AC Milan vs. Catania: Final score 1-0; Montolivo's long range strike keeps Milan's Europa League dream alive

Marco Luzzani

Milan won against the worst team in the league, but it was hardly impressive.

AC Milan won its fourth game in a row, keeping their hopes of reaching a Europa League spot alive, but the win is probably the only thing that will be remembered from this game. Well, that and Riccardo Montolivo's 30-meter goal. Catania, meanwhile suffered their sixth consecutive defeat. The elefanti haven't had a taste of win in almost exactly two months, and unless Mauricio Pellegrino is a magician, Massimino stadium will be host to Serie B football next season.

Catania started more brightly, pressing AC Milan's midfielders and not letting them create anything. The visitors managed to threaten Abbiati's goal couple of time, mostly through Gonzalo Bergessio and Pablo Barrientos, taking advantage of the shaky defense, that left a lot of space for quick breaks. That lasted for about 15 minutes, and then the rossoneri managed to gain control over the game. Catania's bright, aggressive start soon turned into a festival of fouls. Adel Taarabt and Mario Balotelli gained more and more confidence as the game progressed and all Catania's defender's could do is foul them. Or let the ball get to the uninspired Kaka.

It was the 23rd minute when Montolivo scored a spectacular goal to give Milan the lead. Balotelli won the ball on the left flank, avoided Fabian Monzon's tackle and passed to Montolivo. AC Milan's captain took a powerful, curling shot that for a second seemed destined to go wide, but instead sailed into the right corner of Marioano Andujar's goal.

Milan had the game under control after that, but didn't look too interested in trying to put the match beyond doubt. Catania were having a decent game until the goal, but after that, they reverted back to the toothless team they were in almost every away game this season.

The only things worth mentioning from the second half were Philippe Mexes acrobatic scissor kick after that flew just over the bar and Francesco Lodi's long range free kick, saved by Christian Abbiati. The game was as good as over when Fabian Rinaudo was sent off after receiving a harsh second yellow for a foul near the center of the pitch on Mexes.

Milan starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Abbiati, Bonera, Rami, Mexes, Constant (Emanuelson 77'), Montolivo, De Jong, Poli (Abate 74'), Kakà (Pazzini 87'), Taarabt, Balotelli

Goal: Montolivo 23'

Catania starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Andujar; Rolin, Gyomber, Spolli, Monzon; Lodi, Rinaudo; Plasil (Izco 77'), Leto (Castro 58'), Barrientos; Bergessio (Boateng 82')

Red card: Rinaudo 79'

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