Bologna Spoil Ronaldinho Debut

Milan 1-2 Bologna Ronaldinho had an absolutely brilliant debut for Milan, but it wasn’t enough as, despite dominating the game from start to finish, the Rossoneri fell to a shock 2-1 defeat to newly promoted Bologna.Expectations were high at San Siro, as Milan hoped to stamp down their authority by kicking off the new season with a win. The Rossoneri handed official debuts to summer signings Ronaldinho, Gianluca Zambrotta and Mathieu Flamini. However, they were without a string of injured players in the form of Alessandro Nesta, Philippe Senderos, Rino Gattuso, Kakà, Tabare Viudez, and Marco Borriello, while Daniele Bonera was suspended. Carlo Ancelotti adopted the Christmas Tree formation with Pippo Inzaghi up-front. Andriy Shevchenko and Alexandre Pato were both on the bench.Bologna had almost a full squad to choose from, with the exception of the injured Luigi Lavecchia. Recent signings Cristian Zenoni, Sergio Volpi and Marco Di Vaio all made their first starts for the newly promoted outfit. Milan started strongly, and Clarence Seedorf had the first attempt with a long shot that was blocked by a Bologna defender. However, there was a dangerous moment down the other end when Christian Amoroso saw a similar effort charged down by Kakha Kaladze. On 12 minutes, Bologna had the first shot on goal of the game, as Martins Adailton hit a left footed snap shot that Abbiati got down low to his right to save. Ronaldinho then made his first meaningful contribution with a toe-poked shot from 20 yards that Francesco Antonioli watched wide. The Brazilian had a string of efforts in succession, firing off target with another long range effort, before heading wide from Seedorf’s left wing cross. Milan seemed to be getting on top, but on 18 minutes Bologna took a shock lead, as new signing Cristian Zenoni combined with Amoroso, before another debutant Di Vaio swept the ball home left-footed past Christian Abbiati. The home side tried to hit back and Andrea Pirlo delivered a delicious lofted through pass for Pippo Inzaghi, who just couldn’t get enough meat on the ball. Ronaldinho chipped the ball up for Massimo Ambrosini on the penalty spot, but the midfielder took his eye of his headed attempt. Dinho was seeing a lot of the ball now, and he strung a ball through to Seedorf, but the Dutchman was denied by a fine Nicola Mingazzini challenge. On 27 minutes Ronaldinho missed a glorious chance to equalise, as Zambrotta picked him out all alone at the back post, but the Brazilian’s header was straight at Antonioli. Zambrotta then went on a fine solo run before smashing the ball over. Ronaldinho was having an outstanding debut, and he put an evil ball across the six yard box for Inzaghi, which the Bologna defence somehow cleared. The Brazilian then lofted a brilliant through ball for Inzaghi, who was clean through and rounded Antonioli, but fired into the side-netting from a narrow angle. Inzaghi missed another fine chance soon after, as Jankulovski crossed from the left, but an unmarked Superpippo headed wide. Milan were completely dominant but just couldn’t find the equaliser, and Zambrotta was the next to try his luck unsuccessfully. On 38 minutes Flamini unleashed a rocket of a shot from 30 yards that was beaten away by Antonioli. Bologna were under constant pressure but they almost caught Milan on the counter attack through the impressive Di Vaio, who broke down the right and flashed a shot wide. Five minutes before the break Milan finally got back on level terms. Ronaldinho was the creator, curling a perfect cross to the back post for Ambrosini to head home. At half time, Ancelotti made one change, bringing on the returning Shevchenko for Jankulovski, thus forcing a change in system with two forwards. Ronaldinho continued where he left off from the first half with another delightful ball to the back post towards Seedorf, who was just inches away from tapping home. There was an almost identical situation a few moments later, only this time Shevchenko couldn’t reach the ball. Down the other end, Volpi struck a tame long range effort well wide of the post. Normal service was soon resumed, and Shevchenko missed a fantastic chance to give Milan the lead, following yet more inspired work by Ronaldinho, but Antonioli came to the rescue for Bologna by saving with his feet. Di Vaio remained Bologna’s most dangerous player, and he curled over from the edge of the area, with Abbiati flapping a little nervously. Midway through the half Ancelotti made his second substitution of the afternoon, introducing Pato for the tiring Inzaghi. Pato immediately got into the action, beating two men, and firing in a dangerous cross that was headed dangerously over his own bar by Moras. Pirlo then ballooned the ball well over from 30 yards as Milan desperately tried to find the second goal. There was controversy on 75 minutes, as Ronaldinho’s shot appeared to strike Terzi’s hand in the box, but the referee waved play on. Whether or not the handball was deliberate is up for debate. Milan were completely dominant, but with just 12 minutes to go, Bologna shocked the San Siro once again as Valiani thundered home a stunning 30 yard shot into the top corner, via the hand of Abbiati, to give the away side a 2-1 lead. The goal really knocked the wind out of Milan’s sails and they created very little for the remainder of the game. Bologna held out comfortably in teh closing stages to record a shock win. The Rossoneri will take encouragement from a brilliant debut by Ronaldinho, which bodes well for the season ahead, but they will be disappointed with losing their seasonal opener. Teams Milan: Abbiati, Zambrotta, Maldini, Kaladze, Jankulovski (Shevchenko 45), Ambrosini (Emerson 85), Pirlo, Flamini, Seedorf, Ronaldinho, Inzaghi (Pato 69) Bologna: Antonioli, Zenoni, Moras, Terzi, Bombardini (Castellini 89), Volpi, Mingazzini (Mudingayi 60), Valiani, Adailton (Marazzina 60), Di Vaio Goals

Di Vaio 18 (B)

Ambrosini 40 (M) Valiani 78 (B)


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