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Assured Milan breeze past BATE

AC Milan 2-0 FC BATE Borisov
Powerful efforts from Zlatan Ibrahimović and Kevin-Prince Boateng moved the Italian side into a strong position in Group H.

Assured Milan breeze past BATE
Assured Milan breeze past BATE ©UEFA.com

AC Milan kept pace with FC Barcelona at the top of UEFA Champions League Group H following a routine second victory of the campaign against FC BATE Borisov.

Though the hosts were lucky not to go behind on 32 minutes when Christian Abbiati made a wonderful save from Renan Bressan, Massimiliano Allegri's side never looked back after taking the lead through Zlatan Ibrahimović moments later. Kevin-Prince Boateng crowned a dynamic performance with a ferocious second-half strike to end BATE's challenge.

The hosts started strongly with Alberto Aquilani prominent early on. The 27-year-old sent an early warning shot over the bar after just four minutes and on 12 minutes came even closer, a first-time exchange between Boateng and Antonio Cassano creating a shooting chance which the former AS Roma and Juventus midfielder fired against the right post.

A crossfield pass – a regular ploy throughout – from left to right by Cassano almost paid off when Ibrahimović volleyed over. The visitors were struggling to cope with the Rossoneri's constant pressing and, but for long shots by Bressan and Dmitri Likhtarovich, barely extricated themselves from their own half. Aquilani tried his luck again after a sprightly run by Taye Taiwo; Aleksandr Gutor was alive to the shot.

The visiting goalkeeper was bested at the other end, however, by a brilliant save from Abbiati after Mark van Bommel's misplaced pass. Receiving the ball from his goalkeeper, the Dutchman's square ball was intercepted by Bressan, who should have scored but was second-guessed by the shaven-headed 34-year-old.

The miss proved costly as within a minute BATE fell behind. Ignazio Abate raced down the right and, though his low centre was cut out by Artyom Radkov, Ibrahimović fired in the loose ball for his second goal in as many UEFA Champions League appearances. BATE needed a more forthright approach and that duly arrived straight after the restart when Alessandro Nesta was forced to make a saving tackle on Mateja Kežman. The rebound fell kindly for Bressan, but the Brazilian fluffed his chance.

Moments later Milan were caught out again as Maksim Bordachev powered through to force another save from Abbiati. The Belarusian champions' new-found sense of adventure inevitably left them more exposed and Ibrahimović drove over before Robinho raced on to Boateng's through ball and curled a shot wide.

The second goal did soon arrive in spectacular style, Boateng bringing down a searching diagonal pass from Aquilani before crashing an unstoppable drive in off the underside of the bar. The Rossoneri move on to seven points, level with Barcelona and six ahead of BATE.