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Italian Serie A

Angelo Massimino 1st December 2013 - Kick off 11:30 Ref: N Rizzoli

Catania Catania vs AC Milan AC Milan

Catania 1

L Castro (13)
P Tachtsidis (S/O 64)

ft

AC Milan 3

R Montolivo (19)
M Balotelli (63)
Kaka (81)

Balotelli helps Milan to victory

Last Updated: 01/12/13 2:38pm

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Mario Balotelli drills the ball home for AC Milan

Mario Balotelli drills the ball home for AC Milan

Mario Balotelli helped AC Milan to a long-awaited Serie A victory as they came from behind at Catania on Sunday.

The striker put Milan ahead with a smart finish in the 63rd minute after Riccardo Montolivo had cancelled out Lucas Castro's deflected opener.

A minute after his goal Balotelli was brought down to earn Panagiotis Tachtsidis a straight red card, and Kaka wrapped up a 3-1 win with a fine strike on the counter-attack.

The victory was Milan's second in a matter of days following their 3-0 Champions League win at Celtic, which had ended a seven-match winless run, and will help to further ease the pressure on coach Massimiliano Allegri.

The visitors got off to a less than ideal start, though, as Cristiano Biraghi's cross found Castro, whose close-range shot hit Daniele Bonera and looped into the net.

Milan looked to respond and Antonio Nocerino volleyed just wide of the left post from 30 yards, while at the other end Castro shot narrowly over.

Pablo Barrientos also fired over as Milan lived dangerously, but the visitors levelled after 20 minutes.

Kaka played Urby Emanuelson down the right and the Dutchman crossed for Montolivo to tap home at the far post.

Montolivo and Kaka combined 10 minutes later, the Italian's fine pass picking out the Brazilian, who shot high.

The hosts finished the half strongly, though, with Tachtsidis bringing a save out of Gabriel, who also kept out a Fabian Monzon effort.

Milan began to turn the screw in the second half, the lively Balotelli unable to turn Kaka's weak shot over the line before heading a Montolivo cross just wide.

The controversial striker would not be denied, though, and fired home a low shot into the right corner to put his side in front.

Things quickly went from bad to worse for Catania was Tachtsidis saw red for a bad foul on Balotelli.

The 10 men did not lie down, with Jaroslav Plasil firing over before just failing to get on the end of a Biraghi cross.

Balotelli made way for the returning Stephan El Shaarawy, back from three months out with a foot injury, before Milan got their third in the 81st minute.

Kaka raced into the area from the right and fired a shot into the far top corner to seal the victory.

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Matches

Table

Italian Serie A

Italian Serie A
Pos Team P Pts
1 Juventus 20 49
2 Roma 20 42
3 Napoli 20 36
4 Lazio 20 34
5 Sampdoria 20 34
6 Fiorentina 20 31
7 Genoa 20 28
8 Palermo 20 27
9 Udinese 20 27
10 Inter Milan 20 26
11 AC Milan 20 26
12 Sassuolo 20 25
13 Torino 20 25
14 Verona 20 24
15 Atalanta 20 20
16 Cagliari 20 19
17 Empoli 20 19
18 Chievo 20 18
19 Cesena 20 12
20 Parma 20 10