Serie A: Mario Balotelli's stunning strike earns AC Milan victory over Bologna
Last Updated: 15/02/14 8:55am
Mario Balotelli: Congratulated on his stunning winner for AC Milan
Mario Balotelli stuck four minutes from the end as AC Milan scraped a 1-0 win over Bologna in Serie A on Friday night.
The Rossoneri were looking to bounce back from last weekend's 3-1 defeat at Napoli, their first league loss under new coach Clarence Seedorf, and only just avoided another frustrating outing as Bologna's battling rearguard finally gave way in the closing stages.
The win will come as a boost to a Milan side preparing for a tough encounter with Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, which gets under way with the first leg at the San Siro on Tuesday.
The frustration both in the stands and in the Milan ranks was all too evident as the hosts laboured to break down their relegation-threatened visitors, but the breakthrough when it came was well worth waiting for as Balotelli pulled out a stunning shot from distance.
Collecting the ball in the right channel, the Italy international took a touch before sending a thunderous strike into the top-left corner from 35 yards, the ball moving wickedly in the air and leaving Bologna goalkeeper Gianluca Curci helpless.
Balotelli's 10th league goal of the season lit up an otherwise ordinary encounter, with Milan doing most of the pressing but to little avail.
Riccardo Montolivo went close in the first half with an effort straight at Curci, while Montolivo also saw a long-range effort parried by the goalkeeper, with Balotelli fluffing the rebound chance.
Milan's failure to convert possession into clear chances almost bit them in the second half when Jonathan Cristaldo sent a volley just wide before Christian Abbiati denied Lazaros Christodoulopoulos' fine strike from the edge of the box.
Italian Serie A