AC Milan thrills Montreal crowd, downs Impact
Pato, Filippo Inzaghi, Clarence Seedorf and Ronaldinho scored as Italian powerhouse AC Milan beat the Montreal Impact 4-1 Wednesday in front of 47,861 chanting and thoroughly entertained fans at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
Fans were treated to a soccer display they are not likely to see again any time soon, as the star-studded AC Milan lineup put on a show in its last game of the 2009-10 season despite missing seven players preparing for the World Cup.
David Testo scored the lone goal for the Impact, while Matt Jordan made several huge stops to make sure the game did not get out of hand in the first half.
Of the four superstar goal-scorers for Milan, the crowd was most eager to see Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, and he did not disappoint.
He got a rise out of the crowd the first time he touched the ball in the sixth minute, even though he was just making a simple pass near midfield.
He dazzled later in the match, making the key play to set up Milan's first two goals, drawing a penalty shot to score the fourth goal and pulling out his trademark series of step-overs on Impact defender Simon Gatti before setting up Seedorf for a chance on goal in the 34th minute.
Though a large majority of the crowd was there to see Milan, the Impact's fans — led by the die-hard fan club called The Ultras — continued chanting and supporting the over-matched home side throughout the game.
This was Milan's third and final game in a North American tour of international friendlies that also took the club to Chicago and Washington D.C., and it was their second win of the trip after a 3-2 loss to DC United and a 1-0 win over the Fire in Chicago.
The Impact escaped the first half with only a 2-1 deficit, and was lucky to do so as Milan had a clear edge in both scoring chances and offensive time.
Montreal actually started the game controlling the play, but Milan's far superior talent and skill was just waiting to shine through, and when Rocco Placentino collided with teammate Philippe Billy near the sideline in the Montreal zone it didn't take long for the Italian club to capitalize.
Ronaldinho grabbed the loose ball that came out of the collision and attacked the Montreal box, feeding Seedorf who found Pato all alone on the right side. He easily put a shot inside the far post in the 12th minute to put Milan up 1-0.
But Montreal struck right back, working the ball patiently around the Milan box before Testo beat defender Cristian Brocchi and fired a shot from about 25 yards out that beat keeper Roberto Colombo to his left.
The goal appeared to wake up Milan as the play the rest of the first half was almost exclusively in the Montreal end.
Ronaldinho made two plays in the 25th minute that got a rise out of the crowd, the second resulting in Milan's go-ahead goal.
He first sent Inzaghi in alone on goal, but Jordan made a nice save on his sharp-angle shot.
The rebound bounced back to Ronaldinho, who made a brilliant no-look pass through three Impact defenders to Seedorf near the Montreal goal-line. His shot bounced off Jordan and over him to Inzaghi waiting on the other side, who made a nifty play to kick the ball backwards to himself before putting it in the empty net.
Seedorf made it 3-1 early in the second half when he fed Pato in the penalty area, and as he was turning to shoot Seedorf came in and took the shot instead, scoring in the 58th minute. He left the match four minutes later to warm applause from the crowd.
Ronaldinho finally gave the fans what they wanted to see in the 81st minute when he danced his way through three Montreal defenders in the box, forcing the last one, Adam Braz, to haul him down.
Ronaldinho made no mistake on the penalty and went to the goal line to do a little dance for the fans after the goal with his name being chanted around Olympic Stadium.
As the match came to a close the Impact players went to see their opponents for handshakes and to get some photos taken to document their brush with soccer royalty. And the Milan players gave the enthusiastic fans a round of applause of their own.