AC Milan champions of Italy 0-0 draw in Rome seals Scudetto

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AC Milan champions of Italy 0-0 draw in Rome seals Scudetto
May 8, 2011 at 8:15 AM

The Rossoneri win their 18th league title, with two games to spare, after a goalless draw against the Giallorossi at the Stadio Olimpico. Vucinic goes close in the first half, but Allegri's side move up a gear after the restart and almost break the deadlock through Robinho (post) and Boateng

ROME, 7 May 2011 – Now the party can begin for AC Milan. A goalless draw at the Olimpico was enough for them to claim Scudetto number 18, the eighth in the Berlusconi era. A trophy they richly deserved after galloping through this Serie A campaign. Roma did their best to burst the party balloons, especially in the first half, but after an excellent second-half performance and a masterly display of ball possession, the Rossoneri earned a point worth its weight in gold.
Robinho: hit the post. Afp

IBRA VERSUS TOTTI — A party atmosphere was the last thing Vincenzo Montella wanted to be breathing in. Without making any bold pre-match announcements, he assembled a line-up missing De Rossi and Perrotta but without wavering from his tried and trusted formula: Totti as the lone striker with an attacking trio composed of Taddei, Simplicio and Vucinic in support. Massimiliano Allegri restated his own firm beliefs: the 4-3-1-2 that had barged its way to within a point of the title. The usual rearguard, the same midfield as always, with Gattuso now fit again, and Ibrahimovic finally freed from the shackles of his ban to partner Robinho up front. Squad rotation in view of Tuesday's Coppa Italia semi-final return leg? Not on your life. Boateng started in the hole behind the front two - a mixture of brawn and flair. Which, it must be said, didn't put the frighteners on Roma.

SUPER ABBIATI — Indeed it was the Giallorossi who came out all guns blazing, with AC Milan trying to get a grip on the game by maintaining possession. With the exception of a 10th-minute chance, when a neatly worked move by Seedorf and Boateng ended with the Ghanaian firing over, it was clear that the champions-elect had not completely shaken off the weight of responsibility before kick-off. Roma responded by producing some very effective football: just moments passed and they went inches away from taking the lead, Taddei fizzing an angled effort just wide from out on the right. Roma's drumbeat continued unabated and AC Milan were finding it hard to contain them - especially down Roma's right-hand flank. An example of which came on 14 minutes, when Cassetti picked out Vucinic with an inch-perfect cross. The Montenegro striker chested the ball down inside the six-yard box and struck the ball cleanly, but Abbiati got his body in the way to make the block. Missing such an incredible chance seemed to further up the revs in Roma's engine, despite Montella losing Brighi in the 17th minute due to a knee problem. Rosi replaced him and Roma switched to a 4-4-1-1, with Taddei slotting into the left.

VUCINIC DENIED AGAIN — It remained one-way football: midway through the half a prodigious intervention from Nesta at the far post pulled the ball out of Vucinic's barrel just as he was set to pull the trigger. AC Milan regrouped and managed to stem the flow of Roma's attacks by tightening up the defensive side of their game, but danger was always lurking with Roma's ability to find space - take Abbiati's near-post save from Rosi in the 37th minute. The Rossoneri were barely in the game, apart from a momentary burst of inspiration from Ibrahimovic, who lost out to Juan. After a brief spat between Totti and Van Bommel, the first half came to a close with Abbiati racing off his line to beat Simplicio to ball. The keeper thus signing his name once more along the dotted 0-0 scoreline.

Boateng's chance: just wide. Ansa

GREAT CHANCES — Allegri realised his team was in difficulty and replaced Gattuso with Ambrosini during the interval. And they got off to a boisterous start: one minute in, Robinho curled an effort onto the inside of the post; shortly afterwards Ambrosini saw his close-range shot on the turn deflected behind for a corner. A pattern was quickly established: when the visitors upped the tempo, Roma struggled; as soon as the Rossoneri eased off a little, Roma took advantage. Nonetheless, the AC Milan of the second half was a very different beast, as they began chasing the opposition with greater conviction. They had a penalty appeal turned down following contact between Doni and Ibra. Meanwhile, Montella removed Vucinic and brought on Borriello, but by this point the match had well and truly taken off and everyone was getting in on the act: Abate nicked the ball away from Taddei's feet as the Roma midfielder was about to strike; Van Bommel got himself into a mess before making amends in a tight spot inside the box; Boateng missed what looked like a certain goal on the hour mark when, released inside the box by Ambrosini, he flicked the ball over the onrushing Doni only to see the ball bounce agonisingly wide; three minutes later Doni palmed away a vicious free kick from Ibrahimovic.

BALL POSSESSION — The intensity was building and AC Milan gobbled up the minutes with their shrewd ball possession, unexpectedly striking every now and then. Roma regained some of their territory occasionally, but mainly due to lapses in concentration by the Rossoneri. Allegri shook up his forward line with Pato coming on in place of Robinho. The substitute only ignited a few small sparks, but they were useful for drawing Giallorossi players towards him. The tension on the pitch rose as the game wore on, especially when Roma pushed down on the accelerator - Totti tirelessly pounding the pedal as if to stamp out the idea of Milan's party. But you can't quash that sort of hunger, or placate such long-awaited desire to rule again. When Morganti blew the final whistle after five long minutes of stoppage time, their joy exploded: unrestrained and unrelenting. AC Milan are the champions of Italy.


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