Straight from the dark heart of Italy
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RESULTS, Tue Nov 3: AC Milan 1-1 Real Madrid, Apoel Nicosia 0-1 FC Porto, Atletico Madrid 2-2 Chelsea, Bayern Munich 0-2 Bordeaux, Besiktas 0-3 Wolfsburg, Maccabi Haifa 0-1 Juventus, Manchester United 3-3 CSKA Moscow, Marseille 6 (six) -1 FC Zurich
We all thought that Ricky Kaka’s re-acquaintance with AC Milan had arrived too soon, and that the club would come off worse than the player.
As it turned out, the Brazilian is too much of a nice guy to run his old side through, and he must be glad that he doesn't have to face his former team-mates for the foreseeable future.
Or to deal with genuine feelings of warmth from the San Siro faithful.
Massimo Ambrosini was given the job of looking after the old boy and he made sure that any friendship was left firmly off the pitch.
The evening was all too much for Kaka, who hardly got into his stride.
When he did, Ambro was all over him like a rash. Ditto Andrea Pirlo and, of all people, Clarence Seedorf.
Leonardo’s game-plan was to stop his former pupil and thus to stop Real Madrid, which turned out to be the case.
Unfortunately, another Brazilian failed to take up the mantle of star turn either, and apart from the sweetly-taken penalty and a couple of backheels and flicks, Ronaldinho hugged the touchline – where Sergio Ramos did an Ambrosini on him.
A first half of raw intensity brought a goal apiece plus Pato’s disallowed effort for... well, answers on a postcard please.
It couldn't be sustained after the break as the evening's adrenaline soon ran out - unlike in the dramatic encounter at the Bernabeu.
Neither side were willing to risk throwing away a valuable point.
And on the face of it, why should the Rossoneri undo all the good work they have put in to get them back to some semblance of a team capable of competing for honours?
A home win against Marseille will see Milan through to the last 16 – and that would do very nicely with one game to go.
Juventus also eased any nerves they may have had that their season was about to be derailed before December.
The Bianconeri did enough to ease past Maccabi Haifa, but had Gigi Buffon’s lightning reflexes to thank, including an incredible hand-behind-the-head swat when prostrate on the ground.
Ciro Ferrara’s side know a victory at already-qualified Bordeaux will ensure Juve also go through, although it may still come down to the final home game against Bayern Munich.
As long as Inter don't catch a chill in Kyiv this evening and Fiorentina don’t slip up against Debrecen, Italy could be set fair for four in the knockouts – which would be a result in itself.
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The last two rounds of the CL has been pretty good for Italian teams with 20 out of a possible 24 points won.
Having watched both Milan clubs I think they got the results they deserved. Milan are not a great team by any means but have a good chance of going through now.As you said Ambrosini was in fine form. Inter got the win,and rightly so. They were poor in the first half but dominated the second. However I thought they were doomed after Balotelli and Eto'o missed easy chances. A special mention should go to Lucio whose attitude was outstanding. He grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and drove Inter forward.
Juve have a tough final two games but should go through too. Fiorentina are doing great,much better than I expected but I think if the fail to beat Lyon the could collapse in the last game at a packed Anfield and go out,even with 10 points. So I think they must beat Lyon.
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