My Soccer World

Football: Last Gasp Ronaldinho Saves Milan’s Blushes

Posted on: November 7, 2008

MILAN, Italy : Former twice world player of the year Ronaldinho came off the bench to score an injury-time winner as AC Milan beat Sporting Braga 1-0 at the San Siro on Thursday.

The Brazilian struck three minutes into time added on to deal a cruel blow to the Portuguese visitors who had enjoyed the better chances throughout the evening.

But Ronaldinho’s goal showed the quality that Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was so keen to secure in the off-season as he let fly from just over 20 yards, finding the top corner despite a host of bodies blocking his target.

Ancelotti had rung the changes for this match, as he has done with every UEFA Cup match.

The likes of Ronaldinho as well as Kaka, Marco Borriello and Clarence Seedorf made way so Andrei Shevchenko and Filippo Inzaghi could make rare starts with Pato completing a three-pronged attack.

Brazilian Nelson Dida came in for Christian Abbiati in goal and on-loan Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos took his Milan bow following injury.

Milan started brightly and Inzaghi flicked a header just past the far post from a Marek Jankulovski cross from the left after just four minutes.

But Braga showed they would be no push-overs as two minutes later Colombian forward Wason Renteria turned Senderos in the box before finishing weakly into the side-netting with the whole goal to aim at.

The visitors were actually enjoying the best of the chances and Cameroon forward Albert Ze Meyong escaped down the right on 14 minutes before crossing for Renteria, who could not muster any power on his shot.

Just before the half hour mark, Renteria set up Cesar Peixoto, who beat his man with his first touch but was then twarted from close range by Dida.

Just after the hour mark Milan escaped what should have been a clear penalty as Brazilian midfielder Emerson tripped Paulo Cesar in the box.

Ancelotti had seen enough and brought on Ronaldinho for the ineffective Pato and Seedorf for bit-part player Emerson.

The changes did not at first have the desired effect, though, and Braga still came closest to breaking the deadlock.

Renteria should have covered himself in glory in the last 10 minutes but from inside the six yard box he failed to make contact with Brazilian substitute Matheus’s cushioned header.

But then Ronaldinho showed his class with virtually the last kick of the match.

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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