Tullio M. Puglia
A brace from Giampaolo Pazzini sent Milan to a comfortable victory and consigned Bologna to a second consecutive defeat at the San Siro.
AC Milan did enough to beat Bologna, with Giampaolo Pazzini scoring a brace. Bologna offered little throughout the match and although their hopes were lit up when Phillippe Mexes put the ball past his own goalkeeper with 10 minutes remaining, Milan held on comfortably for the points.
The match began slowly with neither side really establishing themselves on the ball. Opportunities were had to come by even when Milan began to take the majority of possession, it took until the 10th minute for Stephen El-Shaarawy to burst into the Bologna penalty area, but he was crowded out by three defenders and the ball went safely out for a goal kick.
The first real chance came four minutes later, El-Shaarawy finding himself in acres of space down the left hand side and cutting back inside the box, his right footed shot saved by Federico Agliardi.
Milan were beginning to control the match in terms of possession however they were struggling in the final third, Bologna's defenders easily controlling the front three of Pazzini, Niang and El-Shaarawy. Niang did get in down the right hand side and his low cross flashed across the face of the goal, the only problem being that nobody was on hand to tap in at the back post.
Giampaolo Pazzini had arguably Milan's best effort of the first half on the half hour mark, Kevin Constant's left wing cross met by the Italian's head, and Agliardi had to be sharp in order to get down and guide it round the post.
The half continued in much the same vein, with Milan seeing most of the ball but being unable to find a way past the staunch Bologna defence, and Alessandro Diamanti could've made Milan pay for their lack of creativity, hitting a dipping 30 yard effort from the right-hand channel which Abbiati had to be alert to save.
The last action of the half came when Mathieu Flamini was guided in down the right hand side, his cross palmed away by Agliardi with Pazzini, El-Shaarawy and Kevin-Prince Boateng all on hand to head in.
The second half began in much the same fashion as the first had ended, with Milan knocking the ball around but being unable to really stretch the Bologna defence. Mbaye Niang's right wing cross nearly found Pazzini, but the forward couldn't stretch himself far enough to put it in.
Pazzini was awarded with the best chance of the match, after Mathieu Flamini threaded Ignazio Abate in down the right hand side, his cutback found Pazzini inside the six yard box but he somehow managed to scoop his shot wide of the post with the goal begging.
Pazzini would make amends after 64 minutes however, beautifully controlling Abate's early cross into the box, outmuscling Mikael Antonsson to turn and his shot looping off the hapless Swede and over Agliardi to put Milan 1-0 up.
Milan looked comfortable with their lead and the only real opportunities Bologna managed to carve out were direct free kicks, Alessandro Diamanti firing well over from the right hand side and Cristian Pasquato firing narrowly over from the other side.
Into the final 10 minutes of the match, Milan extended their lead thanks to a moment of brilliance from Pazzini. He controlled Kevin-Prince Boateng's cross with one touch, but at this point he still had his back to goal and the close attentions of Daniele Portanova. His second touch knocked the ball over Portanova's head an allowed him to turn and his third volleyed the ball past Agliardi to complete a remarkable goal.
Bologna's hopes flickered two minutes later as Cristian Pasquato's header was diverted past Abbiati by Philippe Mexes but Milan were easily able to see out the remaining minutes and hold on to a deserved victory.
Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Constant, Mexes, Zapata; Montolivo, Flamini (Traore 81), Boateng; Niang (Nocerino 77), Pazzini, El-Shaarawy
Bologna: Agliardi; Garics, Cherubin, Portanova, Antonsson; Perez, Pazienza (Pasquato 75), Diamanti, Kone, Riverola (Taider 51); Gilardino (Gabbiadini 62)
Goals: Pazzini 65 (M), Pazzini 82 (M), Mexes (OG) 84 (B)