Pazzini scores hat-trick as Milan down Bologna

AFP, Sunday 2 Sep 2012

New AC Milan recruit Giampaolo Pazzini took his stock with the Rossoneri sky high by scoring a hat-trick in a 3-1 win away to Bologna on Saturday

AC Milan
AC Milan forward Giampaolo Pazzini, left, celebrates with his teammates defender Luca Antonini, center, and forward Stephan El Shaarawy after scoring during the Serie A soccer match between Bologna and AC Milan (Photo: AP)


Pazzini was part of the exchange that took AC Milan's coveted striker Antonio Cassano the other way last week -- a transfer which angered many of AC Milan's fans.

But a week after starting his new job with a shock home defeat to Sampdoria, the Italy striker took no time in showing where his loyalties now lie by scoring a first-half penalty then producing a superb second-half brace.

After scoring only five goals in a frustrating last season at Inter, Pazzini could not hide his joy.

"I think this ball will mean a lot to me," he told Sky Sport Italia as he prepared to take the match ball home.

"It was a difficult period for me recently but now I'm really happy. Maybe it's a sign, for me and the people who've stood behind me.

"The match was hard-fought but we came through to win. It can't get any better."

Despite some lively transfer action in midweek Milan started with no less than 10 Italians on the pitch.

New arrivals Bojan Krkic of Spain and Dutchman Nigel De Jong started on the bench while Brazilian defender Roger de Carvalho went stright into Bologna's starting line-up after signing from Genoa.

Bologna started in lively fashion but Milan's enterprise and discipline soon began to tell as they worked steadily towards breaking the deadlock.

German-born Ghanaian Prince Boateng was proving a handful for Bologna's defence and twice won freekicks early on only to see both of his low drives go wide of Federico Agliardi's goal.

Moments later Milan got the break they'd been looking for.

Despite Pazzini delaying his chance to tumble under pressure from defender Nicolo Cherubin as he toiled down the left flank, the foul left the referee no option but to point to the penalty spot.

Pazzini stepped up and made no mistake to score Milan's first goal of the campaign in the 16th minute.

The goal stunned the hosts into action and Alessandro Diamanti coolly intercepted a pass from deep in his own half by Milan defender Mattia de Sciglio only to shoot wide.

The Bologna striker then showed great skill to skip past several Milan players, dodging one tough tackle on his way towards goal but unleashing a shot which lacked power and allowed Abbiati to collect easily.

French midfielder Saphir Taider then wasted a great chance to level when he created time and space in the area with a nice feint, but he shot high and wide.

Bologna's pressing finally paid off when Diamanti earned a penalty after coming down under pressure from Antonio Nocerino on the edge of the box and got back up to drive the ball past Abbiati from the spot.

Milan came dangerously close to going behind after only two minutes of the restart after an exquisite exchange of passes between Robert Acquafresca and on-loan Sevilla midfielder Tiberto Guarente deep on the left.

Despite the tight angle, Guarente really should have done better than shooting wide given the amount of goal space being shown to him by Abbiati.

Pazzini, however, put the match beyond reach with two fine pieces of skill.

A deflected cross from the left flank sent a high ball into the area and when Agliardi fumbled the catch an alert Pazzini sent the ball crashing home before it hit the ground.

For his third, Pazzini cheekily first-timed a backheel past the keeper after a low drive from outside the area.

Earlier, Torino won the battle of the newly promoted sides with a 3-0 win over Serie B champions Pescara.


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