Sep 15, 2009

Inzaghi brace gets AC Milan back on track

Filippo Inzaghi scored goals on either side of halftime to secure a vital away win for AC Milan on the first day of Champions League group play. With the 2-1 win at Olympique Marseille, the rossoneri keep pace with Real Madrid, who easily won their game at FC Zurich by 5-2. Milan were outplayed for large portions of the game, according to at least one report, but with the way things have been going, they'll take it. After winning their first game of the season at Siena, Leonardo's side were shellacked 4-0 by crosstown rivals Inter Milan and last weekend played a disappointing scoreless draw at Livorno. The latter result dropped Milan from the most recent iteration of our Top 25.

Was that decision premature? Or entirely unwarranted? Time will tell. The rossoneri will need to get past winless Bologna this weekend for us to even begin having any discussions. As for l'OM, our 16th-ranked team coming into today, their fate for the short term rests on a match-up with surprising Montpellier at the Velodrome this weekend. The newly-promoted Montpellier Hérault Sport Club (its official name) sit third in France's Ligue Un, with three wins and two draws from its first five games.

While we're on the subject of French sides, how about Girondins Bordeaux? In the top match of the day (according to our rankings, at least, pitting No. 9 Bordeaux at No. 5 Juventus), the French champs pulled off a surprising 1-1 result. Czech international Jaroslav Plasil equalized for les Girondins 15 minutes from time. Thanks for vindicating our faith in you, mecs!

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich continue to be red-hot, vanquishing Maccabi Haifa by 3-0. England's representatives both got wins, Man United at Besiktas Istanbul and Chelsea over Porto. No surprises there, though we're glad the Portuguese side (10th in our rankings) at least managed to keep pace with Blues.

Finally, VfL Wolfsburg might not be as terrible as their Bundesliga form (three losses in a row) has let on. Granted, CSKA Moscow might not scare many clubs but a Champions League victory is a Champions League victory--even if it came at home against a Russian team.

In many ways today was just a warmup, however. Tomorrow, Inter Milan host FC Barcelona in a clash of the titans. We'll be back to report on that one.

Photo taken from without permission.

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