The most interesting part of the first half between A.C. Milan and Catania were the cards accumulated, most notably the yellow cards handed out to Alexander Merkel and Mark van Bommel. Merkel had been going in tough on tackles, making him a candidate to pick up a second yellow, while van Bommel has never been shy about going in on tackles. Toss in Catania's willingness to embellish any possible contact to draw those second yellows and it seemed like Milan was bound to go down to 10 men.
It took all of nine minutes of second half play before Milan was forced to play a man down and appropriately, it went to van Bommel in his Milan debut on minimal contact embellished by Catania. The Dutchman came across Ciro Capuano and Capuano hit the turf, drawing van Bommel's second yellow. As van Bommel marched off the pitch, replays showed that van Bommel may not have even contacted Capuano and if he did it was minimal at best. It was not a foul, let alone a second caution.
Despite going down a man, Milan pushed forward and finally broke the deadlock. Pablo Ledesma took down Zlatan Ibrahimovic 25 yards from goal, drawing the free kick. Ibrahimovic took the free kick and blistered it low on frame, which Mariano Andujar parried away, but Robinho was quickest to the ball and smashed it into the net to give Milan a 1-0 edge with 30 minutes to play.
Down to 10 men, Milan will have a battle to hold onto the lead, even if they have been the more dangerous of the two clubs since the break. The biggest test will be whether they are fit enough in the waning minutes to hold Catania off when their legs are weary after nearly an entire half of playing down a man. If they can, they'll move seven points clear of Napoli atop Serie A, while Catania will remain just three points clear of the drop zone.