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Shaarawy saves Milan the blushes

Milan, Oct 31, 2012, AFP: 0:02 IST
Struggling AC Milan hit back from two goals down to salvage a point at Palermo in a 2-2 draw in Serie A but failed to reassure their fans that their mediocre start to the season is behind them.

Once again they had young striker Stephan El Shaarawy to thank, just as they did in their 1-0 win over Genoa at the weekend, as the 20-year-old snatched a point with a rasping strike 10 minutes from the end which left home goalkeeper Samir Ujkani no chance.

Milan’s under pressure coach Massimiliano Allegri said that he was pleased with the spirit his players had shown. “The most important thing is the willingness that we showed out there,” said Allegri, who lost key players Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva in the summer.

“Even having played poorly in the first-half we could have avoided conceding the penalty, but overall we deserved a draw. We played really well in the second-half, and we had some chances to win it.”

His Palermo counterpart Gian Piero Gasperini was seething over his side’s desultory second-half display. “We stopped playing at 2-0, we were passive, and we waited for Milan to come at us.”

Palermo opened up a two-goal advantage with goals either side of the break. Fabrizzio Miccoli put away a penalty in injury time at the end of the first half after Ignazio Abate was judged to have handled his cross and then Franco Brienza doubled the margin with an opportunist strike two minutes into the second half.

Two goals to the bad, coach Massimiliano Allegri adjusted his line-up, switching from his favoured 3-5-2 to a more incisive 4-2-3-1 and the introduction of Bojan Krkic revived their fortunes.

They were also helped by Palermo’s apparent belief that the points were already in the bag and they no longer had to pressure the opposition.

Krkic fed an intelligent ball into Riccardo Montolivo, who slipped clear of the home defence to pull a goal back in the 69th minute.

Then it was down to the young prodigy El-Shaarawy to round things off with his seventh goal of the season to take him to the top of the scoring charts.

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