If AC Milan were looking to build some momentum after yet another slow start to the season, Parma have just ruined it. Marco Parolo's 94th minute free-kick was enough for them to beat the rossoneri 3-2 in an incredible game at the Ennio Tardini, after they'd initially thrown away a two-goal first half lead.
The visitors were applying all of the pressure early on, though it was Parma who found themselves in the lead after just ten minutes. Jonathan Biabiany burst down the right and beat full-back Kévin Constant to the byline, before drilling a cross into the area. With a slice of good fortune it bounced kindly for midfielder Marco Parolo, who, with a smart finish, fired the home side into an advantage.
As was the case before the goal, the rossoneri were still totally in control of possession, with Parma only ever looking sporadically threatening through Antonio Cassano on the counter-attack. However, Milan largely failed to test crociati keeper Antonio Mirante, with midfielder Andrea Poli even skewing his side's best chance of the half wide after a smart one-two with Valter Birsa found him in space on the edge of the box.
They were made to pay for their poor finishing in stoppage time at the end of the first half, with Biabiany causing problems with his pace once again. He escaped the attention of Matías Silvestre down the right and crossed in for Parolo whose short pass found Cassano in the area. Holding off the pressure of Riccardo Montolivo, Fantantonio drilled his shot in at the near post against his former club. It was a long way back for Milan.
In fact, the game should've been totally out of reach within five minutes of the restart, after Biabiany caused trouble with yet another cross. However, Cassano's shot was well saved by Gabriel, whose fingertips kept his side in the match. They had the crossbar to thank a few minutes later, when Walter Gargano's effort cracked back off the woodwork.
Parma looked hugely improved on their more negative first-half performance, playing with a swagger and confidence not seen earlier in the game. Unfortunately that meant they were more liable to be caught out at the back, and Alessandro Matri capitalised off the bench by opening his rossoneri account just past the hour.
Suddenly the atmosphere at the Tardini was twitchy; and rightly so. Within a couple of minutes, Milan were level. Silvestre -- who turned down Parma in favour of Milan in the summer -- took advantage of a corner which cracked back off the crossbar to bundle the ball beyond Mirante, with the game right back at square one.
Milan were once again the dominant force, and came perilously close to taking the lead for the first time through Riccardo Montolivo with just over 20 minutes left. Fortunately for the hosts, the Italian midfielder's low shot from the edge of the area only found the side-netting. The visitors continued to ratched up the pressure as the match drew towards its climax, though -- in no small part thanks to their goalkeeper Mirante -- Parma withstood the offensive.
In fact, the crociati still had a surprise up their sleeves, from a free-kick in the fourth of the five minutes of stoppage time. Midfielder Parolo tried an audacious low shot from distance, which squirmed under the wall and squeezed inside Gabriel's post for 3-2. This time, the gialloblu wouldn't throw their lead away. Phew.
Parma: Mirante; Felipe (Benalouane 76'), Lucarelli, Cassani; Gobbi, Parolo, Marchionni, Gargano, Biabiany; Amauri (Sansone 64'), Cassano (Rosi 73').
Goals: Parolo (11'), Cassano (45+1'), Parolo (90+4')
AC Milan: Gabriel; Constant, Silvestre, Zapata, Abate; Montolivo, De Jong, Poli (Kaká 52'); Birsa; Robinho (Saponara 88'), Balotelli (Matri 52').
Goals: Matri (61'), Silvestre (63')