MILAN - Serie A leaders AC Milan lost 1-0
to AS Roma after striker Marco Borriello burst his former club's
bubble and put his new side back in the title picture at a
freezing San Siro on Saturday.
Borriello, who joined Roma from Milan in August to make room
for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was fortunate to score on 68 minutes
when home defender Ignazio Abate kicked a Jeremy Menez cross
against his ex-team mate and the ball rolled into the goal.
He was later substituted and boos rang out from Milan fans
as he applauded the small cheering Roma contingent, who were
witnessing Milan's first Serie A defeat since October 30.
Milan started brightly with the same urgency and direct play
which has been the hallmark of their good form under
Massimiliano Allegri, in stark contrast to the slow, patient
build-up seen under previous bosses Leonardo and Carlo
Robinho, preferred to substitute Ronaldinho for the ninth
straight Serie A game, shot wide early on after showing off some
trickery before Ibrahimovic, among other Milan chances, missed a
glorious opportunity when one-on-one with goalkeeper Doni.
Former Barcelona and Inter Milan front-man Ibrahimovic has
been the catalyst for Milan's resurgence this term as they bid
for a first scudetto since 2004 but the giant Swede was slightly
off the pace after a busy few months spearheading the side.
He will be glad of a near three-week break now to recharge
his batteries before Serie A resumes on January 6, by which time
Milan may have bought Sampdoria forward Antonio Cassano if
former owners Real Madrid negotiate over a sell-on clause.
Midfielder Andrea Pirlo will also need the recovery time
after limping off with a thigh injury midway through the first
period which led to Milan dropping their intensity slightly
against Claudio Ranieri's solid defence.
Roma threatened little until the goal with Francesco Totti
left on the bench and the little-used Adriano brought in.
"It's a great emotion to return to the San Siro," former
Inter forward Adriano, who has complained about his lack of
match action since arriving from Flamengo in June, told Sky.
"I'm happy but it's been a difficult match."
Milan's defeat meant stuttering champions Inter, who won the
World Club Cup on Saturday but are down in seventh in Serie A,
stay 13 points adrift of the leaders but with two games in hand.
In Serie A's other Saturday clash, Chile's ex-Inter
midfielder Luis Jimenez struck on 17 minutes to give
third-bottom Cesena a 1-0 win over Roberto Donadoni's Cagliari.
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