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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Robinho, Pato and Ibrahimovic take AC Milan closer to the Scudetto

Robinho continues to make his mark on Italian football by scoring a crucial goal in the 58th minute against Catania to give AC Milan the lead minutes after Marc van Bommel received a red card. So far, Robinho has scored 7 goals in Serie A and has formed a crucial leg of a triumvirate Rossoneri attack featuring Alexandre Pato, who has scored 8 goals and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has 13. Much of Robinho's success should be attributed to the power of Ibrahimovic, who draws defenders in his wake in deep positions, thereby freeing up space for Robinho and Pato to demonstrate their speed and clinical finishing ability near the goal mouth. In the match against Catania, Robinho opportunistically dispatched a carom from an Ibrahimovic free kick. After a disappointing season against Manchester City last year and a mediocre World Cup in South Africa, Robinho is close to the best form of his career under coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Rivals Inter Milan came back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 against Palermo thanks to 2 goals by the recent acquisition Pazzini and a penalty from Samuel Eto in the 76th minute. AC Milan are now closing in on the Scudetto but Leonardo, coach of defending champions Inter Milan, retains hopes for the title for the Nerazurri as articulated in a recent interview. Looking ahead to the remainder of the season, the Brazilian stressed of Inter remaining consistent and noted how other teams will invariably drop points as the season progresses:

"Consistency is the most difficult thing in sports. You can lose a game but the important thing is to control the situation after a defeat. Our loss in Udine (against Udinese) is not crucial for the league title. Our aim was to start well after the winter break in order to be in the group of teams that will fight for the scudetto and we are among those sides. In the long run, all the other teams will also lose games.''

Since taking over as coach of Inter Milan, Leonardo can claim 5 victories and 1 loss in what constitutes a dramatic turnaround for a championship team that lost its faith in coach Rafael Benitez in the first half of the season.

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