Milan vs. Sampdoria: Final score 1-0; rossoneri poor once more

Claudio Villa

Milan may have managed to pick up all three points this round, but nothing about their performance suggested Max Allegri's side is set to begin a charge up the table. Sampdoria, too, did nothing inspire belief that they'll survive a relegation battle.

It looked like, once again, Milan would be caught out by their own mistakes. But then, once again, the rossoneri once again found themselves being rescued -- and this time, it wasn't through a last-minute, questionable penalty call. No, this time Milan were lifted by the most unlikeliest of heroes, Valter Birsa.

Milan went into the match against Sampdoria already hurting, sitting in 11th with just one win to their name. To add to their misery, they were without Mario Balotelli, sitting out his three match ban, as well as missing the injured Kaka, Riccardo Montolivo, Stephan El Shaarawy, and others too numerous to mention. Sampdoria, too, were in their own little form of hell, having yet to pick up a win on the season and sitting in the relegation zone.

Both sides looked poor in the first half, but it was the visitors that had the better of the chances. The mighty Milan were threatened when Gianluca Sansone nearly got through on goal, so Cristian Zapata retaliated by making a last ditch tackle, one for which he surely could have seen red. Around the half-hour mark, Andrea Costa got his head on the end of a corner kick, but the ball crashed into the upright. Manolo Gabbiadini tried his luck from distance, but the shot sailed just over the bar. The visitors had to contend with yet another injury, with Urby Emanuelson coming on to replace Sulley Muntari for the second half.

Milan turned it around in the second half, no doubt thanks to a rousing chorus of DAI! DAI! DAI! from Massimiliano Allegri in the locker room. Valter Birsa got on the end of a ball from Robinho and, somewhat unexpectedly, put it past Da Costa. The world was put right on its axis minutes later, when Robinho went one-on-one with the Sampdoria keeper, only to kick it directly into his hands.

And...that was about it. The team that finished third last season, that's currently set to take on Ajax in Champions League play, that's meant to challenge for the scudetto, just barely managed to squeak by playing against a team sitting in the relegation zone. Milan keep doing just enough to scrape by, but they're bound to be caught out against Juventus next weekend.

Meanwhile, Delio Rossi is likely looking for a back exit and a fast car while turning off the ringer on his cell phone.

AC Milan: Abbiati; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Poli (Nocerino 75), De Jong, Muntari (Emanuelson 45); Birsa (Niang 67), Robinho; Matri

Goals: Birsa 46

Sampdoria: Da Costa; De Silvestri, Mustafi, Regini, Costa; Gavazzi, Obiang, Palombo (Krsticic 61), Wszolek (Soriano 52); Sansone, Gabbiadini (Petagna 67)

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