Balotelli helps Milan to victory
Mario Balotelli helped AC Milan to a long-awaited Serie A victory as they came from behind to win 3-1 at Catania.
Last Updated: 01/12/13 2:38pm
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.