Balotelli an instant hero for Milan with double
Mario Balotelli scored twice, including a hugely-controversial penalty three minutes into stoppage time, on his AC Milan debut to give them a 2-1 win over Udinese last night, three days after completing his £19 million move from Manchester City.
Furious Udinese players surrounded the referee to protest and police came onto the field to protect the official after the final whistle.
Balotelli was included in the starting line-up at the last minute after Giampaolo Pazzini pulled out during the warm-up. The maverick Italy striker opened his account by turning the ball in from six yards after Stephan El Shaaraway’s cross from the left was deflected to his feet.
He nearly added another two minutes later with a dipping shot which was turned over by the bar by Udinese goalkeeper Daniele Padelli. Giampiero Pinzi equalised on the break in the 55th minute when Udinese caught Milan napping and the home defence suddenly began to look vulnerable.
Balotelli was close in the 85th minute with a low free kick which Padelli turned around his post. The match ended in uproar when Thomas Heurtaux tackled El Shaaraway who fell theatrically in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Balotelli calmly converted to lift Milan to fourth in the table, ahead of rivals Inter Milan on goal difference.
In Spain, Lionel Messi scored in his 12th consecutive La Liga game to help earn leaders Barcelona a 1-1 draw at Valencia that put them 12 points clear at the top. The World Player of the Year bagged his 34th league goal from the penalty spot just before halftime, after Ever Banega had given the livelier hosts a 33rd-minute lead.
Barca moved on to 59 points from 22 games, nibe ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who beat fifth-placed Real Betis 1-0 in the late game. Champions Real Madrid are 16 points behind Barca in third after losing 1-0 at lowly Granada on Saturday, when Cristiano Ronaldo headed the game’s only goal into his own net.
In Germany, Champions Borussia Dortmund squandered a two-goal lead but recovered to edge past Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 and reclaim second spot in the Bundesliga in a hugely entertaining encounter. The match lived up to fans’ expectations with early goals from Marco Reus and Jakub Blaszczykowski handing an early advantage to the visitors. But Stefan Reinartz pulled the hosts level with two goals in four second-half minutes before Poland striker Robert Lewandowski snatched the winner for Dortmund with his 13th goal of the season.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North east