Betfred Sport

Serie A stutters back into life

A lion trying to buy a microwave is just one of the things you won’t see during the Premier League season.

That this is the first image Milan’s 2-2 draw with Lazio conjures up might tell you everything you need to know about a relatively dour match to open this season’s Serie A.

But it doesn’t, the main reason being that it was a man in a lion costume trying to purchase some white goods on a bizarre advert on the giant tv screen.

After weeks of dispute and the threats of strike action an ugly memory (for now) the football was free to do the talking again. Where better to start then at reigning champions Milan, with everyone’s favourite Andy Carroll impersonator, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Except Lazio didn’t read the script. Lining up in a trendy 4-2-3-1 formation, new signings Djibril Cisse (occupying the left wing) and Miroslav Klose combined to stun San Siro with two quick goals as Hernanes tormented Milan’s midfield three.

Klose may well have used his arm to control the ball before sliding home past Christian Abiatti – one angle seemed to condemn the German, while others looked inconclusive.

Then, rather than attack, Milan laboured. Their midfield was shapeless and neurotic, with Kevin-Prince Boateng shuffling around, looking important but indecisive whenever the chance for a telling contribution announced itself.

Cisse then leapt in front of Alessandro Nesta, a World Cup winning centre-back five years ago but tonight the epitome of a sluggish, naïve defence, to make it 0-2 in under half an hour. Milan looked cooked.

Defending a two-goal lead for over an hour in any away game is a hard art to master, but harder still with Giuseppe Biava and Andre Dias at the heart of Lazio’s defence.

Milan strung more than five passes together for the first time and it created a goal, with Ibrahimovic tapping into an empty net as Antonio Cassano dragged back for what can only be called a PlayStation goal.

Three minutes later, Cassano headed home from a Boateng corner and, just like that, although no-one knew it yet, the match died.

For the remaining hour, both sides huffed and puffed, but came nowhere near creating anything. How Milan missed Robinho, who looked like he was in fancy dress as Tinie Tempah for the evening with a ridiculous pair of thick-rimmed glasses, up in the stands watching Boateng butcher the no.10 role.

Story by Nick Turnbull 

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