Friday, 31 August 2007

Milan triumph again in Monaco

AC Milan came from behind to defeat Sevilla 3-1 in Monaco and claim the UEFA Super Cup for a record fifth time on a night which served as a fitting tribute to the memory of Antonio Puerta.

Puerta appeared as a substitute as Sevilla defeated Barcelona 3-0 in the principality last year, and had tonight's game played in his honour following his death on Tuesday. It was to his team-mates' credit that they played with such verve in a first half which saw them open the scoring through Renato, only to be undone by second-half strikes from Filippo Inzaghi, Marek Jankulovski and Kaka as the Rossoneri added this trophy to the Champions League won in May.

It was Sevilla who took the lead against the run of play. Jankulovski gave away a needless corner and from that kick Nelson Dida was stuck in no man’s land, allowing Renato to prod it over the line from point-blank range. The entire Sevilla side came together in a circle and pointed at the sky, honouring their fallen teammate.

Inzaghi, ten minutes into the second half timed a run to the far post to perfection to nod in Gennaro Gattuso's inviting cross from the right. It is not without ruthlessness that Milan have been Europe's premier team for two decades, and they underlined that streak after 62 minutes as Andrea Pirlo flighted a crossfield pass from inside his own half into the opposing box where Jankulovski expertly volleyed it with his left foot across Andres Palop and into the far corner.

Another divine Pirlo crossfield pass found Kaka and Ivica Dragutinovic mistimed his tackle to snap at the Brazilian’s ankle. Kaka took the penalty himself and it was saved by Palop, but the ball ricocheted off his face and back on to the Milan man’s head. The goal was scored under the Sevilla end and Kaka celebrated by pointing to the ‘Puerta’ name on the back of his Milan shirt.

Clarence Seedorf went off as a substitute in the last minute and also held up the shirt with only Puerta’s name showing to the entire crowd.

The Sevilla fans refused to be silenced. "We love you Puerta" rang out from the clock end as its hands ticked towards full time. Their collective grief was perhaps best summed up, though, by a simple banner hung from the railings at the front of the stand: 'Puerta presente'.
[Carlo Ancelotti Reaction]

Source: UEFA / C4 Football Italia

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