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Parma Sink AC Milan Deeper, Juventus Extend Their Unbeaten Streak To 20 Games – Serie A Wrap

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If anyone had told any football fan familiar with AC Milan that they would be entering a game with Parma in 2014 as the underdogs, many would’ve laughed.

However, heading into the match at the San Siro, the Rossoneri were not only deemed as a longshot to win, but they were behind the Crociati by eight points. The latter are fighting for a spot in the Europa League and could very well do so, while the former may crawl in if they’re lucky.

Antonio Cassano faced his former club, a team he claims he “doesn’t care [about], because [he’s] an Interista”. Clearly Fantonio isn’t bothered by Milan’s troubles these days, and nothing would make him happier than to stick it to the Diavolo in their worst run of form in the Silvio Berlusconi era.

Parma coach Roberto Donadoni, a former Milan midfielder in his playing career, was also linked with the manager job back in 2012, but he hadn’t yet completed his first full season with the Gialloblu, so there wasn’t a whole lot behind the stories.

Many fancied the Ducali to walk out of the San Siro with a win, but if there was ever a time to end their 15 match unbeaten run, it was on Sunday. They were without defensive stalwart Gabriel Paletta, who’s been very impressive this season.

In fact, his brilliant performances led to Cesare Prandelli giving the Argentinean-born Italian his Azzurri debut against Spain in a friendly earlier this month, he was named man of the match in a 1-0 loss.

The game sprung into life in the fifth minute when Abbiati was deservedly sent off for a reckless challenge on Ezequiel Schelotto inside the box. Cassano stepped up to stroke the subsequent penalty past substitute goalkeeper Marco Amelia.

From that point on, it was always going to be an uphill task for Milan. However, 10 minutes later, Mario Balotelli could have levelled the match following a flick on from Kaka, but he could only guide his effort onto the post.

Unsurprisingly it was the visitors who dominated the game as the 10-man Rossoneri struggled to break out of their own half; only a strong block from Daniele Bonera prevented Jonathan Biabiany from doubling the lead.

After the break Ezequiel Schelotto continued to shine as he was a constant menace for Urby Emanuelson, fortunately for Milan each chance continued to be wasted. Afriyie Acquah would make up for it just a moment later as he provided a cross to the unmarked Cassano in the box and he was able to drive it low past Amelia to finally double Parma’s advantage.

The reaction from the home side was immediate and just five minutes later the recently introduced Adil Rami met a Kaka corner and firmly headed past Antonio Mirante to give the Rossoneri hope.

On seventy five minutes Riccardo Montolivo burst into the Parma box and was brought down by Joel Obi to earn the Rossoneri a chance to level affairs and Mario Balotelli, jeered by supporters all afternoon, duly obliged in his laid back manner to stroke the penalty calmly into the net. That still wasn’t enough to get the curva to celebrate, as they stood in silence as the Italian international walked back to half.

The Rossoneri would not be level for long as once again Schelotto found space to put in a low ball into the box and Amauri flicked the ball through the legs of Amelia from close range to restore Parma’s lead within two minutes of the scores being level.

The man responsible for essentially ending Milan’s Scudetto hopes during the 2011/12 season when the Brazilian was with Fiorentina and scored against them, once again shattered the hearts of the Diavolo support.

The instant response from Parma clearly deflated the Rossoneri and with the last touch of the game Biabiany stooped to head a fourth for the visitors and extend Parma’s unbeaten run to an incredible 16 games while Milan dropped their fifth game in their last six in all competitions.

Manager Clarence Seedorf got the vote of approval from Berlusconi on Monday, while also adding that “This Milan side have been poorly built”. Without fresh investment, that trend will continue.

Watch the highlights here:

Other Talking Points:

  • Roma nearly blew a two goal lead twice in their game against Udinese, but managed a 3-2 victory in the end. Francesco Totti got on the scoresheet, as did Mattia Destro, who’s continuing his fine form.
  • Napoli kept within three points of second place, they narrowly defeated Torino 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico thanks to a late Gonzalo Higuain strike. Toro manager Giampiero Ventura benched Ciro Immobile and Alessio Cerci as he tries to send a message to them that they’re not indispensable.
  • Juventus increased their undefeated streak to 20 games following a 1-0 win over Genoa at the Luigi Ferraris. Andrea Pirlo’s beautifully struck free kick late in the match was the difference.
  • Inter are quietly going about their business as they confidently downed Hellas Verona 2-0. Jonathan assisted the first goal and scored one of his own. After the game, he dropped a bombshell, saying that “If [Cesare] Prandelli called me, I would go to the World Cup.”
  • Mario Gomez scored once more on the weekend, guiding Fiorentina to a 3-1 win over Chievo. The Viola are 10 points adrift of the third and final Champions League spot, but had they not suffered so many injuries, they could be in the race.
  • Sassuolo had to come from behind at home to emerge as 3-1 victors over Catania in a relegation six-pointer. The Rossazzurri are back at the bottom of the table, four points away from safety, while the Neroverdi lie 19th, three back of 17th.

Other scores: Atalanta 3-0 Sampdoria; Cagliari 0-2 Lazio; Livorno 2-1 Bologna