Ibra keeps Milan on pace
AC Milan remain unbeaten in the UEFA Champions League this season thanks to a routine win over BATE Borisov at the San Siro tonight.
They matched Barcelona's three-point haul against Plzen to stay level on points with the reigning champions in Group H, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng scoring their goals. As a result, both they and Barça lead the way on seven points, meaning qualification to the knockout stage is close to being assured already, with BATE and Plzen well adrift on a point each.
Milan were rarely in trouble on the night, apart from a game-changing save from Christian Abbiati midway through the first half and, once Ibrahimovic got them going with his third of the season, they did not look back.
The impressive Alberto Aquilani was the first to go close for the Rossoneri, hitting the foot of Aleksandr Gutor's post after Antonio Cassano's lay-off. The pressure continued as Ibrahimovic pulled an Antonio Nocerino cross out of the sky and volleyed over, before Mark van Bommel appealed for a penalty when he appeared to be brought down by Artem Radkov.
Aquilani then worked Gutor after a Taye Taiwo cross, before BATE wasted what would prove to be their best chance. Abbiati played a goal-kick short to Van Bommel who, without looking, attempted to find Alessandro Nesta, but instead set Renan Bressan free, only for Abbiati to make himself big and turn the ball behind.
Having got out of jail, Milan then took the lead after 33 minutes, Ibrahimovic slotting a finish into the bottom corner after the ball came loose when Cassano failed to get a clean contact on an Ignazio Abate cross.
BATE offered little by way of a response before the break, but they had a half-chance to equalise after the restart when Mateja Kezman broke through. However, he was well blocked off by Nesta and the wasteful Bressan lashed the loose ball over.
Abbiati then turned an Alexander Volodko grass-cutter around the post and Milan kicked on, with Ibrahimovic jinking his way to the edge of the box before drilling over. The clinching goal came 20 minutes from time, Boateng taking a touch from 25 yards out and then hammering in via the underside of the bar.