marco Borriello, orchestrating the play from the position where Kaka used to roam. On 19 minutes left-back Marek Jankulovski played a one-two with the Brazilian, who played him in on goal, but the Czech could not beat Gianluca Curci from a tight angle.
Minutes later Pato steered home a Ronaldinho free-kick, but it was ruled out as he had strayed marginally offside. A goal was coming, though, and it arrived on 29 minutes as Ronaldinho slipped in Pato, thanks in no small part to some inattentive defending, and the teenager fired across Curci into the bottom corner.
The lead last only five minutes, though, as Siena scored with worrying ease for Leonardo. Michele Fini's cross into the box landed at Lukas Jarolim's feet and the Czech was afforded time to shoot. Marco Storari kept out that effort, but Algeria forward Abdelkader Ghezzal was on hand to fire the rebound into the roof of the net.
Milan were quick out of the blocks in the second half and Ronaldinho was again the architect, playing Mathieu Flamini in behind the defence before the France midfielder squared to Pato for an easy tap-in. After Curci had tipped over Ronaldinho's acrobatic effort, Siena pushed forward and looked more likely to score, but Storari kept out Daniele Ficagna's header.
In the day's other game, Pablo Osvaldo gained revenge on his former employers as plucky Bologna held Fiorentina to a 1-1 draw. The 23-year-old, who had an unsuccessful 18-month spell in Florence heading to Bologna in January, twice almost doubled the hosts' lead, but French goalkeeper Sebastien Frey denied him.
Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli threw Romania captain Adrian Mutu into the fray in the second half and the former Chelsea forward levelled matters with a stunning volley on 64 minutes. Fiorentina laid siege to the Bologna goal, but Francesco Valiani saved a point for the hosts when he cleared Martin Jorgensen's late shot off the line.