European SuperCup: AC Milan 3-1 Sevilla - match report
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Scorers: Renato 15 (S), Inzaghi 56 (M), Jankulovski 62 (M), Kaka 87 (M)
Missed penalty: Kaka 87 (M)
Milan: Dida; Oddo, Nesta, Kaladze, Jankulovski; Gattuso (Emerson 73), Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kakà, Seedorf (Brocchi 89); Inzaghi (Gilardino 88)
Sevilla: Palop; Daniel Alves, Escudè (Luis Fabiano 82), Marti (Kerzhakov 65), Dragutinovic; Jesus Navas, Poulsen, Keita, Duda (Maresca 74); Renato, Kanoutè
Ref: Plautz (Aus)
Milan have won the European Super Cup 3-1 over Sevilla on an emotional night in Monaco, including Marek Jankulovski’s stunning strike.
Both clubs have been here before, but this was a game like no other. Tragedy hung over the 2007 European Super Cup after the death of 22-year-old Sevilla player Antonio Puerta this week from multiple cardiac arrests.
UEFA and Sevilla insisted the tie go ahead “as a tribute to Puerta” and all the team shirts had ‘Puerta’ written on them under the squad numbers. The minute’s absolute silence and black armbands also marked the deceased player.
Sevilla were hoping to win this trophy for the second consecutive year, while Champions League holders Milan aimed for a record fifth triumph. Ronaldo and Paolo Maldini were injured, but Nelson Dida recovered to start and Emerson had his first spot on the bench. Christian Poulsen surprisingly played central defence for the Spaniards.
In the first three minutes a woeful Massimo Oddo clearance was struck wide by Renato, but Milan went even closer moments later.
Pippo Inzaghi sprung the offside trap on Clarence Seedorf’s through ball and cut back past Poulsen, but Kaka pounced and thumped the upright from six yards. The Brazilian – top scorer in last year’s Champions League and this week voted Player of the Tournament – should perhaps have left it to Inzaghi.
Rino Gattuso was first into the book for a late tackle on Jesus Navas, while Oddo’s first touch let him down on an inspired Andrea Pirlo pass over the defence.
It was Sevilla who took the lead against the run of play. Marek Jankulovski gave away a needless corner and from that kick Dida was stuck in no man’s land, allowing Renato to prod it over the line from point-blank range. The entire Sevilla side came together in a circle and pointed at the sky, honouring their fallen teammate.
The Rossoneri defence was struggling with several misplaced passes and Duda just failed to get on the end of a Freddie Kanoute’ assist. There was absolute chaos on 23 minutes when a couple of defensive errors left Kanoute’ clear on goal and cut back for Renato, but Alessandro Nesta performed a decisive goalline clearance to keep the score at 1-0.
Kaka sparked a move that Poulsen intercepted before Gattuso could set up Inzaghi. Incredibly, a corner kick was touched on by Nesta and Seedorf’s diving free header was over from six yards.
Jankulovski wasted a golden opportunity from Massimo Ambrosini’s left-flank low cross, but Kanoute’ was given far too much space to turn and smash a right-foot shot wide.
Poulsen’s sliding tackle saved a certain goal on the stroke of half-time, as Pirlo’s slide-rule pass had sent Ambrosini clear, but the Dane plucked the ball off his foot as he pulled the trigger. Palop rushed out to block another fine Pirlo assist for Inzaghi.
Super Pippo hit the back of the net in first half stoppages from a Seedorf through ball, but it was disallowed for a tight offside decision. In a beautiful gesture during the break, a Milan banner hailing Puerta was passed along to the Sevilla end of the Stade Louis II in Monaco.
Seedorf went for glory rather than passing to Inzaghi and Ambrosini’s long-range effort was deflected out. From the resulting corner, Pirlo’s backheel sent Gattuso down the right and his cross found Inzaghi’s precise free header at the back post.
Sevilla had been under pressure since the restart, but Kanoute’s cross was just too powerful for Duda. Gattuso needed to be patched up after an accidental elbow from Keita left him with a deep cut over his eye. He insisted on carrying on even with a huge bandage covering the top of his face and it later emerged he required four or five stitches.
Milan were in control now and took the lead on the hour mark with a stunning goal from Jankulovski. The left-back clipped a brilliant low volley from Pirlo’s inspired long cross-field ball, at a precise angle into the far bottom corner. It was the Czech’s first ever European club goal.
Sevilla threw on forward Kerzhakov, but only a brilliant Poulsen tackle stopped Kaka running end to end. Gattuso was finally convinced to leave the field due to his head injury and gave Emerson his debut.
Enzo Maresca replaced Duda and took a central role for the final push, but Keita nodded a corner kick over from six yards. Substitute Luis Fabiano also failed to make the most of a promising opportunity.
However, another divine Pirlo crossfield pass found Kaka and Dragutinovic mistimed his tackle to snap at the Brazilian’s ankle. Kaka took the penalty himself and it was saved by Palop, but the ball ricocheted off his face and back on to the Milan man’s head. The goal was scored under the Sevilla end and Kaka celebrated by pointing to the ‘Puerta’ name on the back of his shirt.
Seedorf went off as a substitute and also held up the shirt with only Puerta’s name showing to the entire crowd. Milan had suggested postponing this European Super Cup, but agreed to go ahead only if Sevilla wanted it.
It was nearly 3-2 in stoppages as Kerzhakov nodded the ball across the face of goal where Maresca hit the post from point-blank range.
put your all into one strike of the sword