Boateng scores as Milan beat Inter to lift Supercoppa
8/7/2011 10:25:56 PM -
Kevin-Prince Boateng scored the winner as AC Milan came from behind to beat their bitter rivals Internazionale 2-1 and lift the Supercoppa at the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing.
Wesley Sneijder curled a sublime free-kick beyond Christian Abbiati to give Inter the lead halfway through the first period, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalised with a diving header from Clarence Seedorf's pinpoint cross 15 minutes after the restart.
Sub Alexandre Pato's late snapshot was tipped onto the post by Julio Cesar, but Boateng slid in from close range to win the match for the reigning Serie A champions.
Samuel Eto'o had the ball in the net in the last seconds for Inter, only to be denied by the assistant's flag leaving the Rossoneri to celebrate their sixth Supercoppa victory.
As the city of Milan came to the unfamiliar surroundings of the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, it was the blue and black half who had most to prove in the traditional curtain-raiser to the new Serie A season.
The Rossoneri ended Inter's five-year dominance of Serie A last season, beating their neighbours twice into the bargain.
Inter responded by eventually replacing Paris-bound manager Leonardo with ex-Genoa boss Gian Piero Gasperini.
The new man has already had to deal with speculation over the futures of Eto'o and Sneidjer, while his Milan counterpart boasted a trouble-free summer, but it was Inter who almost drew first blood on five minutes.
Eto'o found Sneijder on the edge of the box, only for the Dutchman to blaze way past Abbiati's post .
And the miss almost cost the Nerazurri when Ibrahimovoc played in Robinho seconds later. The Brazilian's curled effort beat Inter keeper Julio Cesar, but he could only watch in despair as the ball sailed past the upright.
Despite their status as underdogs, it was Inter who grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.
Neat interplay on the edge of the box ended with Dejan Stanjkovic firing over, while Milan hard man Gennaro Gattuso was lucky to stay on the pitch after two heavy challenges on Ricardo Alvarez within a minute.
Referee Nicola Rizzoli decided one yellow was enough, but the defender was instantly punished when Sneijder stepped up to curl the resulting free-kick over the wall and beyond the diving Abbiati to give Inter the lead on 22 minutes.
Alvarez should have done better on 35 with a shot that flew over Abbiati's bar while Eto'o beat Silva to drive goalwards only to find the keeper well placed to make a comfortable save.
Milan almost had the final word in the opening period as Ibrahimovoc nodded Ignazio Abate's long ball beyond Cesar, only to be denied by the woodwork, while Clarence Seedorf then wasted a dangerous free-kick position in the last seconds of the first 45 minutes.
The Rossoneri started the second half the brighter as Seedorf blazed over following a neat nutmeg by Robinho, while Sneijder tried a speculative effort from distance for Inter.
As the match stalled, MIlan boss Allegri lined up Pato on the touchline to replace Robinho, but the Brazilian was not about to go quietly.
A neat ball to Seedorf saw the Dutchman dink a perfect cross in for the diving Ibrahimovic to head home and level proceedings with 30 minutes remaining.
Robinho departed to applause, but his replacement, Pato, proved why Allegri threw him into the fray on 69 minutes. Pato did superbly to control a long lofted ball and when his snapshot was tipped on to the post by Cesar, Boateng was on hand to slide the ball into the gaping net.
The sub had a chance to extend the Rossoneri's lead with a free-kick from a dangerous position, but his wayward effort flew into the Beijing crowd, before Eto'o volleyed wide in a rare Inter attack.
And it was the Cameroon man who almost had the final word five minutes into stoppage time.
Walter Samuel flicked the ball through a crowd of players and Eto'o slid the ball beyond the diving Abbiati, only for the assistant's flag to deny Inter and give the Rossoneri early bragging rights before the new season kicks off on August 27.