Kaka inspires Milan win
By Richard Scott. Last Updated: December 6, 2005 9:45pm
Milan progressed into the last 16 as Group E winners but they were pushed all the way by a dogged Schalke side who refused to lie down.
Schalke pushed Milan all the way but they held on for a 3-2 victory thanks in part to two goals by Brazil international Kaka.
Kevin Kuranyi had the first chance of the match for Schalke, after eight minutes, but he shot over from about 12 yards as the ball fell to him on the half volley after a good cross by right back Rafinha.
The outstanding Kaka had a good chance in the 19th minute for Milan after confusion in the Schalke box but he failed to react quickly enough, and his toe-poke was smothered by Frank Rost in the Schalke goal.
Andrei Shevchenko had a rare burst forward on 20 minutes and looked to have beaten Rafinha for pace as he entered the penalty but he went to ground as Milan appealed for a penalty.
Schalke continued to look comfortable and Hamit Altintop powered into the area on 27 minutes but the angle was too tight and his right-foot shot went harmlessly across the face of goal. Paolo Maldini was injured in the challenge with Altintop and he was replaced by the Croatia international Dario Simic.
Andrea Pirlo put Milan ahead slightly against the run of play on 42 minutes after a magnificent free-kick from 30 yards out nestled in the top left-hand corner of the net.
Schalke were deservedly level two minutes later, though, after Christian Poulsen popped up at the back post to nod home from a couple of yards after a lovely flighted ball from the Brazilian Lincoln.
Gerald Asamoah came on for Fabian Ernst at half time and he had the first chance of the second half when he was left unmarked at the back post but the angle was too narrow and his shot was pushed wide by Dida in the Milan goal.
Lincoln had another chance on 51 minutes but he hit it straight at the keeper when he may have done better.
Kaka again put Milan ahead against the run of play on 52 minutes with a fine cross-shot after good work by Shevchenko.
The South American forward had the ball in the back of the net again soon afterwards from a blistering left-foot shot but it was disallowed after an infringement by Filippo Inzaghi.
Kaka did claim his second goal two minutes later. Inzaghi crossed for Shevchenko but, as he missed his kick, Kaka followed up to coolly fire home. Milan would have expected to cruise home from this position.
Kuranyi had a golden opportunity to get Schalke back in the game moments later but he miscued from about eight yards. Schalke were given a lifeline on 66 minutes through Lincoln after his shot from the edge of the area took a wicked deflection to wrongfoot Dida.
Schalke continued to throw everything at Milan with Ebbe Sand coming on as Schalke went with three up front but they could not find an equaliser and they will have to make do with a Uefa Cup place.
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|Milan||Team Statistics||FC Schalke 04|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|8||Shots on Target||3|
|4||Shots off Target||7|
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