Milan see off Parma
AC Milan cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win at Parma tonight to guarantee at least a four point lead at the end of the day and putting pressure on the chasing Juventus who sit seven points behind. A penalty from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Urby Emanuelson's stunning solo effort secured a win for the rossoneri that never looked in doubt.
With ten games left in the Serie A season, Milan appear to have hit their stride at just the right time. This result was earned despite a host of important first team players such as Kevin-Prince Boateng, Mark van Bommel, Robinho, Pato, Philippe Mexes and Alessandro Nesta being ruled out.
Parma created the first clear chance as Jaime Valdes beat Sulley Muntari and Daniele Bonera on the edge of the box before curling his shot just past the far post. But Ibrahimovic headed a chipped ball into the box back to Emanuelson whose goalwards shot hit Cristian Zaccardo's arm and the referee pointed to the spot. Ibrahimovic sent Antonio Mirante the wrong way and the vistors had a 17th-minute lead.
It could have been worse for Parma as Mirante failed to hold Ibrahimovic's stinging free-kick but Emanuelson volleyed the bouncing ball high over the bar. Parma did have their moments and a Gabriel Palletta header deflected off Thiago Silva before hitting the bar with Christian Abbiati well beaten.
Ibrahimovic should have had a second when a ricochet sent him clean through but he took a heavy touch allowing Mirante to charge out and clear the danger. In the second period Massimo Ambrosini clipped the ball into Ibrahimovic who turned on the edge of the six-yard box and fired in from a tight angle. But Mirante saved at his near post, although Antonio Nocerino was standing all on his own and screaming for a square pass.
Rossoneri seal victory
Milan doubled their lead on 55 minutes when Emanuelson beat two players and then ran through before rounding Mirante and slotting home. But the goal also owed a lot to Ibrahimovic's vision in stepping over the ball as it came towards him with Emanuelson on the charge because he was in an offside position.
Those two were a constant thorn in the Parma defence's side and Ibrahimovic set up his Dutch team-mate only for Emanuelson to fire wide when well-placed. Abbiati kept a clean sheet with a diving save to his right late on after Gianluca Musacci's deflected shot momentarily wrong-footed him.
Such was Milan's comfort that coach Massimiliano Allegri even afforded Gennaro Gattuso a return to first team action for the first time since early September due to an eye problem. But deep into injury time Sergio Floccari beat Abbiati with a shudding effort only to see the ball rebound off the bar.