Pirlo wonder goal sends Milan top
A glorious goal from Andrea Pirlo earned AC Milan a 1-0 victory at Parma that took them to the top of Serie A, at least until tomorrow. The Italy midfielder let rip with a stunning long-range effort, which would have deserved to win any game, in the 25th minute.
Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri fielded Robinho, Ronaldinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his starting XI for the first time this season. With such an array of attacking talent on the field, it was hardly a surprise that Parma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante had such a busy night.
Milan started as they meant to go on, with Ibrahimovic flashing a shot across the face of goal from a tight angle in the second minute.
Parma's one and only chance of a one-sided first half came in the 12th minute, when Angelo's low cross was inviting for Hernan Crespo, but he tried to head the ball rather than volley it and fell to the ground claiming he had been shoved in the back by Alessandro Nesta. Ibrahimovic had two more chances as I Rossoneri attacked incessantly, but Mirante denied him both times.
But there was nothing the Parma goalkeeper could do about the goal which decided the match in the 25th minute, as Pirlo's extraordinary 35-yard shot flew into the top left-hand corner of the net. The 31-year-old has scored many a spectacular free-kick in his career, but rarely has he struck a ball so sweetly.
While Pirlo managed to find the net from 35 yards, Ibrahimovic could not do so from close range. He was denied repeatedly by Mirante, who also thwarted Ronaldinho in the 63rd minute by tipping his 20-yard effort over the crossbar.
The home side laid siege to Christian Abbiati's goal as they searched for an equaliser, but the best chance of the second half fell to Ronaldinho, who shot wide with just Mirante to beat.
It mattered not. Allegri's team held on to go one point clear of second-placed Inter Milan, who host Juventus tomorrow.