AC Milan Vs Udinese: A 4-4 Draw Sees The Milan Defense Split Apart Again And Again

Although the final scoreline in Udinese's visit to AC Milan suggest equality, it was the visitors who were clearly the better side for much of the match. Udinese opened the scoring in the 35th minute with a goal by Antonio Di Natale, who, left unguarded in front of the goal, capitalized when Gökhan Inler's shot hit the post. It wouldn't be the last time AC Milan's defense would fail.

Milan must have felt confident going into the break, however, with Alexandre Pato's equalizer making things all even at the half. His tap-dancing celebration with Robinho certainly lightened the mood at the San Siro.

Yet during the half-time cappuccino, Massimiliano Allegri forgot to remind his team that defense is a crucial element of the game of football, with both Daniele Bonera and Luca Antonini having a tough time remembering what it is, exactly, they were meant to be doing. Alexis Sánchez and Mauricio Isla made a cool Chilean combination, with Isla's cross allowing Sánchez to easily beat Bonera and put Udinese ahead.

Not even fifteen minutes later, Bonera was beaten yet again, this time with Di Natale's second of the match. An error from Clarence Seedorf gifted Di Natale with the ball in midfield, and the striker was able to simply go around Bonera to put the ball into the net for Udinese's third. By this point, Bonera was probably dreaming of warm milk and a blanket, a place far, far away from accusatory eyes.

Then came the Milan pressure. Again and again the home side packed the Udinese box, and just when it seemed nothing would come of it, a ball broke through, sailing past keeper Samir Handanovič and into the net. Unfortunately for Udinese defender Mehdi Benatia, the beautiful shot had come off his foot.

Udinese, shaken and exhausted from the rigors of defending, barely had time to catch their breath and regroup before Pato bagged his second, with the visitors failing to learn from their earlier mistakes and leaving him unmarked in the box. Milan had found their equalizer, but weren't content with just the point--they were convinced they deserved all three.

Instead it was Udinese who found the fourth goal, once again dismantling Daniele Bonera in the process. Sánchez's cross found Germán Denis, who had no trouble beating Bonera to give Udinese the lead--albeit briefly. The visitors were too complacent after regaining the lead, and made the foolish mistake of allowing Zlatan Ibrahimović to drift too close to the goal. A pretty back and forth between Ibrahimović and Antonio Cassano ended with the Swede nodding the ball into the net.

So Milan scraped a 4-4 draw with a last minute equalizer, but they certainly did not show that they are a team that will go unchallenged at the top of the table. Goals were only found after packing the field with Pato, Ibrahimović and Cassano, a strategy that won't work for all matches. While games stuffed with goals may be more fun to watch, Milan will need to re-evaluate their defense should they expect to be free and clear for the scudetto. Leaving Daniele Bonera back there by himself does not make a championship team.

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